At first glance, Burial at Sea seems like a complete revisit to the days of Bioshock 1, but after taking a closer look, you’ll see that it is simply Bioshock: Infinite with a fresh coat of paint.
Just like in the original Bioshock and Bioshock: Infinite, Irrational games crafts a gripping story for Burial at Sea seemingly out of thin air, and finishes it off with an ending deserving of the Bioshock name. Many elements from both games shine through in Burial at Sea, such as the vigors from Infinite and the splicers from the original Bioshock. The blending of elements from the two titles creates a nostalgic feel, yet remains feeling new at the same time.
Character design has been picked over with a fine-toothed comb in the return to Rapture as well. Elizabeth and Booker feel lifelike as ever, and the other characters you encounter on your adventure are multi-dimensional, accessible, and entertaining as well. Where other games might substitute mannequin-like figurines for characters, Burial at Sea superbly sells the characters to the player as easily as a professional broadway play. Walking around pre-fall Rapture and simply listening to conversations between various NPCs will give you insight into the politics and inner-workings of Rapture like nothing has before. These in-game characters, or, dare I say, people bring Rapture to life in a way that no amount of level design can.
It is difficult to properly review the story of Burial at Sea without spoiling any particular part of it, but there’s one thing that everyone purchasing this add-on should know: the Burial at Sea story is short. VERY short. In my first play through, I explored every nook and cranny, and still completed the story within 4 hours. While playing, it’s easy to forget that you’re playing DLC and not a full title, but as soon as the game ends you’re reminded quite suddenly that the ride feels over before it even began. That being said, the story is brilliantly written, and should be enjoyable for anyone who’s been a fan of Bioshock in the past.
Burial at Sea is a must-buy for any true fan of the Bioshock series. It may only grant a couple hours of entertainment for the first play through, but you’ll likely find yourself playing through several times over. The story is gripping, the gameplay is tight, and the overall design of this Bioshock Infinite add-on stands well on its own. Those who aren’t huge fans of the series may want to wait for a sale to pick up this DLC, because it’s not worth 1/4 of a full retail game to someone who only has played Bioshock on the side. However, if you’re willing, spend the $15, and dive back into Rapture. You won’t regret it.