BioShock: Infinite Burial at Sea - Episode Two Review: An emotional sendoff for Irrational's flagship series
- Posted March 29th, 2014 at 06:29 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Burial at Sea: Episode Two is a great slice of DLC and a fitting end to the BioShock: Infinite universe.
- Fantastic narrative
- Great stealth mechanics that keep things fresh
- Far meatier than Episode One, with plenty of extras to uncover
- Occasional bland textures
- Fetch quests and puzzles lack some spark
Lizzie can’t take much of a battering as you’d expect, so you’ll have to apply judicious use of medikits you’ll encounter, and conserve ammo where possible for time when combat is necessary. As with Infinite and Episode One, the bread and butter action of juggling plasmids and gunplay is as competent as it’s ever been, and strategically rewarding when you mix things up -- it’s definitely not as pronounced as before though, and I found myself feeling like I had accomplished more when sneaking my way through the leaky corridors of Rapture. Pleasingly, the pacing is spot on, with tense encounters punctuated by eyeball-popping exposition, shedding light on some of the darker plot points while creating even more questions.
Irrational’s keen eye for detail isn’t lost amidst the underwater dystopian hellhole, and Episode Two continues the visual splendor laid down by its predecessors. BioShock’s aesthetics have never been about spectacle, but rather subtly, with each location brimming with atmosphere and history. Whether it be the remnants of a once-bustling market area, riddled with bodies and blood, or a eerie science lab full of the haphazardly-scrawled notes detailing the genesis of some of the series’ most iconic foes, Episode Two's visuals are as memorable as you'd expect. Equally impressive is the voice acting, with Troy Baker and Courtney Draper reprising their roles as Booker and Elizabeth, respectively, with the same conviction and nuanced performance that made Infinite’s head-spinning narrative a joy to soak up.
Aside from the occasional bland texture rearing its head, Episode Two's biggest crime is the general fetch quest template it employs as a catalyst for getting Elizabeth from A to B. Likewise, the puzzles aren't much cop, which was always a disappointment for me personally in series renowned for its head-spinning plot line. Fortunately though, these issues are inconsequential in the long run, and top-notch pacing ensures things never get tiresome.
Fortunately, Episode Two remedies the one glaring issue that its predecessor had: game length. Here, Levine and co have fleshed out the final chapter in Infinite’s story, packing in over four hours worth of gameplay. Even better, the option is there for gamers to explore areas to uncover hidden audio recordings and complete the odd side task, fleshing out the overarching narrative.
All of this combines to create a fitting send-off for one of gaming’s most acclaimed titles of the PS3 era, satisfyingly interweaving all the plot points and delivering a knockout finale. And, while the loss of Levine and Irrational Games is lamentable, we can at least take comfort that the final excursion into the world of BioShock is among the most memorable and satisfying DLCs you’ll ever play. So, ‘would you kindly’ do yourself a favor and put your cash down this instant?
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