Irrational Games

A dame to kill for: PAR plays Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea

A dame to kill for: PAR plays Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea

It’s going to be hard to discuss Burial at Sea without diving directly into spoiler territory, and I’m going to move ahead on the assumption that you’ve played and finished Bioshock Infinite. If not, you should probably go back and do that, very little of what happens in this DLC makes sense without that context.

That being said, the opening scenes of Burial at Sea feel like fan fiction. You have Booker meeting Elizabeth for what seems like the “first time,” and the story takes place in Rapture, the underwater city that serves as the setting for the first Bioshock game. It’s a nice mixture of worlds, and the game gives you the chance to walk around a functional version of Rapture, to overhear conversations and to see what the great city was like before it fell.

It doesn’t seem like a very pleasant place, even during its height. Imagine an underwater attraction at Disney World staffed by Objectivists and you’ll have some idea. Elizabeth needs your help, or wants to help you, in locating a young girl who went missing. Your relationship to that girl, and the events that led up to her disappearance, serve as the central mystery of the content.

I had the same issue here that I had in the main game, although those concerns are somewhat ameloriated by the choice of setting. I wanted to spend more time exploring Rapture and hearing what people had to say. Listening to the different ways that Elizabeth would distract certain people so you could do your job was also interesting; this is a much more confident and ruthless take on the character than we saw in Infinite.

When things devolve into shooting, the game becomes less interesting, but the way the story leads you into a distinct environment before the gunplay begins makes sense.

The first episode of Burial at Sea can be played in around two hours, three if you want to really explore, and I don’t think we can really get a sense for how well or poorly this campaign succeeds at its goals without playing the whole thing. Hell, I don’t even know what those goals are yet.

The big revelation won’t be that shocking for people who have already played Infinite, but the moment is still effective due to Elizabeth’s reactions to what is going on. There is also some great fan service with concepts and characters from the first Bioshock that hit hard without feeling forced in. This is an oddly graceful melding of both worlds.

Burial at Sea Episode 1 felt a bit short, but again, this is just one half of a larger whole. It did what it meant to do, however: I’m invested in these characters once again, and I can’t wait to found out what happens next.

Burial at Sea will be released on November 12 for $14.99.