As my series of Bioshock reviews continues, what could be better to review than the most recent return to Rapture? This DLC takes Bioshock Infinite’s gameplay and engine, while using the great art assets and aesthetics of the original. How does this unique mixture hold up? Let’s find out.
For starters, if you are wanting to jump into this DLC, it is essential that you have played Infinite to completion, as there is not only spoilers from the main game, but knowing the ending helps to understand what exactly is going on. You take control once again as Booker DeWitt, private investigator, and Elizabeth from Infinite walks in the office with a lead on your girl Sally. After some dialogue, you are set loose upon Rapture, or parts of it anyway. Unlike previous titles, this takes place before Rapture falls into ruin, so you can glimpse a peek at how life was before. For the first 20-30 minutes, there’s no combat, just exploring.
To some extent, that is a strength to this DLC, as this provides large amounts of fan service, with plenty of references to previous entries into the series. It is pleasing to see the art Deco style again, and of course iconic figures like Little Sisters and Big Daddies. After reaching the end of the exploration segment, we see a familiar face, Sander Cohen.
After fulfilling a quick task, it is then we are sent to the dangerous part of Rapture, that has been sunk to create a prison of sorts. It is then the revolver comes out and time to hunt splicers has arrived. With Burial at Sea, the designers tried to emulate more of the game mechanics of the original with things like having access to all of your weapons, stealth, and environmental hazards.
Unfortunately, we are left with Infinite’s health system of a health bar and small shield bar rather than employing health kits. This comes to be my biggest issue with this DLC, as you have no way to reliably restore your health and EVE. Scrounging around for supplies is heavily encouraged, but they have seen fit to limit you stores of ammo to one full magazine in your weapon, and one full one to reload with. I wound up more supplies than I could carry at some points and desperately low at others.
While I do understand that they were going for a more off-the-cuff, scrounge what you need in the moment type of gameplay, that isn’t what made the original so great. Preparing for what was ahead and using the correct tool was rewarded in Bioshock, traps and hacking were cornerstones of taking out splicers.
But enough comparison to the original, how does Burial at Sea hold up? Not bad. After it’s all said and done, I did have fun taking out splicers again, and the new plasmid Old Man Winter felt right at home. Like in Infinite, I was driven along more by the story rather than gameplay, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The final boss fight was a bit expected, but it was a fun fight, and one I was eager to repeat and try again.
The ending cutscene throws a lot of information at you and had me genuinely surprised. I’m highly anticipating the follow-up episode for more answers, and more importantly, more Bioshock. If you are a big fan of the Bioshock franchise, than I would recommend the Infinite Season Pass so you can obtain both Episodes at a discounted price. If you haven’t played the original, I would recommend playing that first, you can find my review of it here.