BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 Review for PC

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 Review for PC

Rapture Returns Again

When Irrational Games was originally teasing episode 1 of BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea , they promised us that we would be in for a unique take on the BioShock experience, focusing on stealth and story outside of gunplay. What we got, was a couple hours of BioShock Infinite slathered over with a rapture coat of paint. It was fun enough, but it was really just more of the same, and so that’s all we expected going into BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 . Imagine our surprise when it turned out that Irrational would make good on all of the promises after all.

In Episode 2 , you play as Elizabeth, instead of Booker, and this is what makes the DLC so unique. Elizabeth isn’t nearly the hardened combat wiz that Booker is. She has a much smaller health bar and no shield bar to speak of. Her gun selection is extremely limited, and ammo is sparse at best. She also doesn’t have her tear making powers, which comes as a relief to anyone who was annoyed that they were kind of hand-waved into Episode 1 for no reason other than to inject them into combat sequences. She is at a disadvantage against most splicers, and Big Daddies will just flat out murder her. So instead, she will have to use stealth and guile to make it through Rapture’s halls and rescue a little girl named sally.

One of the first claims that Irrational made about Burial at Sea is that you would be able to complete it without ever firing a gun. In Episode 1 , this sadly wasn’t the case, but Episode 2 delivers on that concept. Elizabeth actually can sneak past every enemy in the game without attacking them once, and many times you’ll find that doing so offers greater rewards than going in guns blazing. Episode 2 actually feels a lot more like Thief or Assassin’s Creed or even Metal Gear Solid than it does BioShock , which is what we were promised in the first place. Unfortunately, this does mean that fans of the original “gun enemies down from skyhooks” gameplay may feel a bit out of their element here.

To help Elizabeth along in her stealth crusade, Episode 2 includes several new weapons and upgrades for her to utilize. The most notable is the “Peeping Tom” plasmid which lets her see through walls. It’s an unimaginably useful tool here, allowing her to plan her routes and avoid the gaze of wandering enemies. It’s also a brilliant little gem of game design, considering this same ability would be pretty much useless in the main game. This will also pacify anyone who was annoyed that the plasmids from episode 1 were just painted over vigors from the main game.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 Screenshot

That’s not to say that abilities from the main game don’t show up. They just take on a different sort of feeling and context. For example, remember the Possession vigor? If you were like me, you probably mostly ignored this vigor in lieu of crows, fire, and shotguns. However, the ability to take control of your enemies and have them do your bidding is invaluable in a stealth game. Being able to sneak around to a safe spot, peg an enemy with Possession, and watch the guards take themselves out is incredibly satisfying. Oh, and yes, you can possess a Big Daddy, which is just as awesome as it sounds.

Elizabeth also gets a new weapon to play around with: the crossbow. It has a slow rate of fire, but incredibly long range, making it a great tool to be used from a shadowy perch. However, the real draw is it’s multitude of different ammo types. For example, you can load in a noise making arrow to distract guards away from your position. Simply fire it into the wall and everyone will rush toward it, allowing you to either take them out or scoot away unnoticed. Similarly, you can load silent gas grenade arrows into your crossbow as well, and fire it into a room swarmed with enemies.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 Screenshot

Once again BioShock ’s original weapons return as well, but they also take on a different context. Simple pistols are a boon against opponents only armed with melee weapons. Firing it to take down an enemy will attract attention, but if you have a hiding place handy, you can use that noise to sneak behind the back of reinforcements and murder them in one strike. Shotguns are less of a go-to weapon and more of a panic or last resort weapon, meant to quickly handle a situation before it gets out of control. I’d like to note, that I managed to complete all of Episode 2 without ever firing one shotgun round, and I’d suggest other players attempt to do the same.

Other BioShock Infinite staples show up here, but they feel more out of place. You will be treated to a few skyhook sequences, though they are really just used for quick methods of traversal rather than epic battle sequences. The ray gun from Episode 1 also makes a return, and it probably feels the most out of place, but we can’t blame Irrational Games for showing off their new toys.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 Screenshot

But the best part about BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 is the pacing. Remember those sections at the beginning of Episode 1 where you were just wandering around Rapture, talking to people and drinking in the environment? Episode 2 is absolutely littered with them, all throughout its gameplay time. You’ll go without seeing an enemy for huge stretches, simply solving puzzles and stumbling upon exposition, and since combat is not a required part of the game’s action, these stretches between enemies actually feel entirely natural. When you are sifting through documents in an old office, for example, it really makes no sense for a splicer to suddenly burst through the wall. The game wisely leaves you to your own devise, allowing you to listen to audio logs and uncover more about the history of Rapture and Columbia.

Also, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 FINALLY gives us more answers than questions. In the beginning of the game there is certainly a WTF vibe going on, as Elizabeth wakes up in the position Booker was in at the end of Episode 1 , and a ghostly Booker is giving her advice from behind the scenes. However, as you continue through the DLC you’ll find that it starts to tie-up some loose ends and shed light on the history of both BioShock worlds. When it’s all over, it still kind of feels like you played an episode of Twin Peaks with guns, but it’s a heck of a lot more fulfilling of a conclusion than Episode 1 ’s was, that’s for sure.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 puts me in kind of an odd position. Originally we said that Episode 1 wasn’t particularly worth it because of its samey combat, short length, and unsatisfying story. But now that Episode 2 is out, we would like to go back and change our opinion. Episode 1 is entirely worth owning, if only for the sake of playing Episode 2 . As for Episode 2 itself, it’s a phenomenal entry in the BioShock saga, and should be downloaded by anyone who has the original game. It might be a little frustrating to anyone who was used to running and gunning their way through Columbia, but once you get used to the stealth gameplay you’ll find that this may be the most well designed chapter of BioShock yet.

The graphics are awesome than ever, and Rapture never looked so good. 4.5 Control
Stealth based gameplay in my BioShock Infinite? Yes Please! 4.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice actors do an amazing job this time around, which is needed considering how this DLC focuses on story. 5.0 Play Value
One of the most fun BioShock DLC chapters yet. 4.7 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • New plasmids that support stealth based gameplay.
  • New crossbow weapon with multiple types of ammo.
  • Incredible story that answers questions about both BioShock universes.

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