Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1

Available to download now, Burial at Sea – Episode 1 is the first part of a new campaign for the critically acclaimed BioShock Infinite. Aside from the questionably combat orientated Clash in the Clouds there has been nothing to extend the life of the original […]
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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageAvailable to download now, Burial at Sea – Episode 1 is the first part of a new campaign for the critically acclaimed BioShock Infinite. Aside from the questionably combat orientated Clash in the Clouds there has been nothing to extend the life of the original videogame since its debut back in March, but now this downloadable content (DLC) has finally arrived it’s easy to suggest that it’s been worth the wait. It’s not so easy to suggest that purchasing Burial at Sea – Episode 1 by itself is a good idea.

A keen persuasion towards the Season Pass, Burial at Sea – Episode 1 by itself is priced at £11.99 GBP, a tall order for a handful of additional hours. The Season Pass, however, which includes the aforementioned Clash in the Clouds and the entire of the Burial at Sea campaign (delivered episodically over the coming months) is Electronic Theatre Imageonly £15.99. The disparity in pricing is as obvious as 2K Games’ wishes to have an audience ready and waiting for this new content, and given Burial at Sea’s clash with the arrival of next-generation titles it’s hard to blame them for being aggressively cautious.

Marketing practices aside, Burial at Sea – Episode 1 is simply a welcome addition to an already masterful videogame. It plays with the themes established in the original campaign to set-up an alternative reality in which the player will already be more familiar with the scenario than the characters within it. A clever play on it’s own boundaries and at the same time offering an inviting new beginning. Booker DeWitt is a private investigator Electronic Theatre Imageapproached by Elizabeth; the two have never met before now and in this reality Elizabeth gives as good as she gets. The raw, cutting wit exchanged by the pair blow-by-blow is electrifying from the very first instance, proving once and for all that characterisation is no longer a weakness in interactive storytelling.

It’s commonly known that Burial at Sea – Episode 1takes place in Rapture, the venue of the original BioShock, and within minutes of beginning this new campaign you’ll step out into a world that’s both familiar and yet different at the same time; just like the two lead characters themselves. This isn’t the destroyed, chaotic Rapture we’ve visited three times now: this fourth visit sees the city in its heyday. A city devised for the good of man, created and Electronic Theatre Imagemaintained by the elite of society. A working Rapture positioned exactly as it was always intended: no gods or kings, only man.

The gameplay works to directly counter the story design however, being slow to start and simply relying on established BioShock mechanics. The player begins with two plasmids and a hand cannon, soon picking up a tommy gun. Finding audio logs, possessing gun turrets, fighting splicers and receiving Eve mid-combat from Elizabeth all feature heavily on the path to Burial at Sea – Episode 1’s first original gameplay mechanic: Old Man Winter. It’s a new plasmid, one of two added by Burial at Sea – Episode 1, and representative of that which Burial at Sea – Episode 1 Electronic Theatre Imagebrings to the table in terms of gameplay. It’s an expansion built from formula to accommodate a new story, rarely daring to step off the beaten path.

Burial at Sea – Episode 1 isn’t the longest of experiences, easily completed in a single sitting. This is far from the depth of BioShock 2’s widely praised Minerva’s Den, but then it doesn’t have to be. For those who purchased the Season Pass Burial at Sea – Episode 1 is just one part of what will surely become a deep and involving campaign, and following the path laid out by BioShock Infinite could hardly be said to be a bad thing. ‘Always leave them wanting more’ they say, and Burial at Sea – Episode 1 most certainly does that.

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