Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two Review

bioshock infinite burial at sea episode 2

Hey guys! I’ve recently finished Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two and I wanted to give you my full review! First off, I was blown away again by the creative team at Irrational Games for making such a strong, rich, and beautiful entry in the Burial at Sea storyline. It really shows how much heart and soul they pour into these Bioshock games! The level of detail in the story, environments, and mechanics are extraordinary, which really pays off for the player. Spoiler Alert! In my review, I’ll talk about some important plot points that occur in this DLC. I know that quite a lot of people might have finished the Burial at Sea story, but just wanted to give a heads up to those who haven’t!

Still reading? Good!

Setting

Instead of playing as Booker DeWitt, Burial at Sea Episode Two puts the player in the role of Elizabeth. Elizabeth previously appeared in Burial at Sea Episode One and also in Bioshock Infinite. Players get to experience Elizabeth’s point of view of the underwater city of Rapture during the start of its fall. This is the beginning of the Rapture Civil War. This war was the most destructive conflict in the history of Rapture. The war mainly pit two superpowers against each other for power and control of Rapture. These two titans were Frank Fontaine (who is actually Atlas) and Andrew Ryan. Frank Fontaine is a criminal mastermind and the leader of the opposition in the power struggle, which essentially led to Rapture’s downfall. Andrew Ryan is the founder of Rapture and the owner of Ryan Industries. These two characters play a role in Burial at Sea Episode Two.

Elizabeth finds herself in a bright and cheerful 20th century Paris. As Elizabeth is walking down the streets of Paris, she spots Sally (the little girl who Booker DeWitt was tasked to find in Burial at Sea Episode One) and starts to run after her. As Elizabeth chases after Sally, Paris starts to become dark and creepy. She realizes that her memories of Comstock, Columbia, and Sally continue to haunt her. Elizabeth wakes up in a Toy Department shortly after the events of the previous Burial at Sea episode. Atlas (Frank Fontaine) and his men search for supplies and before he can shoot Elizabeth, she has a vision of Booker. Booker guides Elizabeth and has her convince Atlas that she can help him escape the sunken department store. In exchange for her help, Elizabeth wants Atlas to return Sally to her. Atlas agrees and leaves Elizabeth to explore the store.

The voice of Booker comes back in Elizabeth’s head and states that he is simply a part of her subconscious. Nonetheless, Booker helps guide Elizabeth through certain danger in the store and in certain mental situations. In her travels, Elizabeth discovers that she can use the Lutece Particle that kept Columbia afloat to lift the department store back to Rapture. She gathers the Particle by going through a Tear (a rip in dimensional time and space which reveals an alternate universe) and comes back. Once she returns, she comes face to face with Andrew Ryan through a video monitor. Andrew Ryan gives her a choice to either join him or die at the hands of his security. Elizabeth eventually escapes and uses the Lutece Particle to float the department store back to Rapture. As the building starts to rise, Atlas captures Elizabeth.

Atlas overdoses Elizabeth with a truth serum in order to discover the whereabouts of the “Ace in the Hole.” Elizabeth wakes up two weeks later with the Rapture Civil War well underway. Atlas threatens to torture her and Sally unless Elizabeth gives up where the “Ace in the Hole” is located. Elizabeth has a vision of one future she witnessed previously and tells Atlas she knows where the “Ace” is. Atlas holds Sally hostage until Elizabeth retrieves the “Ace in the Hole” for him. The “Ace in the Hole” turns out to be a simple piece of paper with the coded message: “Would You Kindly.” This is the sleeper trigger phrase for Jack, who is the main character in Bioshock, which is used to control him. Atlas begins to plan for Jack’s arrival to Rapture to kill Andrew Ryan. Seeing no use for Elizabeth anymore, Atlas fatally strikes her and leaves her with Sally. Sally begins to sing to Elizabeth to comfort her. As Elizabeth is dying, she realizes that Jack will actually break the circle of violence in Rapture. Elizabeth dies happily, knowing that matters in Rapture will be resolved. I was not ready for the feels at the end of the game! Below is a video of that beautiful scene with Sally and Elizabeth:

Gameplay

The gameplay is similar to Burial at Sea Episode One. Episode Two mostly features stealth-style gameplay as you take control of Elizabeth. This is a nice departure from the previous action driven Episode One. The player is now able to pick locks but cannot hold as much ammo as you could in Bioshock Infinite or Burial at Sea Episode One. Elizabeth can hide from her enemies and crouching makes it harder for enemies to spot her. Since the player is encouraged to use stealth tactics, it helps to take enemies out one by one or in small groups.

The Presentation

Once again, this episode uses the Unreal Engine 3 and the city of Rapture is re-built from scratch. Rapture looks beautiful as ever in Episode Two. Like I mentioned before, the level of detail that went in creating all the different assets for Rapture’s environments is really remarkable. I thought the execution of sequences from the beginning to the end of Episode Two were done very well. It seemed like every piece of dialogue that came from a character had meaning behind it, it wasn’t just used as a “filler” to take up time. The story was executed very well and it was cool seeing the Bioshock world come together. After you finish Episode Two, you can see how the Bioshock Infinite story links to the story in Bioshock. It finally all comes together and makes sense!

Score

I loved playing through Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two, seeing how it connected to the stories in Bioshock Infinite and also in Bioshock. This DLC delivers a great story through Elizabeth’s eyes. It took me about five and a half hours to complete. At the end of the game, my mind was just blown in what I experienced with Elizabeth. Bravo Irrational Games! It’s sad to see that this is Irrational Games’ last Bioshock game, but we will definitely see what the future holds for the Bioshock universe. I give Burial at Sea Episode Two a 9.5/10, as it ends the Bioshock Infinite storyline on a very powerful note.

The next game I will review is:

resogun

RESOGUN, which is an arcade style, side-scrolling shooter and is developed by Housemarque. It is published by Sony Computer Entertainment exclusively for the Playstation 4. Players battle enemies in side-scrolling worlds and must rescue trapped humans in fast-paced gameplay. I will have much more on RESOGUN and on the Playstation 4 in my next review. Have a great week everyone! Until next game.

– John

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Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One Review

bioshock-infinite-burial-at-sea-episode-1

Hey guys! I finished Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One recently and I felt like it was pretty rich DLC (compared to some DLC’s out there) coming after Bioshock Infinite‘s story. I’ll have a full review of Burial at Sea Episode One below. For those of you who do not know, it is with a heavy heart that I must share the sad news of Irrational Games.

Irrational Games, who developed System Shock 2, Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, and the Burial at Sea episodes, announced on February 18th that the company would be closing its doors. Co-Founder of Irrational, Ken Levine, stated that he has plans to start a “smaller, more entrepreneurial” project for Take-Two Interactive. Click here for an article Gamespot published when Irrational Games announced it would be shutting down. With this new “endeavor,” I’m sure Ken will continue to push creative content that we all know and love. I wish Ken all the success in the future with his new project. Click here for a message from the man himself, Ken Levine. Now, onto the review!

Setting

Just like in Bioshock Infinite, you play as Booker DeWitt. But instead of Columbia as a setting, the story takes place in the underwater city of Rapture right before its fall. You might remember Rapture if you have played Bioshock and Bioshock 2. Burial at Sea Episode One takes place one year before the events in Bioshock. Booker DeWitt is a well-known private investigator and lives out of his office in Rapture. A mysterious woman named Elizabeth comes to Booker on the eve of 1959 and asks him to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Sally.

Elizabeth doesn’t reveal why she wants Booker to investigate Sally’s disappearance but mentions to Booker that she is alive. Listening to Booker and Elizabeth’s conversations about Sally indicate that Booker deeply cares for the little girl. As Elizabeth is about to leave Booker’s office, she mentions that the artist Sander Cohen might have information regarding Sally’s whereabouts. I won’t go into much more detail about the plot but this DLC does have some connections with Bioshock Infinite‘s story.

Gameplay

Gameplay is very similar to Bioshock Infinite but it does go back to the original Bioshock roots. Instead of having Vigors as powers, players will once again have Plasmids, multiple weapons, tears, and new gear to utilize throughout this episode. Unlike Infinite, the player can carry and swap all six weapons instead of just two at once. The first half of Episode One focuses mostly on the exploration of Rapture and the second half focuses on combat mechanics, which are very similar to the first Bioshock game. I liked how Episode One had scarce resources and forced the player to make decisions on where to go based on what they had in their inventory. Elizabeth still finds some supplies but the player must be conscious of what they use.

The Presentation

The Unreal Engine 3 is once again used (just like for Infinite) and this DLC features the city of Rapture rebuilt from scratch, using a very limited amount of assets from Bioshock. I thought this was very smart of Ken Levine and the team to do, so Rapture could look its best when played in the Unreal Engine 3. Rapture looked fantastic to play in and the visuals were very strong once again. Even with a lot of bleak colors in Rapture, there is a whole lot of character that comes out of the city. Cinematic sequences were done very well and the feeling of a creepy Rapture environment was definitely brought back. I particularly enjoyed the “boss battle” at the end of Episode One and how the final reveal sequence was handled.

Score

I really liked Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One and how it connected to the story in Bioshock Infinite. This is a very strong story DLC and lasts for a good four to five hours. That is great content compared to some DLC that is put out there for games nowadays. I give Burial at Sea Episode One a 9/10, as the story was a strong addition to the narrative that Bioshock Infinite laid out. If you have Bioshock Infinite, you have to get Burial at Sea stat!

Can you guess what game I will review next?

bioshock infinite burial at sea episode 2

Of course I have to go in order! I cannot wait until Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two drops next month. It will be interesting to see what Episode Two has in store for finishing the Burial at Sea story. In the meantime, I think I will play a couple of games on my Steam list and play RESOGUN on my PS4. Have a great week everyone! Until next game (DLC).

– John

Dead Island: Riptide Review

Riptide

Hey guys! Well after 23 hours of gameplay, I have finally finished Dead Island: Riptide. It’s the review that you’ve been waiting for right? Yes, no, maybe so? Anyway, overall I felt Dead Island: Riptide was a decent hack and slash (and shoot!) game in a zombie apocalypse setting. With that being said, some story and gameplay elements seemed too repetitive or just got to the point of being flat out boring. More on that in a little bit.

Dead Island: Riptide, released last year by Techland and Deep Silver, is the sequel to 2011’s Dead Island, a first-person shooter action role-playing/survival horror game. Riptide continues the plot from the previous game, where “the five survivors arrive on another island in the Banoi archipelago, which has also been overrun by zombies.” I never fully completed the first Dead Island, but Riptide gets the player caught up pretty quick on the story early on in the game.

Setting

The game is set on the island of Palanai on the Banoi archipelago, infested with zombies and the remaining survivors striving to stay alive. In the very beginning, Riptide allows you to choose one of the five survivors to play for the duration of the game’s story. After you make a selection, the game starts by showing a helicopter landing on a military aircraft carrier. You quickly learn that your character and the other survivors are taken into custody by the Australian Defence Force. Colonel Sam Hardy, the leader of the Australian Defence Force, and Frank Serpo, a civilian VIP, intends to experiment and examine the five survivors. After being sedated for testing, the five survivors wake up in the brig to find the ship overrun by zombies. The survivors see Frank Serpo fleeing in a helicopter, before the ship loses control and crashes.

Parts and supplies of the ship as well as the survivors and Colonel Hardy wash up on the island of Palanai. Colonel Hardy finally tells the survivors that Frank Serpo’s organization intends to weaponize the infection that caused the zombie outbreak. Hardy also tells them that Serpo plans to launch a nuclear strike on Palanai, to purge the infection and also to cover up the evidence. Over the course of the game you work with the other survivors to move throughout the island of Palanai, seeking a way to create an antidote for the infection that has spread all over the island.

Gameplay

The game is presented in first-person and combines action, role-playing, and survival elements. The game uses an inventory system, so your character can only carry so much weapons and equipment at one time. The role-playing part of the game comes into play by having your character level up when you have enough experience and also spending skill points on skill trees. The skill trees offer offensive, defensive, and “super” skill sets for your character. The “super” skill tree is basically where you can beef up your character – for example, leveling up your stamina and also leveling up how powerful your melee attack is. Players can accept quests within the known survivor group and also from other survivors on the island. Players gain experience and skill points by finishing these quests and main quests for the main story.

Like I mentioned above, Riptide does a decent job for being a hack, slash, and shoot game. Players are able to pick up a plethora of weapons lying around on the island and can also upgrade them when they find a workbench. There are a whole bunch of one-handed weapons, two-handed weapons, throwing weapons, and guns. When the player uses a melee weapon for a long period of time, the weapon “breaks down” and forces the player to repair it. This keeps the player on edge and wary of what exactly they have used out of their inventory.

Survival is also the big theme in Dead Island: Riptide. While the game does a good job of nudging the player to go out and find supplies, I feel like some items respawn too quickly in areas. For example, I was able to farm an entire office area filled with supplies. After I left this area and explored another area for about five minutes, I came back to the same office and found all the items that I gathered previously were spawned back in. This definitely detracts from the “survival” element in the game and could make the game very easy.

The one thing that grinds my gears about this game are the quests themselves. All of the quests are supposed to carry the story forward and add excitement to the main story. Sure, in the beginning its fun to have some missions where you travel from point A to point B, hack and slash (or shoot) some zombies, complete your objectives, and return to your quest giver. But when you do that for the entire bloody game, the gameplay becomes a tedious and repetitive experience. Which is really sad, because all of these quests have potential to be really interesting.

Anyway, the other gripe I have are the actual quest givers themselves and the player’s lame responses to what the quest givers say. For example a survivor could be giving a mission to you, explaining a whole backstory for this particular mission in the most monotone sentences and phrases. And do you know what’s the worst about the tail end of this conversation? When you are given the option to “accept” or “decline” a quest. If you accept a mission, your character blurts out the most generic response ever saying: “Sure” or “I’m on it.” If you decline a mission, your character verbally declines in almost the same fashion saying: “Not right now.” Are you serious? After having a monotone survivor read out a very detailed mission for you, your character essentially does the same thing for a response? Shouldn’t the conversations be more lively and dramatic since its a damn zombie apocalypse after all? But I digress….

The Presentation

Dead Island: Riptide runs on the Chrome Engine 5, which is a proprietary game engine developed by Techland. The visuals in the game are definitely some of the things that the game’s got going for itself. The water effects are done really well and it’s always a fun time to kick some zombies in the water to hear them gurgle while sloshing around. The island of Palanai has adaptive weather, so at one moment you could be running through the grass during the day and suddenly the weather could change drastically to heavy rain. This makes it harder to see and makes the player more aware of their surroundings.

The environments on the island are crafted very well, as they offer lots and lots of details. If you enter a store, you can find shelves filled with bottles, cans, and a whole lot more items. Attacking the zombies also provide strong, awesome visuals. If you have a melee weapon equipped, you can behead a zombie or even cut off body parts on a zombie depending where you aim and attack. The blood squirting out of zombies is truly done in “zombie fashion.”

Score

Dead Island: Riptide was a fun, no-brainer (haha get it?) action survival game. Like I expressed above, for a time the game was enjoyable but ultimately I felt it was repetitive too quickly. I give Dead Island: Riptide a 5/10, as it is a fun, hack, slash, shoot RPG where you can roam an island killing zombies. But the gameplay is repetitive at times and there is not a whole lot of excitement in the main story. I feel like this game could have done a lot better if it had a solid story and more inventive quests.

The game (DLC in this case) I will review next is:

bioshock-infinite-burial-at-sea-episode-1

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1, brought to you by the same folks who worked on Bioshock Infinite – Irrational Games and 2K Games. Burial at Sea Episode 1 is “the first part of the story-driven downloadable content for Bioshock Infinite. This DLC puts players in the perspective of Booker DeWitt in a new story, taking place in the city of Rapture right before its fall.” I cannot wait to start playing Burial at Sea and re-visit the glorious city of Rapture, which is the underwater city from Bioshock and Bioshock 2. Have a great rest of the week everyone! Until next game.

– John