I didn’t miss Rapture as much as I expected when playing Bioshock Infinite. Of course I loved the underwater world, driven by the blood, sweat and tears of Andrew Ryan, but I was too busy being awed by the gloriously rich palette of colours in Columbia and taking trips on Skylines to notice.
But as the game progressed and hints, winks and nods were made to previous titles, I started to think about the Big Daddies and Little Sisters all over again. By the time the game ended, as much as I wanted to experience Columbia all over again, Rapture is the place I really wanted to be.
Thankfully, Burial at Sea has come along to satiate that hunger.
Players are still cast as Booker DeWitt, the conflicted protagonist from Infinite, but there is a very different feel to Burial At Sea. For one, Booker is acting up as a private dick with a drinking problem and Elizabeth is coming to him with a high-paying, personal case from a client. For another, the world of Rapture is very much alive. This isn’t a broken down, wreck of a place; this is Rapture at its very peak. A time when Fontaine has been ousted from his position of power and Ryan is the one true messiah.
As such, players will experience this universe in new ways, gaining perspective for previous Bioshock titles, as well as somewhat developing the narrative of Bioshock Infinite. For the first time, players will see the world Ryan cultivated in its intended glory; where people encouraged to talk and express themselves openly.
As depraved and dark as Rapture has always been depicted, Burial at Sea tries to show the original pioneering thought that set things in motion.
But in many ways, this is still the same old Rapture, and will instantly be familiar to players who’ve been part of this franchise since the very beginning. Although, we’ve found a few Skyrails which I could swear weren’t there before…
Young girls are disappearing without a trace, and while it’s a mystery to everyone else in the city, to us, we know exactly what’s about to happen. Thanks to Elizabeth, however, Booker has a lead on one girl in particular. A young girl very important to him. This is where our story begins…
Unfortunately, Burial at Sea doesn’t just let the player go off the handle and explore the finer parts of Rapture. Before long, we’re back-pedalling through familiar desolate districts, listening to the mad-ravings of Splicers and fending off turret fire.
That said, Booker has a few new toys to play with. Old Man Winter is a new Plasmid that can freeze several mobs in one super-charged hit and is excellent for crowd control. Once frozen, a few spraying bullets can completely shatter enemies, leaving ice-shards for remains.
Then there’s the Radar Range, one of the best new weapons I’ve seen in a long time. Devastating and fast-paced, this humorously designed portable satellite dish fires off energy rays that create build up in an enemy. Build up enough energy and the enemy becomes a walking time bomb. Eventually they’ll spontaneously combust, taking out anyone foolish enough to stand around with surprising range and power. It’s an absolute thrill to use, but just such a shame that it appears so late in the DLC.
And unfortunately, the length of the DLC is pretty questionable, clocking in at just under three hours. Sure, there’s a lot to take in – both graphically and narratively – but considering the length of other DLCs’ at a similar price point, and the fact that the expansion is a two-parter, makes this a bitter pill to swallow.
Having said that, the content here rivals some of the best content packs we’ve ever seen, and the story is among the most memorable of any expansion. Burial at Sea is always keeping your mind working, whether it’s acknowledging the events to come in the original Bioshock or it is developing the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth, it’s a busy expansion and one you’ll be eager to see concluded in Part Two.
Burial at Sea is full of tense battles due to limited supplies and funds, and really creates dramatic life/death sequences that are absolutely indicative of the Rapture we knew and feared in 2006. It’s almost a shame Elizabeth is there to keep reviving Booker if he falls in battle ala Infinite.
Still, Burial at Sea is a celebration of everything Bioshock stands for and represents, and a truly great expansion that delivers everything you’d expect it to. The short length of part one aside, Burial at Sea does enough to make up for its limited duration with an engaging experience from beginning to end.
RATING: 4 out of 5
Essential for any Bioshock fan. Just don’t be afraid to take your time enjoying the experience. The content will be over before you know it…
- Returning to Rapture and exploring it all over again
- Engaging story that will please fans of the franchise
- The Radar Range!
- The final battle!
- The short length
- Elizabeth’s interference makes the whole thing slightly too easy