Burial At Sea is, in many ways, exactly what we’ve been asking after for half a decade. The chance to dip our toes back into the Atlantic Ocean on Irrational’s terms; to experience Rapture in all of its splendour, the opportunity to once again explore the city that came to define a generation. Where the first two BioShock games invited us to gawk at the failure of Rapture, Burial At Sea is our first chance to be a part of the dream – to bask in a city worth giving up the surface for.
It’s awe-inspiring; the grandeur and scope of Andrew Ryan’s doomed utopia is impossible to ignore. In spite of this however, Burial At Sea still manages to capture the essence of Infinite within its two-hour long time capsule. Irrational has tried to please both original and Infinite fans in Burial At Sea and only succeeded to an extent. The first half of Episode One is pure exploration; a chance to see the sights, root through some trash cans and listen in on conversations with pure social etiquette-abandonment.
The second half? Say goodbye to the claustrophobic corridors of old; this is a side of the city towering with space, a playground for those with suicidal tendencies. You can probably guess we enjoyed the former more; the combat systems have been transferred from Infinite and could still do with a fine tune. The inclusion of skyhooks, tears and Vigors also raised other questions that this DLC simply didn’t have time to answer in a satisfactory way.
BioShock’s Jack had to rely on wits and meticulous planning to make it through the New Year hangover Rapture was suffering with his life intact. While DeWitt still has to struggle with resource management, it’s not to the same extent – Elizabeth’s tears and inventory replenishment take a bit of the edge out of Rapture. That said, it turns out the Splicers were still spiteful bastards even before the city’s fall. The firefights are up there with the best of Infinite’s.
Burial At Sea is an unmissable purchase for any with even a passing interest in BioShock. We got to see plenty of familiar faces from across the franchise, we finally get to experience Rapture in all of its glory and, above all else, get one hell of a great twist on the Booker/Elizabeth relationship. Seriously, Part Two can’t come soon enough.