In case you’d forgotten, BioShock Infinite was a bloody good game – and although episode one of Burial at Sea was met with a varying reception, all eyes are back on Irrational, perhaps even more so with the recent news that the studio is closing. But one year after the game came out, part two of a rather expensive duo of DLC really does remind us how good they can be when they get it right.
And I know that, because my head is hurting, spinning with the many thoughts that Burial at Sea has provoked. Like BioShock Infinite, the story is such that forums and friends will chat about their theories for some time to come, though perhaps it isn’t quite as open to interpretation. The honest truth is: I’m not even one hundred percent sure of my own theory yet, but I can’t wait to talk about it with people – and while certain plot elements have been revealed already, I’m still not going to risk spoiling it here.
What I will say is that part two does indeed directly follow on from part one, which was something of a cliffhanger. A different kind of opening that is host to some utterly beautiful visuals immediately sets the scene for a new kind of Infinite, and one that initially asks the player to embrace stealth mechanics.
While you don’t have to play the entire three hours (and yes, it’s longer than part one, so that criticism has definitely been taken on board, too) with stealth in mind, there’s a definite opportunity to do so. New weapons such as the crossbow have multiple ammo types, meaning you can use it to take Splicers out silently, or draw them away from you. Equally, there is a new plasmid called Peeping Tom that allow you to see through walls and plan out a route to avoid, or surprise, the enemies.
It’s nice to see a piece of downloadable content change up how the original experience plays with some different ideas, but eventually I found myself using a combination of the ice plasmid and the variety of weapons on offer to dispatch my foes. That’s not to say I never went stealthy, but that I had the choice – options are good, after all. A lock picking mini-game rounds off the new features, and while it’s simple, it actually offers a nice diversion here and there, and avoids becoming annoying by offering you choices as to how you do things. That isn’t to say that it’s all change, though and, as in Infinite, interspersing the story progression there are large sections of combat.
The story jumps about a fair bit, but in a good way (it keeps things interesting), and there are some intense and incredibly emotionally draining scenes here, including one that made me think of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series – and not because of zombies, obviously. The detective vibe from part one is less prevalent, though there is plenty of exploration, but more in service of moving the story forward, than for the sake of it being your job. Overall, Burial at Sea Part Two feels like it was made for the fans, which is rarely a bad thing.
In tandem with the story, the locations that Part Two is set in also mix things up. I won’t say how, but although there are some cases of revisiting areas before, they are either short, or aimed squarely at making fans of the series squeal in delight. This is another way that Irrational make the three hours fly by: by keeping it visually interesting.
Elsewhere, things are exactly as you’d expect: plasmids, splicers, vending machines, skyhooks – it’s all present and correct, and returning characters are voiced with the same level of quality as before. There are twenty five audio logs to collect, and these flesh out even more of the lore (and it’s getting pretty large at this point), but they also serve to offer solutions to puzzles. There are some code-locked doors, and you’ll find the codes in these audio logs. It has to be said, for a piece of DLC, this feels incredibly slick and high budget.
VERDICT: Part Two of Burial at Sea delivers on the promise set out in Part One, and is a fitting close to BioShock Infinite in general. It’s become cool to hate on Infinite in recent times, but bandwagons be damned, this is a fantastic piece of content, if a little pricey. You already know you’re going to play this if you grabbed Part One, but I’m here to tell you that you won’t be disappointed with Part Two.
SUPERB. This is the mark of greatness, only awarded to games that engage us from start to finish. Titles that score 9/10 will have very few problems or negative issues, and will deliver high quality and value for money across all aspects of their design.
Review code provided by publisher.