BioShock: Infinite Burial at Sea - Episode One Review: a return to one of gaming's most iconic locations

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BioShock: Infinite Burial at Sea - Episode One

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While short, Burial at Sea - Episode One is still an enjoyable jaunt through one of gaming's most iconic locations. Bring on Episode 2.

We like

  • Intriguing story
  • Solid combat
  • Rapture is back!

We dislike

  • Way too short
  • Lack of new weapons and plasmids

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Needless to say, it’s certainly more satisfying to creep up on enemies than simply go in guns blazing, and the game encourages you to try out more tactics, such as using the environment to your advantage. With ammo scarce, blasting an explosive barrel or zapping a pool of water with Shock Jockey to take out a group of foes is not only rewarding, but near crucial if you are going to make it through in one piece.

Elizabeth still provides a shoulder to lean on, scavenging for health packs and other items to give you a boost mid-combat, but you can’t rely on her for everything. I died quite a few times due to lack of ammo and being overwhelmed, and as with previous games, the old routine of die-regenerate-have another go is overly familiar, but never frustrating due to the generous checkpoint system. As previously mentioned the Skyhook also makes a return, though I found its inclusion here slightly contrived and definitely more suited to the open locations of Columbia. More new weapons or plasmids in its place would have been more welcome; the new freeze-style vigor and Radar Range weapon are nice additions, but overall your arsenal doesn't feel as unqiue as it could have given the time and place.

Graphically, Rapture is a haven of stunning beauty, from the gorgeous underwater vistas you’ll gawk at from nearby windows, to the grimy, leaking corridors of the sunken areas where the main chunk of the game is set. The atmosphere is palpable, and anyone who has played BioShock 1 or 2 will feel right at home. Audio is ever impressive, and the main cast deliver with utter conviction, with Elizabeth’s new-found confidence and wit a real highlight and strike contrast to her Columbia counterpart.

At the end of the day though, Burial at Sea’s glaring fault is its length. At just 2 hours (slightly more if you explore), you can’t help but feel Irrational would have been better off combining episode 1 and 2 into one package. Forking out $14.99 is a bit steep, but the narrative payoff, ample audio files and gear to obtain, not to mention the anticipation that builds for episode 2 does well to compensate. However, there’s no denying that Burial at Sea: Episode 1 could have been fleshed out that little bit more. I await Episode 2 with excitement, but until then, the first part of this underwater excursion offers an enjoyable but all-too-brief trip back to one of gaming’s most iconic locations.

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