Since finishing BioShock Infinite and seeing a glimpse of Rapture at the end, I've longed wanted to go back to the city under the sea. The implied connections between Booker and Jack was certainly a surprise and I was pretty excited to hear that Irrational Games was going to produce two DLCs with Booker and Elizabeth in Rapture.
Burial at Sea Episode 1 starts out with Booker as a private investigator being hired by Elizabeth to find a girl named Sally. The reason for Elizabeth's interest in finding Sally is unknown as well as Sally's connection to you at first. Throughout the DLC, you'll visit both a "normal" Rapture and a splicer ridden, more familiar part of Rapture. Some familiar sights return such as the Little Sisters and the iconic Big Daddy. All becomes clear in the end of this short adventure through the city under the sea.
Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper return to voice the two memorable characters and they deliver again. The two actors help bring Booker and Elizabeth to life and their performance in Burial at Sea is one of the highlights of the DLC. Their relationship is a bit different in this one and their dialogue and tone does reflect this with both putting off a performance that's a nice contrast from BioShock Infinite. Hearing the two return is one of the highlights of Burial at Sea.
You'll get a small subset of weapons and plasmids to use, partly because the DLC is pretty short. From shooting a fireball, possessing a splicer, freezing water, shooting electricity, and throwing people in the air, the plasmids are pretty much the same vigors that are present in BioShock Infinite. Five weapons are available for Booker to fight with and you also have access to the sky hook. There are very few places you can glide around using the sky hook and connections in the areas that let you latch onto. Seeing as Rapture's a pretty close quarters area, there aren't many opportunies to use the sky hook to its full potential.
With Elizabeth in tow, there will be tears appearing throughout Rapture that Elizabeth can tap into to help you out. Although I don't know why in Burial at Sea she'd bring forth a samurai, things such as turrets, health kits, and ammo are there for you to use.
I enjoyed the first half of the DLC when walking through a vibrant Rapture. It's such a stark contrast to what the first BioShock puts you through. Seeing happy people enjoying the city that would soon fall from grace was a interesting sight to behold. Irrational Games's re-creation of Rapture in a new engine is an impressive sight to behold and you can tell the developers went into great lenghts to bring the world of Rapture into the current engine. The water effects are as impressive as they were in the first game and a little more so here with the Unreal Engine 3. Combat isn't even touched upon here as you're trying to find a mask to gain access to meeting an artist named Cohen, who can help lead you to Sally. It's the second half the game that disappoints though.
After crashing his party, Cohen tells you that Sally is hiding in the Housewares section of the sunken Fontaine Department Store. Yes, that Fontaine from BioShock. It's here you visit the fallen building and in there it reverts to the dilapited, crazy Splicer filled environment that you've come to know from the first two BioShocks. The DLC then consists of going to five locations, closing off some vents, and a final fight. Along the way, you'll have to take down Splicers weilding bats, guns, and freezing plasmids. Even though Splicers aren't new, they still give me the creeps and Irrational Games did a wonderful job bringing them back in this DLC. The designers also did a great job on various areas of Fontaine's where there some truly creepy visuals.
Luckily, you don't encounter a lot of enemies along the way as there is still a lack of ammo and the inability to carry much ammo makes some of these fights harder than they should be. Also, there aren't too many eve bottles to help recharge during a fight and there isn't that much money around either to make upgrade purchases. Thankfully, a death doesn't set you too far back from where you perish, only costing you some cash as Elizabeth brings you back to life as opposed to the resurrection booths from the first game.
The DLC is short, I mean way short. You can probably finish in an hour, but most likely two with some exploration. For $14.99, it does seem a bit expensive for what you get. You might as well spend the extra $5 to get the season pass and get the other DLCs available and in the future. The missions are pretty basic and it boils down to combat with little puzzle solving halfway through the DLC. While the Rapture looks impressive, the sense of wonderment and awe doesn't last too long and just as you start to get into the DLC, the entire thing ends with another attempt at a twist ending that isn't too much of a surprise if you finished the main game.
Returning to Rapture with Burial at Sea Episode 1 does have its moments. Maybe I had such high hopes having the company revisit one of their best games. Maybe my expectations were too high. In the end, Burial at Sea starts out with a lot of promise and ends with a little bit of a disappointment in the story and length of the DLC.
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