BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two
Sky-high ambition. Incredible visual design and attention to detail. Promise it couldn't possibly live up to. Shortcuts. Pride. A fall.
Burial at Sea: Episode 2 is a perfect send-off for a franchise that defined a generation of console shooters. It isn't without its faults, but the new stealth gameplay is a welcome re-purposing of the tried and true BioShock mechanics. More importantly, Episode 2 is a marvel of storytelling: a careful navigation of the existing BioShock universe that provides new insights into a narrative that was already rich with detail. Finally, against all odds, Irrational stuck the landing, bringing everything full circle as only they could. Needless to say, this is a must-play for fans of BioShock.
BioShock Infinite adapts to stealth with surprising ease, and the art design is as spectacular as ever. Irrational's final release may somewhat lose the plot, but if you've been on board this long you can likely tolerate the incredible leaps of faith it demands.
In the end, Burial at Sea finishes on a much stronger, series-apt note than the one it began on, and it's impressive how Irrational Games drops curtains on its universe with something truly unexpected but wholly fitting. With so many extravagant worlds existing behind an infinite number of doors, you might feel sad that you only experienced two of them. It's credit to Irrational Games, then, that by the end the two is all we needed.
BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea Episode 2, for the most part, is a fitting end to the entire series. It brings everything full circle and connects the first game with the third game. Playing as Elizabeth, you're forced to be more patient in going through the game as well as using some different techniques than if you were playing as Booker. The game crashes were certainly far more than what I've experienced in the past. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes confusing, Episode 2, while not the crowing achievement for Irrational Games' last effort, was a good end and a better DLC than Episode 1.
While Episode 1 doesn't manage to live up the heights of the previous Bioshock games, Episode 2 closes the book on the series that not only extends the world of Bioshock, but also creates the sweetest farewell to a beloved franchise.
While not everyone will be satisfied with the ending, most of our questions end up being answered in one way or another. Of course, this leads to some other questions, but the BioShock saga, at least the one that involves the cities of Rapture and Columbia, is laid to rest at the bottom of the sea. But who knows? With all of this talk about constants and variables, we may yet see another lighthouse, another man and another city.
Boasting a new focus on stealthy gameplay and a fascinating (if convoluted) conclusion, Burial At Sea - Episode 2 ties the BioShock series together in ways both surprising and confusing.
Burial at Sea was a little over excited to return to Rapture, donning a film noir trilby that soon fell off to reveal clunky set piece combover, but Part Two is far more comfortable in its own skin. It integrates the fighty and the talky enough to make Rapture feel a more dangerous and believable place, discards the impenetrable conceits with which the first DLC began, and brings an almost seven year old series full circle and to a satisfying end. What a wonderful trick, and a fitting note for one of PC gaming's best loved studios (as we know them, at least) to bow out on.
The lengths to which Burial at Sea: Episode 2 goes to distance its gameplay from BioShock Infinite's blueprint is outmatched by the indulgent spectacle of its writhing narrative - a risk not fully conscious of its consequences. Through success, failure, and to simply admire the sunset of a generation, the conclusion of Burial at Sea remains a worthwhile experience.