Sunday, April 13, 2014

Burial at Sea Ep 2 Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/burial-at-sea-ep-2-review-6a364062228b#.7kzfpqjry

This is the biggest departure from the established Bioshock formula that we have ever seen; don't worry, in this case that is a very good thing. And don't get me wrong, I loved the rest of the Bioshock games.

Let's get right into it: in Burial at Sea Episode 2 we play as Elizabeth, which is the first time we have played as a woman in the series. I believe this is why Irrational chose to mix up the gameplay as well. This episode is very stealth-oriented, taking some queues from the recently released Thief. The only weapon that I used throughout the game was the crossbow, which can shoot tranquilizers, smoke bombs, or noisemakers.
Being able to sneak up behind people and knock them out is handy. And because it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings when playing a stealth game, they introduced the "Peeping Tom" plasmid, which lets you see people through walls. In order to encourage players to take the stealth approach, the rest of the weapons are extremely underpowered; I can see this being annoying to some, but I prefer stealth anyway.
In terms of story I thought this was the easiest to follow story we have seen in Bioshock, and that gives it a lot of strength. The previous games reveled in being vague to keep us wondering, and then throwing a huge curveball at the last possible moment. The core story of Bioshock Infinite and the first episode of Burial at Sea were especially guilty of this. As long as you are familiar with the previous stories of the Bioshock series you will understand what is going on the whole time. That's not to say that you won't be surprised, but you will understand what is happening, which makes these moments all the more powerful.
One moment in particular was probably the most disturbing scene I have ever witnessed in a video game. Let's just say that transorbital lobotomies are pretty effective as a torture method.

I'm really glad that Bioshock is ending on such a strong note. Playing through Burial at Sea only makes sense if you have played the rest of the Bioshock games. Buying both episodes together as part of the season pass is definitely the way to go, and they are worth $10 each for sure. And don't forget to grab the songs from the episode. The pie song was my personal favorite.