The second and final chapter of BioShock Infinite’s Burial at Sea DLC is a decidedly poignant experience, least of all because it marks the culmination of the intricate, multi-dimensional narrative that begun a year ago with Irrational Games’ acclaimed cerebral FPS. More importantly however, it’s also Ken Levine and Irrational’s swansong for the series following his decision to downsize the company and move on to pastures anew. As the credits rolled, I was reminded that this is effectively the end of a long, captivating journey that begun in 2007, and one that may never be replicated as the future of the franchise remains ambiguous in the hands on 2K. For now though, I’ll gladly focus on why Burial at Sea Episode Two is the fitting climax for Infinite and a fine send off for Mr. Levine.
Episode Two picks up right after the events of its predecessor - reviewed here - and plonks gamers in the delicate high-heels of Elizabeth for the first time. Without spoiling anything, your exploits aren’t just limited to Andrew Ryan’s rapidly-crumbling Rapture, so be prepared to visit some familiar locations as Lizzie continues her quest to save Little Sister, Sally. You’ll also bump into a number of iconic figures from Rapture’s demise, though again, I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise. Suffice to say, fans of the original will be happy as a pig in muck.
Playing as Elizabeth opens up a host of new gameplay opportunities. Whereas Booker relied more on brute force, Lizzie is less aggressive and more fragile, facilitating a move into stealth territory. Sure, you’ll still get armed with the likes of pistols and shotguns for when necessary, but it isn’t the forefront of the experience. Instead, gamers are encouraged to sneak past foes and deliver the killing blow silently using a melee attack. It’s not just a case of moving quietly either; you’ll have to pay attention to the surface you are creeping around on, and know when it’s safe to move or not.
I personally found the deft shift into stealth play a welcome break from the run-and-gunning depicted in BioShock Infinite’s main campaign, and it’s rewarding to use in combination with some of the game’s new plasmids and weapons. The Peeping Tom plasmid is particularly useful, allowing you to peek through walls or turn completely invisible for a period of time. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s bow has multiple functions, such as shooting knockout darts, noise-making bolts to distract foes and deadly gas. Indeed, while you can blast anyone you come across, it pays to methodically move through each area, taking advantage of the shadows and utilizing your new gear to avoid confrontation.