BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 1 Review: Why is it so darn good, but so darn short?
I have to preface this review with the following statement: I rarely buy DLC for games. I usually don’t like DLC because 1. It often takes place before the end of the game, which I’ve played and ruins continuity for me or 2. It just feels like an add-on and doesn’t add more to the game’s story than the game itself does. However, because this was BioShock and BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 1 promised a return to Rapture, I weighed the pros and cons and decided to purchase a season pass.
I’m starting out with the negative first: the first episode is not worth the money alone for that episode. It literally lasts no more than 2 hours. It’s short, even for someone like me who likes to wander in-game and collect every coin and item I can find, often even backtracking to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It’s like you blink and you’ve finished it. That’s unacceptable, but 2K has gone on the record that the second episode will be at least six hours long, so I’ll forgive them… but just this once.
With that being said, though, the DLC is good, and because of the brilliant way the original BioShock Infinite story was written, DLC can get away with just about anything. This is what happens when you throw in multiple universes into your story: you can have each new episode of DLC cover something different, and yet something familiar. As Elizabeth often says, it’s all about “constants and variables.” So with this episode, we finally return to Rapture, in yet another universe where Booker and Elizabeth exist. Past events are not quite the same (variables), but there are a lot of similarities (constants). Elizabeth arrives at Booker’s door, in Rapture (before the city failed), with him not knowing who she is (although he does remember), wanting him to track down a missing girl. The story is good and cleverly tied into what we’ve already seen in the actual game. Again, this is due to some clever writing on the game developer’s part.
Gameplay is as expected, but this is Rapture, so vigors are now once more called plasmids, but instead of salts (like in Infinite) or ADAM (like in the other BioShock games), they require EVE to be used. This felt like a very clever twist, leading me to believe that this Rapture is in a different universe from the other Rapture we’ve visited. There are also splicers to take down with familiar weapons (including my favorite, the tommy gun) and one solitary Big Daddy fight (which was disappointing).
The pay-off of the story comes at the end (which arrives too soon, as previously mentioned). I won’t give anything away, but it’s an awesome ending: I can’t imagine anyone not being like “Whoa” after seeing it. But is this piece of content worth the one-off price of $15? Definitely not. Is it worth getting the season pass then for $20? Maybe, but I’d say wait and see what reviews say about the second episode. I’m already all in, so I’ll let you know what my final verdict is.
Meanwhile, check out this teaser trailer for Episode 2: