BioShock Infinite has been treated very oddly by both the press and the gaming public at large. Lauded upon release, its star has since waned over the past year or so, with its absence from the majority of end of year lists proving really rather surprising (for me at least anyway). Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, it just seems that opinion of this game in particular seems to have taken something of a nosedive. Perhaps it was its release early in the year? Maybe GTA V and The Last of US stole its thunder. For many though, I believe that opinion, the memory of BioShock Infinite was damaged by the release of its first story based DLC.
Despite the initial excitement at the prospect of returning to everyone’s favourite underwater Metropolis, Burial at Sea – Episode One has, somewhat surprisingly, delivered more apathy than excitement and, thanks in part to its relatively short running time, seems to have had an adverse effect on the legacy of the full retail release. Personally, I don’t get it – BioShock Infinite is undoubtedly one of the finest games of the past year, and despite being a little short (especially when you take into consideration the cost), Burial at Sea – Episode One is a fantastically imaginative piece of DLC and a fine way to bring the world of BioShock Inifinite and that of its immediate predecessors together in a consistently entertaining, interesting and genuinely compelling manner.
By essentially dividing Episode One’s two hours of content almost perfectly between exploration and action, Irrational have made a clear attempt to please fans of both the early generation release and its 2013 successor, and for many, that seems to have been the problem. Most love the story and the world, but just as many seem to have taken a disliking to the games’ combat. Personally, I think it successfully marries the finest aspects of each game to create an experience that is as good as anything found in the full retail releases…..and anyway, the combat is actually really good…….no, seriously, it really is.
Visiting Rapture pre shit storm provides a mesmerising experience and a perfect excuse to return to one of gaming’s finest game worlds. With its grandeur fully intact, Rapture is both familiar and completely new, and thanks to the updated, Inifinite mechanics, engine, and yes, improved combat, is more fun to explore than ever before.
Yes, some will argue that Elizabeth’s tears and Booker’s talents with the gun (essentially improved mechanics) rob the experience of the tension found in BioShock 2007, but honestly, I always found the combat mechanics of that game a hindrance to the overall experience, and welcomed the vastly improved combat mechanics of Infinite. I know they are not to everyone’s tastes, but I for one found Inifinite’s, and by definition, Episode One’s combat imaginative, enjoyable and open the kind of experimentation you simply do not find in the majority of modern day shooters.
Still, as solid as the combat mechanics are, it is, as always, the story, characters and surroundings that truly steal the show. On a technical level, BioShock has never looked better, and thanks to the ever evolving relationship between Elizabeth and Brooker and a host of both new and returning characters, BioShock and the world of Rapture remains as enthralling and unforgettable now as it was back in 2007.
Yes, at two hours long, it is rather short, but while it might not be rich in quantity, Episode One is undoubtedly loaded with quality. With its fantastic script, brilliant voice work and artistically rich world, Rapture returns in a totally new light while successfully continuing one of gaming’s most interesting and well realised relationships……..oh, and the twist at the end is pretty great too.
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