The long awaited first episode (of two) of Burial At Sea is now available to everyone with a copy of Infinite.  I’ll avoid spoilers in this review, so when I tell you Booker and Elizabeth are now in Rapture know that is not a spoiler.  Just as with Infinite, actually, if you have yet to play Infinite I suggest avoiding this sentence and this DLC until you get through the story of Infinite since story elements from that game come into play for this DLC.  So, as I was saying, this game follows a similar introduction as the player controls Booker who has  no idea who Elizabeth is.  Sure, it may sound familiar, but I found myself not caring much as it provided a nice prompt to go out and explore Rapture.

This time around you’re in Rapture before its downfall, and if I’m correct, I believe it takes place the day before the New Years bombing that kicked off the city’s downfall (I’m not sure if that’s referenced in any of the Bioshock-Infinite-Burial-At-Sea-Episode-1-Reviewgames, but it is in the book, which is an easy but fun read).  Everyone is lively and incredibly pretentious.  It’s actually kind of disturbing hearing the people of the city talk about how great they are, as if it’s the only thing worth talking about.  The exploration of the city took me about half the time I spent with the DLC, so about an hour and fifteen minutes of listening to every person talk and exploring everywhere.

The detail in the city shows why it took so long to release this DLC.  However, I would almost have preferred if they released both parts at the same time.  Sure, it may have taken a while, but it also would have allowed for the story to have better pacing.  As it currently is, Burial At Sea feels like a single mission in a much longer game, and in part it is.  The second episode will likely pick up where this left off, and to its credit, the ending of the first episode has one big cliffhanger, and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to see what comes next.

So then, the main issue with this DLC is it feels like a full Bioshock game without being one.  I think after playing three great games, two in Burial At Sea’s Rapture, it’s difficult to not think of their long developing stories.  Of course, already knowing about Booker and Elizabeth helps a lot, and when taking the ending of Infinite into consideration, this short, episodic format makes a good deal of sense.  But this adventure only took me two and a half hours on medium difficulty and full exploration.  Imagine cutting Infinite in half.  It wouldn’t be much fun to stop playing as soon as a big story moment happens, and Bioshock is not afraid to have big story moments.  Nothing is told poorly here, it just needs closure, and right now it is a bit disappointing the DLC just couldn’t have been both episodes combined.

Taken the episodic nature of the DLC into consideration, I still really enjoyed my time with Burial At Sea.  The combat was fun and was implemented into an appropriate setting, allowing it to not feel forced.  However, due to the short length of the DLC there was not enough time to include all the weapons and plasmids (yes, they’re plasmids again, there’s some cool audio logs in reference to them).  There’s a forced boss battle, but it’s not that difficult and isn’t very long.  The little sisters are back and are well written into the story.

Overall, this is DLC is really interesting.  It tries to cram in half a Bioshock game into about two and a half hours, and for the most part succeeds.  It has the cool introduction and city walk through of Infinite as well as its combat, the second half has the tone of the original Bioshock, and the cliffhanger is really cool.  If you’re a fan of the Bioshock series I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy Burial At Sea.

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