BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea

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BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea
BioShock Burial at Sea.jpg
Developer(s) Irrational Games
Publisher(s) 2K Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Director(s) Ken Levine
Designer(s) Andres Elias Gonzalez Tahhan
Writer(s) Ken Levine
Drew Holmes
Composer(s) Garry Schyman
Jim Bonney
Series BioShock
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) Linux
Microsoft Windows
OS X
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) Episode One
November 12, 2013
Episode Two
March 25, 2014
Physical release (as part of BioShock Infinite: Complete Edition)
November 4, 2014
Genre(s) First-person shooter, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is an episodic expansion to the first-person shooter video game BioShock Infinite, and a prequel to the original BioShock. It was developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games. It is available on Linux, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and OS X. Burial at Sea consists of two episodes. Episode 1 was released worldwide via download-only on November 12, 2013, and Episode 2 was released on March 25, 2014.[1] A retail version for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was released on November 4, 2014 as part of BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition.

Burial at Sea is set after the events of BioShock Infinite, which spanned several alternate realities and was themed on the nature of choice. Whereas Infinite took place aboard Columbia, the floating air city set in 1912, Burial at Sea takes place in an alternate reality within the underwater city of Rapture, a year before the events of the first BioShock game (which is set in 1960). The game features Booker DeWitt as a private detective, and Elizabeth as a femme fatale who employs Booker's services.

Gameplay[edit]

Like BioShock Infinite, Burial at Sea is a first-person shooter with role-playing elements. Using a mixture of the limited spaces of Rapture in BioShock and BioShock 2 with the expanded environment of Columbia from BioShock Infinite allows for more dynamic combat challenges. Returning from BioShock and BioShock 2, the player may carry more than two weapons at a time,[2] and can collect other weapons and ammunition either from defeated enemies or from random locations around the city.[3] Returning from Infinite is the regenerating shield, while health can be replenished with medical kits or food.[4] Plasmids and Eve replace Vigors and Salts from Infinite. Plasmids grant activated powers such as creating shockwaves, releasing bolts of electricity, and machine/human possession. Plasmids require Eve, the equivalent of magic points for powering their abilities.

"There were some Columbia ideas we kicked around, but I think we also got to the point where we felt like that was the story that we had just told. We had told it to the extent we wanted to tell it. But I had this image in my head of this moment in this detective's office, Booker’s office. Elizabeth walking in dressed like Veronica Lake. And I just fixated on that." — Ken Levine[5]

The player can traverse Rapture both on foot and by riding a pneumo-line, a roller coaster-like rail system similar to the Skyline from Columbia. The player rides the pneumo-lines via a wrist-mounted tool called an Air-Grabber, which the player and enemies use to jump to/from and hang onto the self-powered tracks. Players can jump onto, off of, and between pneumo-line tracks at any time, and may face enemies that use the system to attack; the player can use one-handed weapons in Booker's free hand while using the pneumo-line. Freedom of movement along the pneumo-line allows for several varieties of combat, including flanking, cover, and area-of-effect attacks through creative uses of the system. Throughout episode one, the player does not directly control Elizabeth, but instead she scavenges the area for supplies such as ammunition, medical kits, Eve, and other items, and tosses them to Booker as needed. She can also use her Tear-opening powers to aid the player, bringing in weapons, health, Eve, assistance in the form of Samurai warriors, and automated defense units. Only one Tear can be opened at a time, forcing the player to decide between the available options to suit the battle.

Episode Two includes a "1998 Mode" in which the player is challenged to complete the episode using only stealth and non-lethal methods of defeating enemies. The mode is a callback to Thief: The Dark Project released in 1998 by Looking Glass Studios, the predecessor to Irrational Games, and is compared to the main game's "1999 Mode", itself named in reference to the release year of Irrational's System Shock 2.[6]

Plot[edit]

The events of Burial at Sea connect many of the themes and characters from the original BioShock game and the BioShock Infinite sequel.

Episode One[edit]

Burial at Sea begins in a reality where Booker Dewitt (Troy Baker) is a private investigator in Rapture. On the eve of the Rapture civil war, Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper) asks him to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Sally. Though Booker fears that Sally may have been made into a Little Sister, Elizabeth believes Sally to be alive and that the artist Sander Cohen (T. Ryder Smith) may have information regarding her whereabouts. Cohen makes them dance as part of a performance piece, but disappointed with their act, knocks them both unconscious. They wake up in a bathysphere descending towards the Fontaine Department Store building, previously sunk by Andrew Ryan (Armin Shimerman) to serve as a prison for Atlas, the leader of the underclass uprising and, unknown to the other characters, is really Frank Fontaine, Ryan's political rival.

Within the building, the two deal with Atlas' men that scavenge through the stores, and find Sally crawling within the ventilation system. They devise a plan to close all but one vent, then raise the air temperature to force Sally to the last open vent so they can grab her. When Booker attempts to pull her out, he discovers she has become a Little Sister and refuses to answer his call. Sally calls upon a Big Daddy, which then proceeds to attack Booker and Elizabeth. They fight off the Big Daddy, and Booker goes to grab Sally again. He suddenly has a flashback to events he had previously forgotten, in that he had accepted his baptism and became Columbia's founder Comstock. With the help of Robert and Rosalind Lutece (Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale) they had attempted to steal the infant Anne (who would grow up to be Elizabeth) from an alternate version of Booker, but in this situation, Anne was killed when the portal closer around her despite Comstock's efforts to pull her free. Comstock was shamed by the loss and asked the Lutece twins to wipe his memories and place him in a dimension where Columbia did not exist; this resulted in his identity of Booker within Rapture.

As Booker realizes what he has done, he furiously apologies to Elizabeth, but she does not accept this. As they argue, Booker is impaled from behind by the Big Daddy.

Episode Two[edit]

The second episode takes place from Elizabeth's point-of-view. She wakes up from a nightmarish vision of Paris and Sally in flames to find herself and Sally captured by Atlas (Karl Hanover). Atlas prepares to kill her, but a vision of Booker appears, instructing her to say that she knows where to find Dr. Suchong (James Yaegashi), a doctor working under Ryan but secretly assisting Fontaine. Atlas lets her go, taking Sally as a hostage.

While exploring the store, Elizabeth finds her body impaled on a Big Daddy drill, and realizes she had been killed at the same time as Booker; she still exists as her other alternate selves have collapsed into a single body and lacking her ability to use Tears, a result of her deal with the Luteces to bring her to Rapture. She explains to the vision of Booker that she had seen visions of how to end the cycle of violence by coming to Rapture. The vision, in turn, tells Elizabeth that Suchong is in Rapture, and she must find a way to get there.

She learns of a secret lab that Suchong kept in Fontaine's store where a portal to Columbia can be opened. Elizabeth hypothesizes that by acquiring Lutece particles that keep the air city afloat, she can use them to lift the building off the sea floor and back to Rapture's depth. She arrives in Columbia in the midst of the Vox Populi revolution, and discovers that Suchong and Jeramiah Fink (Bill Lobley) had cooperated in sharing technology between the two periods, co-developing the Big Daddies and Songbird; she also learns that the Luteces' had a role in prompting the Vox Populi leader Daisy Fitzroy (Kimberly Brooks) into actions that previously caused Elizabeth to use her powers to kill her. On return to the Fontaine building, Elizabeth finds herself assaulted by Ryan's men, believing her working for Atlas. She escapes and makes it to the top of the building, releasing the particles. The building starts to lift, but Atlas appears and knocks her out. She awakes, finding that she is being injected with truth serum by Atlas to learn where Suchong is. She is given an overdose of the drug and falls unconscious for two weeks.

When she wakes, Atlas has launched an all-out war against Ryan. Atlas is now desperate to locate Suchong as the doctor has his "ace in the hole" to be used against Ryan. When Atlas threatens Sally, Elizabeth has a momentary vision and reports Suchong is in his clinic guarded by Ryan's security systems that are keyed to repel Atlas and his men by their DNA. Atlas sends Elizabeth in to retrieve Suchong. In the clinic, Elizabeth finds the doctor as he harms two Little Sisters, causing a Big Daddy to appear and kill him. Fearing the "ace in the hole" lost, she finds a piece of paper with a coded message, has another vision, and realizes she has found the ace. She returns the paper to Atlas, and decodes the message for him: "Would you kindly?" Atlas realizes this is the trigger phrase that Suchong has implanted in Jack, the illegitimate son of Ryan that Atlas has sent to the surface to keep out of Ryan's hands until the right time (and the player-protagonist from the first game). Atlas orders his men to make arrangements for Jack to come to Rapture, and then delivers a fatal blow to Elizabeth, leaving her alone with Sally. As Elizabeth dies, she has a final vision of the events at the end of BioShock, where Sally and other Little Sisters are saved by Jack, the future that she came to Rapture to ensure would happen, and holds Sally's hand as she dies.

Development[edit]

The in-game setting of Rapture is nearly completely rebuilt with very little reuse of BioShock assets. The gameplay for the content was altered to fit the setting and feel of Rapture compared to the larger battles of Infinite.[7] The added content includes new weapons, gear, and Plasmids (the Rapture equivalent of Vigors), as well as bringing back the mechanic of the "weapons wheel," used in the first two BioShock games, where players can swap between more than two weapons at their disposal.[8] One of the Plasmids is Old Man Winter that freezes and shatters enemies. The concept was created by Joe Trinder, a fan and graphic designer, shortly after the reveal of Infinite. The concept art, mimicking other in-game posters for Vigors, caught the attention of Levine, who decided to incorporate the concept within the Burial at Sea content with Trinder's help. The artwork was redesigned to match the Rapture setting, but further influenced one section of the content where a portion of the city has been converted into a winter wonderland where the Plasmid will be found.[9]

In the second episode, Elizabeth becomes the player character. Being more of a thoughtful character than Booker, her gameplay focuses more on strategy and avoidance of direct combat, more like a survival horror or stealth game. It was important that Elizabeth did not feel simply like Booker "in a dress". Amanda Jeffrey noted that Elizabeth was the main character of Infinite and Rapture the main character of the first game, and so "Burial" involved "our two leading ladies playing opposite each other". No longer being recently out of the tower, Elizabeth's character is slightly different in "Burial", being "older, wiser and more confident". Lead animator Shawn Robertson felt that Elizabeth's presence helped tie Rapture with Infinite.

In February 2014, while promoting Burial at Sea: Episode Two, series director Ken Levine stated that the Burial at Sea will leave fans "walk[ing] away pretty satisfied with feeling a sense of completeness", with Courtnee Draper (voice of Elizabeth) calling it "the wrap-up for the whole BioShock series".[10] Shortly after, Levine revealed that Burial at Sea would be Irrational Games' last game in the BioShock series, leaving the intellectual property in the hands of 2K Games, should they like to continue the franchise with another developer.[11]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of March 27, 2014.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Episode One 68.52% (PC)[12]
78.60% (PS3)[13]
68.00% (X360)[14]
70/100 (PC)[15]
76/100 (PS3)[16]
68/100 (X360)[17]
Episode Two 84.00% (PC)[18]
83% (PS3)[19]
80.00% (X360)[20]
84/100 (PC)[21]
83/100 (PS3)[22]
85/100 (X360)[23]

The first episode received mixed to positive reviews. Its PC version holds an overall 70 score on Metacritic,[15] as well as a 68.52% on GamesRankings.[12] GameZone's Josh Wirtanen described the game as "dark, disturbing, and laced with political and philosophical irony."[24]

The second episode received more positive reviews than its predecessor. Its PC version holds an overall 84 score on Metacritic, as well as a 84.00% on GamesRankings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Savage, Phil (2014-02-05). "Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 2 release date announced". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  2. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 7
  3. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 17
  4. ^ Irrational Games, ed. (2013), pp. 2
  5. ^ Andrew Goldfarb (2013-08-07). "How Playing as Elizabeth Changes BioShock Infinite". IGN. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  6. ^ McWhertor, Michael (2014-02-27). "BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Episode 2 adds Thief-inspired '1998 Mode'". Polygon. Retrieved 2014-02-27. 
  7. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2013-07-30). "Ken Levine talks BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  8. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (2013-10-09). "BioShock Infinite's DLC brings back the classic weapon wheel". Polygon. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  9. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (2013-10-16). "The Story Behind BioShock Infinite’s Old Man Winter Plasmid". IGN. Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  10. ^ "BioShock Infinite Burial At Sea Episode Two - Behind The Scenes Trailer". IGN.
  11. ^ "BioShock Creator Ken Levine ‘Winding Down Irrational Games as You Know It’"
  12. ^ a b "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  13. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  14. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  15. ^ a b "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  16. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (PlayStation 3)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  17. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One (Xbox 360)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  18. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  19. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PlayStation 3)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  20. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (Xbox 360)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  21. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  22. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (PlayStation 3)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  23. ^ "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two (Xbox 360)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-03-25. 
  24. ^ Wirtanen, Josh (13 November 2013). "BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1 needs more Humphrey Bogart". GameZone. GameZone. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 

External links[edit]