Game Review: BioShock Infinite – Burial at Sea Episode 2

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WARNING: This review contains massive spoilers. You have been warned.

For those who’ve kept up with the BioShock universe, every installment is a vicious cycle of character torment. And now, the series comes full circle! The last chapter in the wibbly-wobbly series of BioShock is finished. The gaps have (for the most part) been filled and the two settings have truly united. And now, we’re making our final stops to Columbia and Rapture. The party may be over, but let’s take one final journey below the sea! This time, we navigate Rapture as Elizabeth during the prologue of the Rapture Civil War.

When we enter episode two, Elizabeth has a nice dream about Paris…  But, she wakes up and we pick up from moments after the first episode; Elizabeth killed the rogue-Comstock and was promptly knocked out by Big Daddy… or something?  No matter, Elizabeth’s discovered by Atlas and his “revolutionaries” (or whatever you wish to call them.)  Ghost-Booker pops up (from her mind) and tells her that there’s a way she can help ol’ Frankie so she can reunite with the Little Sister she used as bait for Comstock in the first place.  However, she died in this universe too and lost her powers as a result!  And so, we comb through the ruined Fontaine Shopping Mall and eventually bump into racist caricature and total asshole, Yi Suchong (well… kinda.)  As Episode 1 stated, Suchong and Fink have been stealing from each other… right down to a Lutece device!  But, the thing’s busted…  so after some quick fixing, it’s off to Fink’s Factory for Elizabeth!  She nabs a spare Lutece floaty thingamajig , rushes to the top point of the store, and gives Atlas exactly what he wanted.  But, since ol’ Frankie’s a double crossing shit (and I assume you’ve played the first game), they want to know Suchong’s Ace in the Hole now.  Upon hopping to his office, Suchong’s too busy figuring out why a big daddy won’t bond with a little sister.  Elizabeth comes to the rescue and fixes things up.  The result?  An explanation of Suchong’s death!  That’s right player, you get to witness the events of that one audio diary!  Once you retrieve the Ace in the Hole, Atlas breaks character for a moment as he wants to know what it means!  As he brutally beats Elizabeth, she begins to break further and further.  Eventually, she gives up and reveals it’s… “WOULD YOU KINDLY” *cue events leading up to the first game*  Fontaine and da boiz head out in celebration, leaving Elizabeth dying with Sally, the Little Sister.

First off, the story did a lot more for me than Episode 1 did.  Granted, Episode 1 was trying too hard to be a BioShock prologue in Infinite trappings.  This one was sort of the same deal, but managed it a lot better.   Because you know the first game, you have a sense of dread brought upon by Atlas.  And every now and then, he even checks up on you…  And since you’re not Jack, he goes out of his way to intimidate you throughout the game.  Even when Andrew Ryan tells you to back off, you know you’re stuck in a position akin to Jack.  That said, I wasn’t too keen on some aspects of the story. 

While it was really cool to play as Elizabeth, let alone a female protagonist in a BioShock game, the direction they went with her just didn’t feel that satisfying.  For one, it felt like they tried to force suspense by saying, “Look!  Elizabeth’s powers are gone!  Muhahahaha!”  Such things give me nightmarish flashbacks to AD&D’s Paladin; where if you slip up one too many times, your divine powers are gone and you’re nothing more than a shitty version of the Fighter class!  Maybe it’s just that since the release of Infinite, many have asked for a game where you’re Elizabeth.  However, that also means being able to explore her powers.  Sure, such an approach would have to very linear to work, but whatever. 

And while Episode 1 gave you a pretty decent taste of pre-War Rapture, Episode 2 didn’t really give you any of Civil War Rapture!  You get a small snippet here and there from Atlas’ perspective, but that’s pretty much it!  I wanted to see shit go down at the Kashmir Restaurant, among other horrible things.  It could be argued that BioShock 2’s multiplayer gave more in that regard.  At least they implied that with Ryan’s Splicers being as disturbed as Atlas’.  Hell, Ryan’s might have been more frightening!

But, I’m more than willing to forgive with all the nostalgic throwbacks spread throughout.  For example, raiding Suchong’s Clinic was an awesome experience!  When you got to see him record his last audio log while bullying a little sister, you were waiting for the Daddy to seal his fate.  Plus, Fontaine’s secret room was wonderful!  A book on accents, an Atlas wig, a makeup kit, and more got a good chuckle out of me!  Fontaine even had a stereotypical Chinese wardrobe (a nod towards his big reveal speech, no doubt!)  Plus, seeing yourself in Columbia was bizarre and fascinating that, let alone seeing Booker Dewitt from Elizabeth’s perspective.  The Columbia level wasn’t what I had in mind for Ep. 2 (even though I called it the moment I saw the trailer), but I’m still satisfied none the less.

I can’t end discussion on episode two without the “new mechanics” introduced in this DLC.  The stealth and non-lethal combat were a blast to play through!  Nothing instills more dread than being busted by a crazy splicer!  Sure, you can always shoot them down (if you have the bullets), but it’s much more fun to sneak around and knock them out instead.  The unlockable “1998” mode encourages it!  And as the name suggests, makes the game feel like the “Thief” games.  (Well, pre awful reboot.)

With that, BioShock is officially buried at sea.  It was good and this was an all around satisfying end to one of my favorite series of all time.  Remember, splice wisely!

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 gets 8 Mutant Sea Slugs out of 10!  Somewhere beyond the sea; she’s there watching for me

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