Bioshock Infinite was one of my favourite games of last year, given its fantastic story and fairly unique setting. Ken Levine is a genius when it comes to setting up these lavish cities, where your imagination becomes a reality, and so it was a welcome piece of news that the first true piece of DLC for Infinite would take place in Rapture, a place we all find so dear considering how much Bioshock imprinted on gaming culture forever. The problem is, as much as rapture is so loved, Infinite opened the doors to the Bioshock potentially going anywhere, much like assassins creed 1 opened the door for the series to go to any culture in history and stake its mark, Infinite was full of potential, so its a shame that they decided to squander this potential by returning to an already visited location.
The game starts out with you taking control of Booker Dewitt, a man you’re already accustomed to by now, in your office of investigations, sleeping the night away. A lady decides to wake you up, and upon seeing her face, you realise this is Elizabeth, the girl you spent the entire main game with. She asks you to take up her job of finding a little girl called emily who is supposedly dead, and will show you the way to find her. This start part is similar to the start of infinite in that it introduces you to the world of rapture before all of the chaos and disaster of the first game, meaning you get to see how people once lived in this beautiful metropolis under the sea. This is good for slowly easing you into the world, but you soon start to feel disconnected from the world being shown, as people around you speak once, then never speak again, repeating the same animations over and over. It all feels jarring, and pulls you out of an otherwise great and immerseful world.
Before long, you start getting into some action sequences, with plasmids and gunplay taking centre stage. Gone are the columbians that are out to get you for being the chosen one that takes the lamb, which are all now replaced with splicers. These splicers aren’t like the original splicers of Bioshock, and instead are still human, albeit with some mental difficulties. Plasmids play a role in the combat, but I found the little time you play the DLC meant you couldn’t upgrade the plasmids to their full potential, meaning most of the time I relied on the guns of rapture to get me through, due to their ability to instant kill enemies with a headshot, and the plethora of ammo enemies drop after they meet their demise.
Through some weird coincidence, the sky crane, a staple from Infinite that was unique and not seen in rapture before, is now in rapture, with its use limited and rare. I found myself never using it in combat situations like I did in the main campaign, and it felt like it was there more for window dressing or a way to melee kill enemies than an actual gameplay mechanic.
It’s hard to go into too much detail in regards to the story of the DLC without giving out massive spoilers about not only the main campaign, but also this piece of DLC itself. The story has its usual twists and turns, with booker getting to one location with Elizabeth, only to need a new plasmid or item in order to continue forward. All I can say on the story side without spoiling anything is that I definitely enjoyed it. I found that it had enough plot twists, along with enough audio boxes to find to give proper depth to this new reason for being back in Rapture, something I didn’t feel the DLC would be able to do.
The DLC is beautiful, both graphically and artistically. I was stopping once every few moments in the beginning of the game to take as many screenshots as possible, as the amount of detail in every scene is staggering. Light rays gleam around figures beautifully, objects around the world are fantastically furnished that you wish you could actually reach out and grab them for their authentic 60’s look; the world of rapture has never felt more alive than in this.
The music was catchy, and constantly in the background, meaning you had a permanent reminder as to what decade you were meant to be fighting in. Having no internet at the moment means that I can’t find out whether the music was authentically taken from that error, or whether it was all made originally for this game; either way, it’s all a beauty to behold.
I suppose I could sum up my time in rapture for the first part of DLC as enticing. The DLC gives enough story beats and justification for its own existence, but I still can’t help but think that it wasn’t needed at all. The DLC comes off another timeline from the game we played through in Bioshock Infinite, and although that can be seen as a good thing, I found myself wishing Bioshocks DLC would have gone to another place, with a new sprawling metropolis to discover all over again. Rapture is a place we’ve explored in every game in the series so far, nothing about it is new apart from the people within it, and they just aren’t that interesting when the game tries to justify the DLC’s existence through people you don’t really care about.