WARNING: Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Episode 2 contains major story spoilers for Bioshock 1, Bioshock Infinite, and Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Episode 1. If you are planning to play any of these games at some point and don’t want anything in the story spoiled I would strongly recommend not reading this review.
Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 is the last of the DLC to Bioshock Infinite and seeks to wrap up Irrational’s work on the series as a whole. The episode starts off as just a answer to the questions left to us at the end of Burial at Sea Episode 1, but it changes and evolves to answer questions we still might have had about the original game and even gives us more insight into the world of Rapture 7 years after the original game.
Episode 2 starts off where Episode 1 left off, but it takes a bit to get there as it starts off with Elizabeth enjoying her time in what seems to be Paris. You get to walk through what seems to be Paris enjoying the sights all the while everyone seems to know Elizabeth’s name. You keep going seeing in the sights and really enjoying the atmosphere, something Irrational has always done exceptionally well, until you meet a little girl with a balloon. That girl turns out to be Sally and through the next few scenery changes and environmental ques you find out that Elizabeth deeply feels guilty for putting Sally in the position she was in at the end of episode 1.
This whole sequence blurs out and starts us with Elizabeth regaining consciousness next to the dead Booker/Comstock from last time and Atlas and his thugs hovering over her and stealing Sally from the vent you saw her in last. Through some quick negotiations with Atlas through some kind of ghost of the Booker we know, Elizabeth convinces Atlas that she can raise the department store where they are all trapped, in exchange of course for Sally.
Playing as Elizabeth is a lot different than playing as Booker and it becomes apparent right away. Elizabeth simply isn’t an experienced veteran soldier like Booker was and because of this she has a lot less health. Elizabeth doesn’t have the ability to open tears this time around and they do explain this in the story it makes her extremely vulnerable to even normal splicers. Stealth is the name of the game this time around, your main weapon in this DLC is a crossbow that fires arrows that inject enemies with a knock out agent. You also get knock out gas arrows that can knock out multiple enemies and alarm arrows that can be used to disract enemies towards them so you can sneak by. Plasmids focus on stealth as well with the big new plasmid called Peeping Tom being all about locating enemies through walls as well as making yourself invisible so you can sneak past them or behind them. There is also a new vigor called Ironsides that you get that lets you make a shield that absorbs bullets and gives you ammo but this barely becomes useful because it eats your eve away and the only ammo you want is more crossbow shots. The two returning plasmids/vigors are Possession and Old Man Winter but since they are both based on combat and you spend most of the episode trying to avoid direct combat I never used anything but Peeping Tom. This doesn’t mean that Elizabeth is all but defenseless from enemies however, if she is caught you have access to the hand cannon and the shotgun as well as the Radar Range from last episode. But because her health is so low you probably want to avoid confrontation most of the time.
While the stealth gameplay is a new change of pace it does have a few noticeable problems. There were times where I would literally walk up to splicers straight in front of them and be able to knock them out without them being alert to my presence. I even had an instance where I managed to sneak up behind a teleporting splicer and clicked to knock him out and then got teleported across the room because he ported during the animation. Unfortunately the games combat system just wasn’t built for full stealth and I found it got woefully boring sneaking around after a while. It helped add tension and risk but didn’t really add anything to the experience or what the developers would teasing playing Elizabeth would be like. I understand why they did what they did to fit the narrative but I wished they had given us the option to play as Elizabeth with her full tear opening power as the stealth gameplay really wore on me as I reached the end.
Coming back to the city of Rapture again after playing in it some many times before, you think I would be tired of the atmosphere. But somehow Rapture always seems to make me awe at the scenery. The city never seems to lose its charm as there always seems to be more to look at and more to explore. Every time I come back I am amazed at how much more detail is added to the city and how it never seems to lose its appeal. The graphics are gorgeous just like they were last episode with even the darkest parts of Rapture shining with personality. What else can you say about the setting? Rapture looks like it always does, futuristic combined with old style, gleaming metropolis combined with dark and damp prison, and it looks gorgeous every step of the way.
Now that we have discussed game play and graphics its time to discuss about the story within Episode 2. The story revolves around Elizabeth struggling to save Sally from her fate as a Little Sister because she feels like she is ultimately responsible for her fate. The story does a lot of weaving and ultimately its satisfying, it wraps up all the lose ends and lingering questions for both Rapture and Columbia while also bringing the stories of both universes full circle effectively ending Irrational’s work in their worlds on a high note. While I don’t want to spoil the whole DLC for those that want to explore the story on their own I will hint at what questions the DLC answers. Why is Elizabeth back in Rapture? How did Elizabeth imprint on the Songbird? Why is Elizabeth willing to go so far for Sally? Why is she missing her powers? Why did Daisy Fitzroy change and was willing to kill children? How did Atlas escape his underwater prison? How did he get the ability to control Jack? How did Little Sisters start imprinting on Big Daddies? All of these questions and more are answered in the DLC and it does a wonderful job of putting a bow on the whole of the two universes as this is last we will probably see of Irrational’s work on it since they were closed down.
To summarize, Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2 is another wonderful piece of story for the Bioshock Multiverse. It wraps up Irrational and Ken Levine’s work on series in a grand big finale that had me as a fan of the series grinning from ear to ear with all the references and callbacks to the original Bioshock and Infinite. This piece of DLC was easily worth the cost of the whole Season Pass and even though the change of pace to stealth wasn’t as strong as it could have been, the story and setting once again carry the experience and make you want to keep playing to completion as it is with all the Bioshock games. Irrational’s final farewell to the series is a must play for any fan and helps close out the two universes and cements their work on the franchise as a whole.