Written by Twisted Ideas
The final chapter of Bioshock Infinite, Rapture and possible the series if finally here. After a year of waiting we finally get to see where the world of infinite possibilities ends.
Spoilers for those who haven’t finished Infinite or Episode 1
What is it about?
Episode 1 brought us back to Rapture one day before the riots that created the Rapture we’re more familiar with. Booker and the same Elizabeth with the power to travel between realities are found in Rapture. We were to assume that at the end of Infinite that all Bookers and Elizabeth’s were to no longer exist. The revelations at the end of episode 1 explained the setting and episode 2 explains the reasons.
Elizabeth finds herself where we had left off at Episode 1. Dazed and confused, she discovers that she can no longer open the tears and has lost the knowledge behind the realities. She is just an ordinary girl who is trapped at the bottom ocean along with the banished Atlas, his gang and the Splicers. Elizabeth is their only hope of escaping their under water coffin but she doesn’t know it yet.
How does it play?
The gameplay is more stealth focused than the rest of the series. Elizabeth isn’t as well equipped as Booker and doesn’t have his affinity for violence. Her primary weapon is a crossbow which is used to incapacitate and distract Splicers. Her plasmids are more suited to stealth and allowing her to move more freely. The Peeping Tom plasmid is designed specifically for stealth. It makes her invisible and she can see through walls. You can pick up lethal weapons but you cannot carry much ammo. Lethal weapons also cannot easily kill Splicers making even one on one fights difficult encounters.
There sense of exploration and discovery is still present except that you are in a more confined space. There are several locations where your mission will take you as you silently try to avoid enemies. You will find money, ammo and supplies to keep Elizabeth alive as well as clues and audio diaries to complete the story of the game.
What do I think?
The stealth aspect was a great addition but doesn’t mesh well with the OCD exploration that Bioshock is known for. Most stealth games have natural progression that keeps you moving along. Burial at Sea keeps trying to distract you with optional audio diaries and plasmid mods to find. The main hub repopulates Splicers when you reenter. Since your ammo is so limited avoiding Splicers can make you overlook some areas. I often found myself running combing through the same rooms repeatedly in case I missed something while looking over my shoulder. The Peeping Tom was a great plasmid but the mods made the stealth trivial. You could stand in place without losing EVE and silently take out Splicers who get too close. You could then immediately hide again without having to take a step and with little chance of being seen.
Burial at Sea Episode 2 provides much-needed answers to many questions. The drowning at the baptism ended did stop the possibility for infinite Columbia’s. However, the drowning left a final entity of the major players of Infinite (possibly explaining the bonus scene after the credits of Infinite). Elizabeth has been the biggest sticking issue regarding Burial at Sea episode 1. Her motivation for being in Rapture is just for sick and twisted revenge. Episode 2 explores Elizabeth more intimately.
This isn’t a story about a man who despite his best intentions always self-destructs anymore; This is Elizabeth’s story, a story about a girl who is afraid she became the monster her father was. Elizabeth losing her memories allows her to do a lot of personal reflection, questioning her actions and motivations. We get to see her doubts and worries which seemed to disappear after she gained full control of the tears. She is vulnerable again but is still strong-willed when confronted. This alone is from a writing standpoint should be enough but Rapture’s story shines too. Burial at Sea shows us the how. How the ideologically flawed paradise of Rapture was slowly destroyed from outside forces.
Should you get it?
Regardless of what you thought of Bioshock Infinite, if you have played the first Bioshock then you do not want to miss Burial at Sea. This is a great story and brings the series full circle. It even addresses some of the big sticking plot holes in Infinite. If this is that last we will see of Bioshock then this is the best possible send off.