Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Video Game Assessment: Bioshock Infinite DLC: Burial at Sea Episode 1

I love Bioshock Infinite but did not like Bioshock very much. So, what happens when both games are combined together for a DLC? Well... *EXPLOSION*


I've heard a bunch of stuff about this DLC. And it all seems rather overblown. People get upset over the dumbest things, something I can and will never understand. DLC comes in all different shapes and sizes. You can pay money for horse armor, story DLC, or just a bunch of enemies that you can shoot a bit. That's the nature of DLC, you never know exactly what you'll get, and many times you get something you might not expect. I don't see how people can be disappointed about a DLC, ripping it apart and hating it for no other reasons than it's DLC. And this DLC in particular, which by its nature is very much apart from its mother game. I understand that the practice of DLC and expansions is a slippery slope and something that can easily take advantage of the consumer, but if it's a fair DLC, it should be extra to the main game, something superfluous for the enjoyment of the core game, but also something that will add more to those who are willing to spend some money to buy it. And this DLC fits that definition pretty solidly.

I'm going to be a bit disjointed in my little conversation here about this DLC. I'm under the impression that most people think it is disappointing, upsetting, mediocre, or bad, and that's just plain idiotic. Okay, maybe I shouldn't be so harsh because the internet is so full of people being overblown about any and every issue, and I'm just confused by the backlash at this point. It's disheartening to me that people can't just enjoy a thing that's a good time for a while. They have to hate it just to hate it, point to it and say, "I don't want." But, I want it quite a bit and enjoyed it even more than that/

The story is simple: It takes place after the main game, some years after it more than likely. Elizabeth is offering Booker (from Rapture this time, Rapture-Booker) a chance to find his "girl," Sally, a young girl who he has taken charge of somehow for some reason. That's about it. The story is all about the two of them trying to find this girl and going to a city at the bottom of the ocean to do it.

I liked the DLC. The first episode of Burial at Sea was a superb success, blending the horror elements of Bioshock with the incredible writing and characters of Infinite. While not everything in the story made absolute sense to me, specifically the ending, the game itself was a really good time. I had fun playing it all over again, going back to Rapture and meeting back up with Elizabeth who is absolutely the headline of this game and well worth the price alone.

The combat is perfectly acceptable, but probably a bit on the difficult side with the absence of a great deal of ammo or EVE for restocking. I found myself playing with a very heavily melee game which made it that much more satisfying when I won. (I did much the same thing in the core game though. I can't get enough of the melee combat. It's satisfying.) The fights are pretty good, but nothing all that different from either of the other games. Combat is not why I'm playing the game, so I'm not sure how much more I can really say about it. It's perfectly fine, and I had fun. What more is there to say? Then again I like just about any kind of combat in games, as long as it works, I don't really care.

The music was great. Elizabeth and the new Booker are also quite good to see again. As a big spoiler I didn't quite get why Elizabeth wanted to lead Booker all the way to Sally to kill him. That didn't make much sense to me. If he were going to die anyway, why not have him die when she first met him? Why lead him along so long? Just so he can prove his ill intent by trying to grab Sally? Not sure if I buy that so much. But maybe she needed to know what kind of Booker he truly was. I'm not sure.

Seeing the Luteces again was also fun, but there is a frustration with the story the way it is. Booker is suddenly Comstock (yes, they're the same character, but they're also treated as different characters, aren't they?) and has his memories, and there is an insistence that he is a bad man and is running from something? I don't even know. It's very odd, and my answers are few and far between. The ending was the only thing that really took away from my experience and mostly because I didn't understand it or Elizabeth's motives. Is she killing all the Bookers/Comstocks? Is she searching out a very specific one who somehow found himself in another world? Again, why wait so long to kill him or grievously harm him? I don't get that. Did she not know he was Comstock until his reaction?

Man, while confusing, the lead-up to the end is very compelling, showing flashes to Booker/Comstock's former life at very inopportune times. It added some mystique and some actual creepiness to the plot. I enjoyed that quite a bit. It meant something to me, and while I don't understand it now, I assume the next part will clear some things up, but maybe not. And if it doesn't then that's fine too, just keep giving me a compelling reason to keep following the story.

It seems like everybody is down on the world of Infinite, something I neither understand or agree with. This is the best game I've played in years and the DLC is also very good for a follow-up to that. It's simple and probably a little slow, but I loved playing it and feel the desire to go back and play the main game and the DLC all over again. So, it was a success to me.

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