The first story driven DLC has arrived for Bioshock Infinite, and in many ways is a marked improvement over the game’s first DLC, the survival mode themed A Clash in the Clouds. This time we get a noirish detective story that takes us to Rapture before the fall, using an alternate timeline Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth. Elizabeth isn’t the wide eyed teenager in this story, instead she’s older and resembling more a femme fatale straight out of a 1950s detective flick. It’s appropriate, since the date our tale takes place on is December 31, 1958- New Year’s Eve. It’s available to players on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC for 15.99 (USD) or free if you’ve already purchased the season pass (which is the way to go if the game’s DLC interests you, or if you’re more patient simply wait for the inevitable GOTY edition that will have all of the content on the disc to be released, which we all know will be likely coming). So, is the story worth the cost and your time? Or is it better to let it sink to the bottom of the sea?
For the most part, this is a DLC worth playing. The story is interesting enough, as Elizabeth shows up at Booker’s office (in this time line located in Rapture) to enlist his aid in finding a missing girl. Booker has already had a connection to the child, having lost her before. Reluctantly he agrees to aid Elizabeth, and the pair go in search of clues as to the child’s whereabouts. Things open up calm enough, as you wander through Rapture and get to take in the sights and sounds of the city in its heyday. But as you listen to conversations of those you pass by, it’s evident that there is a dark undercurrent making its way through Andrew Ryan’s utopia. You get a glimpse of the Little Sisters, which causes Elizabeth to be disturbed. She gives signs that she’s not truly from Rapture, but from elsewhere (plenty of references are dropped to Columbia, and at one point another character refers to Elizabeth as “a little songbird”. They’re path eventually leads to the eccentric artist Sandar Cohen, who tells them the girl was taken to Fontaine’s.
Only problem is that Fontaine’s has been sunk by Ryan with all of those accused of treason being trapped within. These prisoners have become the twisted splicers familiar to players from the original Bioshock, and Fontaine’s definitely reflects the nightmare that the rest of Rapture will become. It’s here that the frantic combat of Bioshock Infinite comes into play, complete with the use of a skyhook for meleeing with enemies and sky lines to strike from. You can choose to be stealthy as well, since ammunition is a bit more scarce than it was in the city of Columbia, though Elizabeth can open tears to provide supply caches or bring aid in the form of a turret or even a Motorized Patriot. Vigors are back to being called Plasmids, with Eve replacing Salts as their power source. You begin with Devil’s Kiss and Possession, but can gain others, including Shock Jockey and Old Man Winter, which obviously allows you to freeze objects and foes. Combat is as fun as it was in Infinite, with Elizabeth again filling in the role of helper, tossing you health, ammo, or Eve. Even with Elizabeth’s aid, you can still have some intense fights, especially one where you have to take on a Big Daddy.
The story has a very nice twist in the end, which definitely has my interest piqued for Episode Two. Sadly, it’s over just as it begins, with my playthrough clocking in at around two and a half hours (you might be able to pad that to three with exploration, but that’s really dragging your feet). The short play time makes you feel a bit more rushed, as Elizabeth tends not to be as patient with your tendency to explore every nook and cranny. There are audiotapes to find as well as kinetiscopes that offer further insights into the goings on. The length may hold some back from trying this out, but if you have a season pass already purchased it’s a definite must play. Hopefully Episode Two will build on this, making it very much worth our while to head back under the sea.
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