Before you read on we strongly suggest that you’ve at least played BioShock and that you’ve completed BioShock Infinite. If you haven’t then you’re missing out and reading this review is likely to spoil a few things for you. If you have done these things then feel free to read on.
We absolutely fell in love with BioShock Infinite when it was released back in March 2013 and have been eager for more. When we heard more was coming in the form of DLC we were excited. The first DLC, Clash in the Clouds, was an arena-based combat mode that was fun but void of the story that we’ve been craving.
Burial at Sea is to be a two-part DLC and it has delivered what we wanted – more story. Set in a different timeline it tells a very different tale involving Booker and Elizabeth that brings them to Rapture before its fall.
An older Elizabeth arrives at Bookers office to ask him to go with her to find a young girl named Sally who is missing. Booker clearly knows Sally but thinks she’s dead while Elizabeth obviously knows more than he does. It’s also clear that Elizabeth actually knows Booker although he doesn’t appear to know her. She slowly reveals the information she does have over the course of the episode and gradually appears more like the girl we knew in Infinite.
It’s a delight to head back to Rapture and there’s plenty in store for you if you’re a big fan. It probably would have been easy for Irrational to set a story in Columbia and recycle assets used in the main or previous games. However they’ve opted for a much tougher challenge and everything appears to have been rebuilt from scratch.
The combat is somewhere between a mix of old and new with scarce ammo and limited vigors. A version of Infinite’s Skyhook is present and we found this to be the most useful weapon in dispatching the many splicers that stand in your way. If you’re prepared to look you’ll also uncover more gear and audio logs.
The biggest criticism for Burial at Sea – Episode 1 by most people is going to be the length. If you rush through it’s quite possible that you’ll reach the end in around an hour and a half. In our first playthrough we took the time to take everything in, making sure we explored every nook and cranny, which left our play time at around three hours. What’s here is high quality instead of pointless filler but we’d still like to have seen more.
It’s clear that Irrational have put a ton of effort into Burial at Sea which is reflected in the rather hefty asking price of £11.99. Thankfully there is a season pass option that includes both chapters plus Clash in the Clouds for £15.99. We can’t think why anyone would want just one part of Burial at Sea so the season pass effectively gives you the next part free. There is also the additional bonus of extra gear, weapons, skins and infusions that you only get in the season pass.
Burial at Sea – Episode 1 is essential if you’re into the story of BioShock series. Fans of the series will find it hard to pass up the opportunity to head back to Rapture. We felt the ending alone was worth the price of the DLC which in typical Bioshock fashion took us completely by surprise. With Irrational promising Elizabeth as a playable character in Episode 2 we are intrigued and excited to see how it plays out.