|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Irrational Games|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
A while back, 2k and Irrational Games announced that BioShock Infinite would be getting story-based DLC packs. The trailer for the first story-based DLC, Burial at Sea, makes it appear as if it takes place in an alternate-universe timeline in everyone’s favorite undersea capitalist dystopia, Rapture. At the time, the game appeared to happen before the fall, when everyone was still living out their lives in gene-splicing splendor. It cast Booker Dewitt in the role of a hardened private eye, and Elizabeth in the role of a sexy and dangerous dame that needed a favor. Sure, the trailer smells of fanfiction, but it is a good smell, especially with the themes of alternate timelines that BioShock Infinite relies so heavily on.
However, new information has come out that says this DLC is far more than a side-story. It’s a continuation! I’ll warn you now that there are spoilers in this preview, so if you haven’t beaten BioShock Infinite yet, stop whatever you are doing, go beat it, and come back to the article afterward. OK? Good.
So, spoiler time. Burial at Sea takes place “after” the events of BioShock Infinite. Booker is drowned in his baptismal font by multiple Elizabeths in order to prevent father Comstock from ever being created, thus preventing him from going back in time and kidnapping Elizabeth in the first place. Of course, this causes more than a little frustration with the time stream, and thus Booker wakes up in the new, readjusted timeline--the timeline of Rapture.
Elizabeth asks Booker to find a child for her. Of course, this child isn’t just any child, it’s a little sister. She’s fallen into a prison, inside which the remnants of Fontaine’s allies are kept. It’s not exactly the safest place to be, and that’s why Elizabeth needs you, Booker Dewitt, professional maker of bad decisions, to go rescue her.
According to the team at Irrational, none of the original assets from BioShock 1 and 2 could be used when making the DLC. Episode 1 of the DLC takes place before the fall of Rapture, when things were still pretty and functional, but BioShock 1’s assets all portray the city as a bleak and destroyed underwater wasteland. As a result, the team had to build Rapture from the ground up, all over again.
Similarly, the team had to rethink the gameplay of Burial at Sea as well. It will be a far slower-paced game than BioShock Infinite is. There won’t be any fast-paced Sky-Hook sequences or huge hordes of enemies to fight. Instead, the game has a renewed focus on stealth and planning. There will be sections devoted to simply not getting spotted and combat sections that are better handled by setting up traps than running in guns blazing. It’s a great way to make the trap powers from Infinite feel far more useful than they do in the main game. The reduced focus on combat is also a way to appease critics of the main game that said encounters are too plentiful, long, and have little weight to them.
When combat does happen, unfortunately, there is a lot that is kind of hand-waved away. We finally will get a satisfactory explanation of Vigors. Elizabeth still has her dimensional tear powers, which are also barely even explained. There are still doors to lock pick, audio diaries to pick up, and tons of scavenging to do. Although much of these are gameplay elements that can be found in the original Bioshocks, there is lots of stuff that stands to snap you out of your suspension of disbelief, simply because it’s using the BioShock Infinite engine.
However, the DLC’s focus on story does a lot to pull you back in. The DLC will bring you through the daily life of Rapture citizens and will show you the events leading up to Rapture’s fall. The events that take place in this DLC are, in fact, canon. They aren’t a side-story or an alternate world. You are in THE Rapture prior to the events of BioShock 1 and 2. The audio logs here will divulge more about the world of BioShock than perhaps any other game before it did.
Perhaps the only disappointing news we have received about Burial at Sea is the fact that it’s short… very short… only a few hours at a $15 price point for one episode. Of course, it’s still a long time before BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea will be available to download, so there’s time for things to change. Recent teasers have shown things such as the return of Big Daddies. We will likely see that and much more when the DLC goes live this holiday season. Until then, we will bring you more information on BioShock Infinte: Burial at Sea as it becomes available.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: October 8, 2013