So, back in May, I played through Bioshock Infinite and I loved it! It was great. We did that on stream, and through the power of friendship and Twitch, someone gifted me the Burial at Sea DLCs for the full experience. Thanks a lot! Either way, Burial at Sea is essentially two extra chapters for the game that really round out the story… and because I felt like it deserved another post, I wanted to write about it as a 10.5 post, I guess?
If you haven’t played Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea Chapter 1 and/or 2 yet, I highly recommend not reading ahead as there will be a lot of spoilers in regards to the story and all of that. What I do recommend however is to read my post on Bioshock 1 and Bioshock 2 because why not plug it here as well? Either way, in this post I’ll first go into the story/plot for Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 before I discuss gameplay stuff that I liked/disliked. Alas,…
BIG FAT SPOILER WARNING! You’ve been warned.
Burial at Sea Chapter 1 brings us back to Rapture on December 31st, 1958. After the events of Bioshock Infinite and after a whole ordeal about billions of alternate universes and possibilities that all are connected, we essentially are back there in the role of Booker DeWitt taking up another job. We have no recollection of the events of Bioshock Infinite and a more mature and hardboiled version of Elizabeth walks into our office asking us to look for a Little Sister called Sally and to rescue her. Since we’re Booker, we obviously take on the job, sneak our way into different shops to acquire a mask that grants us access to our favourite mad artist’s place where we confront Sander Cohen! I can’t believe he was mad before the events of Bioshock 1 as well. Either way, there we learn that Sally is not dead and that we can find her in the Fontaine Department Store – that place, however, was sunk and cut off by Andrew Ryan to serve as a prison for the followers of Frank Fontaine, his competitor that is believed dead. At Fontaine’s, we look for Sally, fight through hordes of crazed Fontaine followers, find Sally, and… we remember.
Finally, we remember what happened after Bioshock Infinite. After all, Booker went by the name of Zachary Hale Comstock before and founded the floating city of Columbia. Because he had no children, he enlisted the Lutece twins to help him secure an infant named Anna from another version of DeWitt. That one, Anna, would later become Elizabeth but it turns out that she died and Comstock had the Lutece twins send him to Rapture where he lost his memories and reassumed his identity of Booker DeWitt. After realising all of that again and remembering, Booker/Comstock apologizes to Elizabeth and she kills him using a Big Daddy.
So, that was Chapter 1 essentially. It kind of explains the story of Bioshock Infinite, or rather the beginning, as Booker called Elizabeth Anna for whatever reason… and he later killed Comstock but at the end, Elizabeth showed him that he’s actually Comstock himself… Anyway!
Chapter 2, Elizabeth wakes from a nightmare of Paris in flames to find herself captured by Atlas (aka Frank Fontaine). She has these visions of Booker who instructs her how to talk to these guys and while she lost her omniscience, she still has Booker with her… who’s not really there but uh… Elizabeth effectively returned to a universe in Chapter 1 where she was killed which meant that all the other alternate versions of herself have collapsed, hence disabling her ability to open tears to other universes and removing her power to see through all tears. It’s a bit complicated but after thinking very hard about it, it kind of made sense to me. Anyway, Atlas threatens to kill Sally which is why Elizabeth agrees to help him get him and his followers back to the city. Elizabeth then has to find the “ace in the hole” that Suchong had developed for Fontaine and she finds out that Yi Suchong and Jeremiah Fink (from Columbia) had shared technology, co-developing the Big Daddies and the Songbird. Elizabeth uses a Lutece Device to go to Columbia and has the theory that by using one of the particles that keep Columbia afloat, she can make the Fontaine building float to the rest of the city as well.
She later returns, succeeds in raising the department store, and Atlas (being Atlas…) reneges on their deal, drugs Elizabeth, and attempts to find out about the ace in the hole. Elizabeth gets tortured. No, you can’t skip the scene. It fucking sucks. It’s gross and horrible and just leave the room for a while and do something else for a few minutes if you decide to play it yourself, lol.
Either way, Elizabeth goes to Suchong’s laboratory, finds out that the ace in the hole is an activation phrase (“would you kindly”) that Suchong implanted in Jack (Bioshock 1’s protagonist), the son of Ryan that Atlas has sent to the surface. Atlas orders his men to make arrangements for Jack to come to Rapture and then beats Elizabeth with a wrench. At last, before she dies, Elizabeth has a vision of the events to come: Jack comes to Rapture, kills Ryan and Atlas, and saves Sally as well as the other Little Sisters – aka the plot of Bioshock 1. After the credits, you then see a plane crashing, indicating the arrival of Jack in Rapture. Btw it was lovely to be reminded that Jack hijacked the plane after Atlas asked him to via “Would You Kindly”!
Essentially, Bioshock 1 kicked off the series obviously and I really loved it. Bioshock 2 felt a bit disconnected story-wise but Bioshock Infinite picked it back up again with another story that felt disconnected but eventually, thanks to a wonderful DLC, connected this “final” part to the beginning again, showing how Bioshock Infinite’s multiverse gets destroyed when Elizabeth returns to Rapture which then kicks off the events of Bioshock 1 and hence, the beginning of a new series… or rather the events happen again and it’s all a loop, I guess?
Sure, Bioshock Infinite isn’t the final part. It was a great trilogy and Bioshock 4 (project name’s “Parkside”) is in development right now but I’m honestly a bit concerned about it since Irrational Games closed down and since I’m not sure how to feel about some of the CIV guys working on Bioshock 4. Let’s hope it’s good!
But yeah, as far as gameplay goes, Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea was stellar! It was honestly just great to return to Rapture again and to experience the city before the fall. The plot of Chapter 2 really gave me closure and made me glad that I played the DLC. It’s honestly, a bit of a bummer that Bioshock Infinite dragged its feet at the end there but hey, at least it still looks amazing, still plays fantastically overall, and it still is a lot of fun, even though the game is rather old already at this point. What I especially loved in Burial at Sea was actually the atmosphere. Sure, the gameplay was great overall. You still had your plasmids and guns but the game felt a lot more threatening and oppressive again – something that was nearly completely amiss in Infinite. Especially when we got to play as Elizabeth with no friend on our side and with no immense weapon skills or plasmids to back us up, we had to rely more on our smarts and skills than on brawn and power.
The game was a lot scarier and actually quite a bit harder because of that and I often had to sneak around a lot more and hope that I found enough tranquillizers to get rid of enemies since Elizabeth’s aim isn’t the best. Enemies could only get knocked out when they weren’t aware of us. Our melee attack only pushed them away and didn’t actually kill them. Guns would spray often and would take ages to reload. The developers really did a great job at making this feel a lot more stealthy and tactical instead of enabling the player to “freeze, hit and run” enemies throughout the game.
Overall, Burial at Sea was a lot more mature and very much enjoyable. The newer graphics were great for the world of Rapture and gave me as a fanboy so much fanservice really. I love Rapture. I love it to bits. The world, the characters, and the view through the windows… It was stunning and amazing. My only issue with the DLC was probably that the world would at times feel a bit lifeless, although that’s hard to do better, in my opinion. At times you had these scripted characters standing around and chatting but you didn’t really feel like they were actual people or actual NPCs. Rather it felt robotic, fake and as if you’re walking through a mannequin warehouse…
But again, it’s a game. Does immersion exist? How could they have done a better job? Do we live in a simulation? We may ask those questions but I wouldn’t know how to fix the issues. Hence, I’ll just leave it at that and therefore, I’ll end my ramblings here. I love the Bioshock games. Have you played Burial at Sea as well or did you just leave it at Infinite? What were your impressions? Hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know! (Quick plug…) We’ll start Fallout 3 for the first time on Stream soon, so if you wanna see that, make sure to check out my Twitch channel!
This post is part of the Blaugust 2021 event. For more information on that, check out this post!