The original Bioshock stands as one of the best in the series, especially when it comes to atmosphere and characters. Forgetting the troubled second entry in the series, Bioshock Infinite definitely comes close, but there’s something special about Rapture’s underwater utopia that can’t quite be replicated. Before I stepped into ‘Burial at Sea’ I started reminiscing over my first moments in the tortured palace; it was beautiful, but it was also stained with blood.
The biggest difference in this new portrayal is that here we get to see the city in its prime. Of course there are plenty of changes present, as both Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth join the cast of characters. If you’ve finished Bioshock Infinite, then I’m sure you’ll have your own theories as to why they’re walking the halls of Rapture. I had my own, but it makes a little more sense near the end – though it doesn’t stop many more questions being raised.
I clapped my eyes on the suitably fifties décor, I soaked in the warm atmosphere and inspected every corner for references from the original. In terms of timeline, this piece of story shows Rapture on the cusp of breakdown. On the forefront it seems as though underwater living is at its pinnacle, but pull back the curtain and you’ll see the rot has begun set in.
It’s this very fact that makes ‘Burial at Sea’ a fascinating piece of storytelling, letting you observe the fall of the city’s cultured citizens. I managed to complete part one in just over an hour, but as I was reviewing in a more linear fashion, I suspect a lot more time could’ve been spent examining my surroundings in further detail. When it came to finally punishing those who meant to do me harm, gameplay was very much the same. Funnily enough, Elizabeth has full use of her ability to open tears in reality. This lent itself to the same combat as seen in Infinite, allowing you to bring in Motorized Patriots or the newly added Samurais, to help suppress the splicers lurking in the shadows.
Talking of ‘Splicers’, they aren’t the only things returning under the sea. Instead of acquiring extra abilities through Vigors, Plasmids make a popular return. This time you’re on the hunt for a Plasmid aptly named, Old Man Winter. No prize for guessing which ability this gives you – it’s ice, by the way. You can be sure that throughout this episode you’ll meet many familiar faces, including a certain Mr. Cohen, as well as glances at the odd Bid Daddy hard at work on the seabed.
- + Fitting return to Rapture, filled with references and memories
- + Plasmids reign supreme!
- + Atmosphere returns to its claustrophobic roots
- - Very short