It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s BioShock Infinite, the 2013 entry in the BioShock series that takes place upon a floating city in the sky. Though Infinite takes us back to 1912, nearly a half-century prior to the 1960’s setting of the original BioShock, we should take a moment to look back on its lineage before going into its details.
The original BioShock released in 2007 to universal acclaim for it’s gameplay, story, and infamous twist ending. This dark, atmospheric shooter literally crashes you into Rapture, a decaying underwater city. As you travel deeper into Rapture, it is immediately and increasingly apparent that its inhabitants are certifiably insane. The citizens, called Splicers, have been driven mad by their addiction to ADAM, a substance that allows the subject to manipulate their genetic code in order to possess unique powers and abilities. These powers, called plasmids, combined with the use of guns and traps, are the premise of BioShock’s gameplay.
As the story unfolds, you realize just how twisted Rapture has become and set forth on a mission to shut down the presumably evil powers that be and free, whether through death or more compassionate means, its more innocent inhabitants. There are moments in this game that will stay with you for years, and it is an absolute, surprising, disturbing delight.
BioShock is a must-have classic for your library, and won’t set you back much coin at $4.99.
By contrast, BioShock Infinite shoots you into the sky, where you are greeted and “baptized” anew as a citizen of Columbia, a floating utopia at the height of its power. Once again, as you progress through it, the city isn’t quite as perfect as it seems, and while Infinite is not as dark and disturbing as its predecessors, it’s still unsettling in its own right; racism and elitism run rampant as the city is on the brink of civil war.
You begin your journey as Booker DeWitt, a private detective hired to find and rescue a young woman named Elizabeth, who will serve as your AI sidekick throughout a majority of the game. Elizabeth is sweet and naive, and possesses the unique ability to open Tears, portals through space and time through which she can summon useful items during battle. Admittedly, this wasn’t a power I often took advantage of, but I appreciated Elizabeth as a character that brought the game and story to life. You are granted powers of your own through elixirs called “vigors”, Infinite’s equivalent to plasmids.
Tearing holes into space and time proves to have its consequences, and the truths you uncover along your quest make for a complex story with an even more complicated, yet awe-inspiring end.
Yet, as good as Infinite is, its dual episode, story-based DLC, Burial at Sea, is even better. The DLC takes place not in Columbia, but in Rapture at its prime, before the events of the original BioShock. In Episode 1, you once again play as private detective Booker DeWitt, but this time employed by a much darker Elizabeth. You’re hired to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, a story that will again take you beyond the city’s utopian facade to the darkness that lies underneath. The bonus treat here is for fans of the original; as you explore the shiny, flourishing halls of Rapture you can recognize many of the places and characters of the first game. The gameplay of Episode 1 is also more reminiscent of tactics and environments from BioShock 1.
Episode 2 grants you control of Elizabeth, albeit without use of her power to tear through space and time. Elizabeth’s attributes are different from Booker’s in that she has less health and ammo, but can unlock doors using lockpicks. This forces you to take a much stealthier approach to the game, as your enemies are deadly.
The story and gameplay of Burial at Sea are just as brilliant as Infinite, if not more so, considering it marries the best elements of the series together. The setting of Rapture at the dawn of its collapse is a huge treat for BioShock fans. I’d put Burial at Sea as the best expansion of any game I’ve played in my 20+ years gaming. It’s a must have for BioShock fans.
At $14.99, BioShock Infinite+Burial at Sea is a fantastic deal. Would you kindly pick it up on Steam?
BioShock Infinite : $7.49
For details on release dates and other related info, head to BioShock Infinite’s game page.