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BioShock Infinite Signature Series strategy guide review

We check out the official BioShock Infinite strategy guide.

BioShock Infinite

We recently reviewed BioShock Infinite, the latest game from Irrational Games and third entry in the BioShock series. The game was not only one of the best we’ve played in a while but one of our favourite games ever. Have BradyGames managed to craft a guide worthy of the game?

BioShock Infinite is a massive game that took us around 15 hours to complete on our first playthrough. Although there’s a fairly linear path through the game it does a fantastic job of making you feel like you’re in a proper living city. There’s a huge amount of things to discover and you’re likely to miss things even on several playthroughs which is one way that using a strategy guide can be helpful.

The guide comes in two flavours – Signature Series (£14.99) and Limited Edition (£19.99). The guides are identical in content and weigh in at 272 pages. The Limited Edition features a deluxe hardcover with exclusive artwork, a four-inch enamelled metal replica keychain of the Freedom Key featured in the game and an exclusive action card that can be used with the upcoming BioShock board game.

The guide is divided up into the following chapters:

  • Foreword by Ken Levine
  • Welcome to Columbia
  • Detective Training
  • Guns of Liberty
  • Vigors
  • The Height of Columbia Fashion
  • Booker’s Campaign
  • Enemies of the People
  • Achievement & Trophies

BioShockLimitedEdition

The guide begins with a foreword by BioShock Infinite’s Creative Director, Ken Levine. It’s a nice touch and a brilliant opening to the guide. Ken explains his love for strategy guides and the kind of content he likes to see in them. He also explains how BradyGames worked on-site with the Irrational Games team to create the guide. It’s nice to hear so much effort went into creating the guide and this shows even just by flicking through it. Each page is printed in full-colour on a decent quality paper and the guide is littered with screenshots and maps along with artwork from the development of BioShock Infinite.

The very brief first chapter introduces you to the world of BioShock Infinite and gives a quick overview of the content of the following chapters. This is followed by a chapter that looks at all the different gameplay mechanics, abilities and collectibles. If you’re reading the guide before playing the game this is a really useful chapter and new players will also benefit from taking a look over it while they play.

For the next 25 pages chapter 3 takes a look at the large variety of weapons on offer to Booker throughout the game. Each weapon is given its own two page spread complete with a screenshot of it in action, concept art, strategies, stats and upgrade options. You can see how much each upgrade costs and find out where in the game these upgrades become available.

BioShock Infinite

Chapter 4 looks in detail at Vigors which you can drink in-game to grant Booker many special abilities. There’s a useful table showing which Vigors work best on each enemy type. Each Vigor is looked at in turn and the guide explains the stats and upgrade options. There is information on using each Vigor and the guide also teaches you which Vigors work well in combination. The actual game requires you to experiment to discover the different behaviours so this section is very useful.

Booker is able to further increase his abilities by equipping up to four pieces of gear – Hats, Shirts, Boots and Pants. In chapter 5 the guide details all the different gear pieces you can find. Some gear is guaranteed to be found while playing and other drops at random. Working out which gear works best for your play style can be tough. To help with this the guide presents you with various templates that you can use including builds for survivability, melee and ranged combat.

The bulk of the guide, 162 pages, is dedicated to chapter 6 which walks you through the entire campaign. The walkthrough is rather detailed and full of screenshots and artwork to help guide you through the game. When needed there are maps to help you visualise a particular area and these point out the locations of key items such as Vigors, weapons and collectibles. The guide is particularly useful for players who are looking to find the locations of the Voxophones, Kinetoscopes (these are often mis-spelled as Kinectoscopes in the guide!), Telescopes and Infusions.

Chapter 7 takes a detailed look at the various enemies that you will encounter around Columbia. There are strategies for defeating everything from basic enemies to the heavy-hitters. For each there are statistics showing their health and the damage that they cause which some players will find useful.

The final chapter lists the many PS3 trophies and Xbox 360 achievements available for players to earn. Some are presented in tabular format while the more complex ones are given a little more space and an explanation.

Ken Levine states in his foreword that he loves strategy guides and we’re sure that he’s proud of the guide BradyGames have put together for BioShock Infinite as it’s fantastic.

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