Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1 (DLC) Review

I like Bioshock Infinite’s two-part Burial at Sea DLC. I really do. That being said, Episode 1 isn’t worth 15 dollars. Not only is it hilariously short—many players will find it easy to play through in a single sitting—but it’s an incomplete story that exists just to set up Episode 2. Nothing is resolved story-wise, and asking 15 dollars for something so short and incomplete is outrageous. Price aside, however, this is a nice little DLC that plays almost identically to the base game.

Return to Rapture

Do you remember the underwater setting of Rapture from the first game? Well, good for you. I barely remember playing through the first Bioshock, first going through it on the Playstation 3 and deciding afterward to pick it up for the PC because of how much better the platform is for first-person games. Long story short, I ended up with a PC version and no real desire to go through it again, so it’s been quite some time for me. As a result, my memories of the setting and characters weren’t exactly pristine going in, though I remembered what happened in broad strokes. Ultimately, however, none of that knowledge of the first game matters in this half of the Burial at Sea DLC, so even those completely unfamiliar with the setting will be able to jump right in without any problems.

Stop reading unless you’ve finished Infinite

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve played through the base game and know what happens in its story. After all, why else would you be interested in story DLC that takes place after all of that? However, if you haven’t finished the base game for whatever reason, you should probably stop reading here because of all the spoiler-tastic things I’m about to say to set up this DLC.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1

Seriously. Stop reading if you haven’t played through the base game. I’m not responsible for future facepalms if you spoil Infinite’s story for yourself.

Multiple universes and characters

Okay, so you know how Bioshock Infinite ended? You know, with all of the Booker/Comstocks being drowned? This DLC doesn’t help explain the mechanics behind that (though Episode 2 does), and on top of that, there’s suddenly a new Booker who doesn’t know who Elizabeth is, obviously being a different universe’s version of him. Why isn’t that Booker dead if the whole point of the main game’s ending was to remove all potential Comstocks from existing, you ask? Well, the Burial at Sea DLC relies on theories of multiple universes/quantum superposition that aren’t exactly rock-solid, and the sad truth is that his existence isn’t ever really explained satisfactorily, but I found it all enjoyable enough once I gave in and allowed it that little bit of convenient plot magic.

All that aside, you have to know from the very beginning that this new femme-fatale version of Elizabeth is planning nothing good for you, and that’s really what makes this DLC so sweet: you know you’re a mouse walking into a mousetrap, but you’re never quite sure when or how the trap will be sprung.

Burial at Sea also introduces a new character named Sally into the story. She’s little more than the MacGuffin dangled at the end of a stick to coerce Booker to venture out into dangerous territory with Elizabeth, though Booker’s desperation to save her from whatever fate has befallen her is actually quite surprising at times, very obviously mirroring the base game’s Booker’s determination to look out for Elizabeth at all costs. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is anything mind-blowing or worth paying 15 dollars for, it’s still a nice touch that helps keep Booker’s “bad person with a good heart” vibe from Infinite intact.

Jesus take the weapon wheel

One of the things that drew plenty of criticism in Infinite was its two-gun restriction. The Burial at Sea DLC, on the other hand, brings back the ability to carry several different weapons, and this may be a big selling point for some. However, the game is so short that there aren’t many enemies to waste ammo on, and barring a single fight at the end, I can’t recall running out of ammo being a problem.

Graphically gorgeous

Bioshock Infinite was pretty, and I loved the openness and all of the lighting that the setting allowed for. Rapture is also pretty, with the playable areas being largely rebuilt in Infinite’s engine, though it’s in a much more subdued way; while the lighting was a big factor in Infinite’s visual appeal, Rapture is much darker and its beauty comes from the way it’s covered in shadows. Personally, I still prefer the open spaces of Infinite to the more claustrophobic setting of Rapture, but there’s no denying that both are incredibly pretty.

Here’s what you should do:

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1

Burial at Sea Episode 1 Screenshots: Page 1

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