I might be a little late to the party here, but I recently finished the DLC to “Bioshock Infinite“, otherwise known as “Burial at Sea“, and boy, did it leave me for a whirl. I realize that now seems a strange time to be discussing DLC that released over a year ago, but I only got it recently, so bear with me, I’m catching up. Those two episodes were such a whirlwind of nostalgic and painful emotions that I was left in a trance for days after finishing it. As soon as I think I’ve moved on from the world of Columbia and Rapture, they suck me right back in again. So, was “Burial at Sea“ a successful add-on to the already confusing and immersive world of Rapture, solving the missing pieces to its complicated plot and completing our long strive for answers? Or was it a flop, completely straying from the path of the events of “Infinite“ and leaving the player more confused than ever? The answer is yes.
In terms of the actual gameplay, Burial at Sea doesn’t stray much from the rest of the series. Plasmids and Eves are back, since the game takes place in Rapture. The Sky-hook has been replaced with an Air-grabber, and some Plasmids have replaced the more popular ones, my personal favorite was the one that let Elizabeth sneak around and detect people. It was called Sir-Sneak-a-Lot-and-Peep-In-Ladies’-Dressing-Rooms or something, I can’t remember. The usual guns are back, with added ones such as crossbows for Elizabeth to use in less lethal ways. So not much has changed on that front. It’s a little jarring at first to have to adjust to new Plasmids in DLC rather than an actual, full-length game, but it kept the gameplay interesting and just a tad different from the original. Overall, I transitioned back into the mechanics of the “Bioshock“ universe quite smoothly.
The transition back into that universe worked with the characters, as well. I greeted Booker as an old friend…well, and old, drunk uncle, more like, but a friend. It was strange to see Elizabeth in her new Rapture get-up, but I did enjoy seeing her take charge. I especially enjoyed playing as her, and wish I could have a full “Bioshock” game with either her or a different female as the lead. Regardless, I was instantly sucked back into the world of both Columbia and Rapture. It was interesting to see the two worlds intertwine, especially when Elizabeth travels through Dr. Suchong’s lab and sees how he and Fink collaborated and traded technology, which nicely explained why the advancements of Columbia and Rapture were so similar. It was a nice way of tying the first two games and “Infinite” together. That was really all I wanted from this DLC. Unfortunately, not only did they decide to tie the two worlds together, they decided to, essentially, force the first “Bioshock” down my throat.
To be frank, “Bioshock” lacked in character. Jack was a faceless protagonist who did whatever you said with the help of a few magic words. Andrew Ryan was a creative antagonist, but showed up much less than he should have. Atlas was great until he betrayed everyone and became Fontaine. That’s about it. The story is okay, but it’s mostly about building the world of Rapture and, in part, preparing you for the immersive story and characters of “Bioshock 2″. I recognize most people do not share this opinion, so it makes sense if they don’t understand why I am so angry about what they chose to do with “Burial at Sea”, which was essentially to redeem where “Bioshock” lacked by forcing Elizabeth to do the dirty work for them.
Elizabeth is one of my favorite characters ever. She was the innocent girl locked in a tower, wanting to explore the world, dance in the streets, and be free. Oh, and she can also travel through multiple dimensions and kick some major butt when she has to, because she’s that kind of lady. She was a dimensional and complicated character, and I loved watching her grow throughout the events of “Infinite”. But then the ending of “Infinite” happened. She becomes an omniscient being who knows everything, she kills her only friend in the world, and throws aside her innocent presence to personally kill every other Comstock that remains in every single universe. The girl who only dreams of going to Paris is gone, although, might I say, the Paris scene was absolutely beautifully animated, and wonderfully creepy towards the end, replaced with a dark woman with an agenda and a means for revenge. You would think that would make her even more deep and interesting than before, but, to be honest, it made her flat. She was omniscient. She literally knew everything! That doesn’t make for an interesting character. Even when she loses those skills, she still spends all of her time lamenting about being “normal” again and how Booker is dead. There’s more to Elizabeth than that, and yet they decided her special use in the world should be to tie together the events of the original “Bioshock” by personally delivering the code of “Would you kindly?” to Atlas/Fontaine. Excuse me? Elizabeth is a fantastic character. I did not purchase this DLC to watch her fix the faults for some random guy named Jack. Instead of being an independent character, she is now an asset that died so some guy could maybe save the Little Sisters. Depending on how you played “Bioshock”, she could have died for nothing! In fact, she might have literally ruined those little girls lives by bringing Jack into the mix. I personally saved all of the Little Sisters, but regardless, I felt cheated by how it all ended. Elizabeth deserved better.
Regardless, I still enjoyed the overall playthrough of “Burial at Sea”. The graphics and music were both amazing, as always. The characters were immersive, even if Elizabeth became a little flat. The worlds of Rapture and Columbia were creatively intertwined, although to a fault once the end came around. In the end, I still wish there could have been a happier ending for Booker and Elizabeth/Anna, and I’m hoping another “Bioshock” game will be released in the universe of Columbia that will satisfy all the disappointed fans out there.