In 2007 Irrational Games’ vision of Rapture provided one of the most engaging and haunting backdrops for a game in memory. Bioshock was born and a genre was changed forever as Bioshock combined an almost perfectly horrific narrative with suspense, frights and gameplay that just took a giant leap into the future.
A return trip in 2010 developed by 2K Marin (while Irrational Games were working on the then unannounced Bioshock: Infinite) felt more like a side story and didn’t add much new to the lore. Bioshock: Infinite was released earlier this year to well deserved high praise, with that, Irrational Games announced a two part DLC called Burial at Sea which would be set in Rapture the night before it’s fall.
Starting in the office of Booker DeWitt’s investigation business waking up at a knocking on his door we are introduced to a more femme fatal version of Elizabeth with a cigarette at hand and a more solum voice. She gives Booker the task to join her in searching for a little girl called Sally who Booker has some history with. Now anyone who has played Bioshock has probably wandered ”what was this city meant to be like?” In Bioshockwe only ever saw Rapture as a war torn leaky museum of death with audio diaries leaving hints to what it was like before the horror’s of the civil war. When the first trailer for this DLC dropped I myself was ecstatic like many others at the sheer chance of being able to walk around Rapture pre fall and boy does the first part of the DLC deliver on that. You travel through an immaculate part of Rapture booming with life, men and women chat about the current affairs in the city over drinks or enjoying the ocean view.
Rapture looks gorgeous with the improved graphical engine from Infinite, lighting is stronger, colours are more diverse and the city feels more open than it even did in the original. The long windows views of the none sky box city is eye catching, this is on the PlayStation 3 too so I can only imagine what the PC version could look like. You and Elizabeth travel through, entering shops, listening audio diaries and even watch Rapture themed kaleidoscope’s borrowed the main Infinite campaign. You are simply living in the world, a highlight moment being a waiter teleporting through a restaurant adding ice to peoples drinks using Plasminds, this shows the collected powers intended practical uses. A lot of time can be spent in this vast area, (which could be the price admittance alone for dedicated fans) before moving on to Elizabeth’s contact, the infamous Sander Cohen, a fan favourite villain who here has an equal memorable moment as his appearance in the original game.
Eventually you move onto a more familiar setting for regular visitors of Rapture. Set in a sunken Frank Fontaine department store, now a prison for his spliced up followers. Here you engage in familiar combat from Bioshockgoing up against small groups of enemies unlike the large amount in Infinite. Ammo is scares at first which requires well placed shots on enemies and good use of Plasmids which work the same as in Infinite. Also like the main title, rails to use Skyhooks to traverse through combat environments make their appearance, (with Rapturesqe suited names) while these are still fun to use they do feel slightly out of place in Rapture despite their somewhat decent reasoning. This includes Elizabeth’s ability to bring helpful stuff like ammo and turrets from other universes which she chocks up to simply being a new Plasmid out, but this isn’t enough to hurt the overall experience. Irrational have learnt a lot since 2007 and its nice to have the improved shooting and combat from Infinite in Rapture. You can however hold multiple weapons at once like the the original game including a new weapon that emits microwaves that can cause your enemies to explode which are cool additions.
The DLC clocks in at about two hours and is well paced out though I did want more as it felt so good to be back in Rapture. The story is pretty good, though it never goes anywhere interesting, the twist at the end while still surprising can be pieced together in bits throughout the game with the knowledge we know from Infinite. Part 1 of the DLC wraps up it’s story without a cliffhanger and has me intrigued to where Part 2 will go. The DLC is defiantly one for the fans of the original game like myself. You should defiantly play it after experiencing bothBioshock and Bioshock: Infinite to get the full enjoyment or you may miss on a lot of fan service which this reviewer much appreciated.
This DLC should be picked up by Bioshock fans simply to experience the pre fall Rapture environments, but with the improved combat and visuals along with a good story with great little moments on the journey makes this package an overall strong one, leaving me keen to play Part 2. Yes it is rather short but priced appropriately and is included in with the season pass deal. If your a Bioshock fan, do yourself a favour and pick this one up.