a portfolio of videogame writings
Rapture really is a handsome city. The original Bioshock showcased the dishevelled ruggedness of Andrew Ryan’s fish tank, guiding us around a crumbling art deco metropolis connected by leaking glass tubes. Now Burial at Sea, the first story-based DLC for Bioshock Infinite, takes us back to the underwater utopia in its prime, when its neon-lit arcades bustled with people and those people were still (mostly) sane. It’s a beautifully realised return, and in its first act, Burial at Sea threatens to let us enjoy the sights and sounds of such a sight and sound filled locale without the metallic rattle of a gun in our ears.
There are guns, of course, and once they’re introduced Burial falls back into the familiar rhythm established in Infinite’s mid-section, albeit with a more interesting backdrop. But the opening, non-combat focussed section of Burialis its best sequence, and for some will alone justify the price tag.
Set during New Year’s Eve, 1958, you awaken as private investigator Booker DeWitt, and are approached in a darkened office by a seemingly unfamiliar and older Elizabeth to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. She’s smoking, he’s been drinking and thus the scene is set for a deliciously noir mystery. And yet, sadly, that mystery never really unravels as Burial’s narrative winds up in some overly familiar territory, tying itself into the fabric of Irrational Games’ world in a confusing manner as it plays on the theme of constants and variables.