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

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode One Review

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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

Bioshock Infinite Review

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Hey guys! I just finished Bioshock Infinite last night so I will be giving you a fresh, spoiler free review! My initial thoughts after finishing the game and seeing the credits roll: “Wow. Holy crap.” There are very few games that have left me speechless and my jaw on the floor after it is all said and done. Bioshock Infinite does not fail to impress and it definitely left me feeling this way. And if you’ve been wondering why this entry in the Bioshock series is called “Infinite”, you won’t find out until the very end.

Setting

“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.”

You play as Booker DeWitt, a former agent of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and also a former soldier, in the year 1912. You stumble into the floating city of Columbia, left to your own instincts and devices. All seems well in Columbia as you explore but remember, this is a Bioshock game. You are tasked with finding a girl within Columbia and bringing her back to New York. Of course, things won’t be easy in doing so.

Gameplay

Like Bioshock and Bioshock 2, Bioshock Infinite is a first-person shooter with role-playing elements. You can travel around Columbia on foot and also use a tool called a Skyhook on Columbia’s rail system that connects buildings called “The Skyline.” You can carry two weapons and use “super human” powers known as Vigors, comparable to plasmids in the previous Bioshock games. The role-playing elements come into play as you can upgrade your weapons and Vigors using vending machines located all around the city of Columbia. The gameplay itself is very self explanatory to gamers and also has a navigation hint feature to help you along if you are ever stuck.

I thought what Irrational did in the original Bioshock game, in terms of gameplay, was a lot of fun and having that sense of a satisfying experience. In this game, I think Irrational took what worked very well from the first and made this game’s experience even better which is an incredible achievement. Speaking of which, Infinite introduces gamers to one of the most advanced AI characters I’ve ever played with: Elizabeth. Just this past PAX East, a few members of Irrational Games, including Ken Levine (Creative Director of Irrational Games) held a panel to talk about Bioshock Infinite and the work to bring Elizabeth to life. I was amazed at what the development team achieved in creating this great AI character for the player to interact with for most of the game. After finally seeing what Elizabeth could do in Infinite, I think the “whole package” came nicely together and this AI technology could be in the future of games.

Oh, and as far as the game difficulties? Ken Levine himself stated at PAX East that if you want a true experience from the game, you have to play it on hard. And if the Creative Director says that, you better well do it!

The Presentation

Overall, I was very impressed with the visuals in the game. Infinite is a very different game from the previous two Bioshock games, as this game is set in 1912 in the floating city of Columbia. There are massive amounts of color in this setting and it works very well for the environment you play in. I think it’s a nice departure from the dark and dismal setting in Rapture from Bioshock and Bioshock 2. The animations of characters and events happening all around are smooth, making the player feel more immersed in the 1912 setting. I think the development teams did an excellent job of harnessing the power of the Unreal 3 Engine to give the player a spectacular gameplay experience.

Score

I very much enjoyed my experience with Bioshock Infinite and I think it is the best game from Irrational Games yet. That is saying a lot after I played Bioshock, saying the same thing. One of the things that’s great about this game is that it always leaves the player guessing what’s going to happen next. If you think you know what’s going to happen, you are completely thrown off by twists and turns in the story, especially right until the very end. I give Bioshock Infinite a 10/10; the game truly earns it and the quality of the game definitely shows by the hard work put in by all of the development teams.

The next game I will review for you guys is:

TheLastofUs

The Last of Us, created by the studio who brought you the Uncharted series, Naughty Dog. The game releases this Friday, June 14th and I cannot wait to pick up a copy. There is so much hype about this game and it has been called “the best game of 2013” already. When Friday and the weekend comes around, I will be busy playing it! Until next game.

-John

Bioshock Infinite: It’s Coming Along!

Hey guys! Long time since I’ve made a new post. I’ve been busy, busy, busy! I can’t believe it’s June already! Last month I finished my college career at Daniel Webster College and now have a B.S. in Game Design and Development. You could probably imagine how crazy busy everything was in that month! Now I’m working on giving out applications and resumes to companies (which is almost a job in itself) to try to find a full-time position in the Game Industry. It’s definitely not easy, but I’m sure all my hard work will pay off like it did at DWC. Anyway, the next game I will review is Bioshock Infinite.

bioshockinfinite_1920x1080

Now, I have played about a decent amount of hours of Bioshock Infinite but I want to finish the game and then give you my reaction/opinions. I have heard a lot of positive things about the game so I’m really looking forward to playing through it. My next post will be my review of the game and then I’ll announce the next game I’ll play to review. Until next time.

-John