Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1 is a direct continuation of the events that took place in the base game. It is now set in the underwater city of Rapture which should be a well known location for those that have played the prior entries to the series. The neat thing about this dlc is that it is set before the fall of Rapture so you can see how life was there before everyone went trigger happy. That peace does not last as you may imagine and you will have to fight for your life after spending the opening trying to get into someone’s birthday party. You will be play as Booker, the protagonist of the base game who is yet again accompanied by Elizabeth for the duration of our journey. Like always she will not help in a fight but can still open tears and throw you the occasional bit of ammo.
None of your progress will carry over so it’s back to square one in terms of your powers, equipment and weaponry. Speaking of weaponry the Skyhook and Handcannon weapons have made it into Rapture which may seem rather odd at first but it is explained. While it may be tempting to play this as you would Infinite and zoom around the place on the skylines this dlc takes a far different approach to the pure action of the base game. It returns to it’s semi horror roots and it is a lot less viable to run out like Rambo as the enemies in Rapture will put you down very quickly. This same forbidding atmosphere of being more likely than not murdered if you let your guard down really helps set give the creepy environments more weight to them and not just being superficial suspense. I wouldn’t really classify it as scary since you are always accompanied with Elizabeth and she will revive you anytime you die. An option to turn this feature off would have really been appreciated.
Tension is what this dlc excels at as ammo is far more scare and the amount you can carry is greatly reduced. It makes scavenging much more vital than it ever has been to the point of feeling disappointed when ever you find more money and overjoyed when you find a few more bullets. This lack of ammo also means you will have a far greater need to use the crouch button and scout the area without trying to alert the enemies until you are ready to take them by surprise. Freaking out and not taking good aim will quickly deplete all your resources leading you to either fight mano a shotgun which ends about as well as you’d expect or run away. You will never be stuck or unable to continue due to the lack of ammo though since Elizabeth will still get ammo out of thin air and give it to you which honestly harms the experience. There are still the rare vending machines where you can buy ammo, weapon upgrades or powers but there is no way you can go on a buying spree as the dlc is both short and stingy with it’s money.
There are a few new additions such as a freezing power, a useless samurai ally you can summon or an awesome laser gun that looks like a colander. The samurai can be summoned by opening a tear in a prelocated spot but due to it’s slow speed and underwhelming damage is rather useless. The mechanized patriot from Infinite can be occasionally summoned in Rapture too which is just plain weird. Honestly the dlc is at it’s best when not influenced by Infinite as everything about it seems counter productive to their attempt to return to the original feel of Bioshock. The effects of any possible horror is greatly reduced by the presence of Elizabeth, ammo literally shows up out of nowhere and is given to you and it seems like you need Elizabeth to open every bloody door for you since they all seem to be locked just to remind you she is there and “useful”. Skylines while justified by story reasons for being there just feel very out of place and contradicts the slower, more tactical gameplay they were going for when you zoom around the arena and jump off like Batman for an insta-kill on a enemy. It must of been a weird spot for the developers to make dlc for fans of the previous games while trying to keep Infinite fans please too but these two different type of game designs do not mix well.
It is a personal story between Booker and Elizabeth so there is really nothing new to learn about the city of Rapture itself. It is pretty important to the plot of Infinite so if the ending left you scratching your head you’ll definitely want to pick up this dlc. The world is far more open ended than it was in Infinite and is made interesting by deciding whether or not it’s a good idea to explore for possible treasures while you only have three bullets left. Unfortunately Burial at Sea has an annoying design decision where enemies respawn so you can come back later and find the place overrun again while having that much less ammo. In the end of this day this is an odd combination of old Bioshock and new that either fan can enjoy. With it’s attempt to return to form and it’s continuation of the story of Infinite this Burial at Sea part 1 is a dlc I would wholeheartedly recommend to any fan of the series.
Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Episode 2 kicks off directly after the events of the first and we must now survive the dangers of Rapture as Elizabeth. Unlike Booker she is no war hero and relies on surprising her enemies while there guard is down instead of going in guns blazing. Due to the events of the previous episode Elizabeth no longer has her powers so no more summoning giant gatling gun wielding robots for her. She is now more or less a regular girl with no combat experience left to fend for herself in the crazy city of Rapture. Luckily for her she finds a crossbow with darts that puts her enemies to sleep as unlikely as this finding sounds. This crossbow has pinpoint accuracy and you are able to hold up to four of the sleeping darts. One shot with a dart will put nearly enemy down but it is not reliable in a fight as loading up a new dart takes quite some time and Elizabeth isn’t exactly wearing combat armor under that dress of hers.
Your best bets of survival will be to lay low in the shadows and wait for the time to strike your enemies. If they are unaware of your presence you can knock them out by sneaking up behind them which will save you the use of a bolt. You can only carry four bolts but if you are lucky they won’t be damaged on impact and you can reuse them if you can get close to the corpse and yank it out. There are two other bolt types that you will unlock later on. One of them is meant to distract your enemies with continuous loud noises that will cause everyone in the area to investigate and the other is a very rare bolt that releases a gas to knock out any enemies caught in it’s effect. If things go sour you can either escape and hide until the enemy no longer searches for you or you can use one of the two real guns at your disposal. You will have access to both a shotgun and the hand-cannon which Elizabeth is able to aim just as well as Booker but she can not handle it’s recoil causing her to lose aim after shooting, making it impossible to quickly lay down multiple shots on an enemy that wants your head.
Like Episode 1 ammo is very scarce so you don’t want to be wasting unnecessary ammo that you may really need later on. Stealth is even more vital here than it was previously. Elizabeth is small enough to fit into vents which allow her to easily escape her pursuers and she still has a skyhook which allows her to jump impossibly high in the air if a crane is in sight. She will also have access to a few new powers as well as some old. The first and most vital power you’ll find will be the “Peeping Tom”. This allows her to see enemies and important objects through walls while it’s secondary feature makes you fully invisible for an easy escape. It does seem like a cheat to be able to see through walls but it is very necessary here as Bioshock was not meant to be a stealth game and it shows. You’ll be hearing enemies talking as if they were right near you even if they are on a different floor altogether, as soon as you make a bit of noise those same enemies from a different floor will know where it came from and they have really excellent eyesight for being either mutated or wearing a box on their head.
It’s not broken by any means but it is obvious the game wasn’t meant for this type of gameplay. Unfortunately this second dlc retains that annoying respawing enemies mechanic that feels especially cheap here as you re-enter a previously cleared room only to find it occupied again. The world of Rapture is still creepy but like that forbidding atmosphere was diminished by having an AI companion last episode, here it is diminished by your Peeping Tom ability which will always tell you whether an area is truly safe or not. What really kept me going is the story told in this dlc. While neither Infinite nor episode 1 of Burial at Sea were terribly interesting this one had me hooked unexpectedly. It is the finest story of the series since Bioshock 1. It’s very interesting to see how Elizabeth copes with being alone in a dangerous place without her powers and makes her a relatable character instead of a walking ammo dispenser.
A new minigame game has been added whenever you try to open locked containers or doors that has you timing when to press a button. It is a very simple rhythm mini game where Elizabeth randomly moves the pick and you try to land on either a blue or colorless tumbler. Landing on blue will grant you a bolt to distract your enemies, landing on a colorless one will simply open it and landing on the dreaded red tumbler will set off an alarm. Playing through both pieces of this dlc will take about 4 hours so it makes the experience short but sweet even if you don’t like the survival aspect of the first part and the straight stealth of the second episode. In the end of the day this is a rather bold dlc that does things very differently than the base game and is not just more of the same. If you are a fan of Bioshock I would highly suggest you pick up both episodes of Burial at Sea as this is one of those rare cases where the dlc is not only well worth it but actually better than the base game itself.