From the moment that Elizabeth walked through my door, I knew she'd be trouble.
In Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Part I, Booker Dewitt is living his life as a private detective. Here's the twist: his offices reside in an oh-so-familiar city beneath the sea. Oh, yes. As I mentioned in my write-up of the original Bioshock in our Top Ten Retrospective, we're back in Rapture. We're back home.
This expansion lays out the framework for the events leading up to the fall of rapture, and the introduction of Jack - the protagonist of the original Bioshock. Frank Fontaine has recently perished in a clash with Andrew Ryan's forces, and Ryan has taken control of his assets. The denizens of Rapture are polarized. There is talk of Fontaine's smuggling operations, and a gamut of propaganda slandering him as nothing short of a petty gangster. In a few of the conversations, Rapturians aren't sure whether they believe in Ryan. While he claimed that he stood for free capitalism - he sabotaged Fontaine's business when it became competitively profitable, burying it deep below the depths of Rapture.
Booker's mission is to find Sally, one of many girls that have gone missing in the city. Elizabeth commissions him, seeming to know more about the situation than she's willing to explain. Though Booker does not recognize Elizabeth, it is clear that she indeed knows who he is - often making sly references to his role in the events of Columbia.
The environment is awe-inspiring. To see Rapture in operation before it completely fell, is a true wonder to behold. The decor is bright, and each area is more elaborate than the first - which gives a feeling of nostalgia for a place that you've never been. There's even some precursor material for the advent of the Little Sisters. Rapture, however, has changed since we first arrived as Jack. Plasmids have been altered into a drinkable form - relieving the ailment of using a needle to distribute them. It is difficult to say whether Booker, or Elizabeth, had been a part of the history of Rapture all along - but it does seem that their presence changes the mechanics of a city that we used to know.
One of our most memorable experiences in Rapture was with the Radar Range, a new weapon that fires a directed beam of microwaves that obliterate a splicer from the inside out. Though it is introduced late in the narrative, it is a welcome change from the ballistic weapons that run out of ammunition entirely too quickly.
This incarnation also includes a new plasmid called, "Old Man Winter". Old Man Winter coincidentally is an idea that was formulated by a member of the 2k Games community, and implemented by the game developers. Not only is it able to freeze enemies, allowing you to conveniently shatter them - it is also key in freezing broken pipes to create makeshift bridges between destroyed areas. Last but not least, there is new gear to find in Rapture, adding even more ways that each encounter can be approached.
The combat in Burial at Sea, is more akin to original Bioshock. Unlike the open spaces of Columbia, Rapture's dark, closed, corridors reward the player for being stealthy. Crouching and walking up behind a preoccupied splicer before striking, pretty much guarantees you a one-hit melee kill. Stealth melee is important here, because ammo is scarce and the more you can conserve, the better. Elizabeth rarely comes across any items to aid you in battle.
Though short, Burial at Sea offers a new view of Rapture that most fans will find engaging. There are not enough questions answered, but we will give the developers a chance to rectify that malady in part two of the expansion. Perhaps, as Elizabeth, we will finally get a chance to see Rapture as it descends into madness.