A return to Rapture. To say much more would be too much if you’re heavily invested in the lore. Episode 1 has you playing as Booker, transplanting the skyrails and ‘summon cover’ mechanics of Infinite straight into a pre-fall Rapture. And as with the opening chapter of Infinite, you’ll be pleased to get an opportunity to wander around Rapture in it’s heyday, just before the civil war between Atlas and Ryan breaks out.
Booker the detective is investigating the case of a missing girl and your first lead is a local artist called Sander Cohen. It was ok, good even, though it seemed quite short and involved child cruelty. A confusing ending to the first part, Episode 2 on the other hand is quite a different beast. You now play as Elizabeth sans powers. She’s no match for splicers head on and has to rely on stealth to take them down and get about. A new plasmid, sorry “vigour”, called Peeping Tom is your best friend as it allows you to both see through walls and turn invisible.
Also introduced is the Ironsides vigour. This collects bullets like a Titanfall vortex shield and is reminiscent of a power shown in the early Bioshock Infinite reveals, that never made it into the game proper; and whilst shotguns and hand cannons abound, there are far more non lethal ways of dispatching enemies with a Thief like crossbow complete with a variety of darts. The story ties up plenty of loose ends, has some smashing secrets to uncover in the odd hidden side mission, and explains many of the motivations behind the characters from both worlds.
Overall though, it doesn’t shift away from the core game – you will enter an area, clear it of enemies, then rifle through their pockets looking for cash and bullets. Scavenge for sandwiches in bins and steal every coin, wallet or purse that other people have carelessly left lying about. A bit of plot exposition and then onto the next area to rinse and repeat on towards the games tidy conclusion. Combat can be tricky in cramped spaces, but the larger hub areas have many vantage points where you can hang from your skyhook and then drop onto enemies, or hidden ventilation shafts for you to crawl through to secret areas and evade splicers.
I think it’s a reasonably well established fact that Infinite is an inferior sequel to the original Bioshock in many ways and Burial at Sea isn’t going to change that but it does seek to link the two games more closely together, as was more than hinted at Infinite’s conclusion. For me, the Bioshock 2 DLC Minerva’s Den served as a better sequel to the original game, before the whole parallel world/ multiverse thing became a thing. Who knows what it means for the future of the franchise? With the Bioshock license still with 2K Games I doubt we’ve seen the last of it. With Irrational Games and Ken Levine gone for good, what could 2K still do? A space city? One that hovers above the land like that stupid University in Final Fantasy VIII? It seems like a dumb idea just thinking about it.