Monday, April 7, 2014

Bioshock: Infinite - Burial at Sea Episode 2 Xbox 360 Review

Being as I just started doing a backlog of reviews I have been meaning to do, I haven't described just how much I love the Bioshock series. Bioshock is the brainchild of Irrational Games and 2K, and has just wrapped up the final bit of DLC for the 3rd entry in the series Infinite. I picked up the original Bioshock on a whim back when it came out, the clerk actually offered me the Limited Edition, which I passed on being I had no real clue about the game and didn't want to spend the little extra on an unproven game. I regret that decision to this day, the Limited Edition of the original Bioshock runs for over $300 unopened, even more if you ended up with a defective big daddy. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to experience and from the first 10 minutes of play I was officially hooked, and I have been ever since.

Unfortunately Irrational Games is officially done now that Burial at Sea, Part 2 has been released. I have even seen some of the members of the development team selling off precious mementos to pay for their transition. So, did Irrational go out with a bang or with a whimper? The answer to that is complicated. Much like Burial at Sea, Part 1, the DLC is short, it is definitely longer than Part 1, but not by much. Part 2 thrusts you into the shoes of what was your companion for the main game and first DLC, Elizabeth. Elizabeth brings something to the gameplay that hadn't been explored before, stealth. Unlike her male counter-part Booker Dewitt, Elizabeth is not tailored for combat, she has to use her wits, and the world around her to make it through the destroyed Rapture.

Burial at Sea, Part 2, will take you through various parts of Rapture that have never been seen before, and also back to the familiar setting of Columbia for one section. The fact that the game relies heavily on stealth it is key to make use of your surroundings, you will find vents, and freight hooks abound the world to help Elizabeth navigate without getting into too much trouble. This aspect also adds a level of difficulty that I wasn't expecting. You can't just run through this DLC, as doing so will result in death after death. You have to plan your course and be aware that taking someone out will likely result in alerting every enemy around them. I found this to be a refreshing change of pace from the run and gun action of the main game. Elizabeth won't be opening tears or bringing things into the world to help with the fight, she is restricted to simply what she finds. Throw on top of that the new 1998 mode, which is a tweaked 1999 mode from the main game, that forces you to heavily rely on stealth, and non-lethal means, and you have a perfect blend of fun and inventive gameplay that really turns the series signature style on it's head.

The world of Rapture is as beautiful as always, and the areas you get to see that have never been seen in the game, really add to just how expansive Rapture really is. You will make your way through new store plazas, and even what seems like a children's school that focuses on teaching kids the Rapture way of life. The Story is full of the usual twists and turns that Bioshock is famous for, you will be drawn in to the expansive world and lore through one amazing set piece after another. You can learn a little more about the world through picking up audio-diaries and kinectscopes littered throughout the game. The incorporation of past characters in unique ways also feels like true fan service in the finest way. What this DLC officially does, is wrap up both the story of Rapture and it's inhabitants, but also that of Columbia and it's respective inhabitants. Essentially Burial at Sea, Part 2 is the bow on the present that is Bioshock. All loose ends are tied up, and done in such a satisfying fashion that I couldn't wipe the smile from my face for hours after. While this officially finishes Irrationals part in the Bioshock series, 2K has bought the rights to the game, so only time will tell what the future holds for the storied franchise.

It's hard to find any faults with this DLC, outside it's short duration, and the fact that the new game mechanics could be a little rough on some players. It truly is Irrational's last love letter to the fans of the series. So, I would have to give it a 9.9 out of 10, only docking for the length, which is still pretty good by DLC standards, and for the fact that it seems like enemies are a little too aware of your presence even when you are using all your stealth tactics. This DLC is a gem, and if you have been wary of the price of the Season Pass or the $14.99 price tag of Part 2, after the maybe 2 hour run that was Part 1, you are doing yourself a disservice.