Six years after the release of the original BioShock Irrational Games has returned to deliver an end to the trilogy they created. It is true Irrational Games developed the first BioShock game, but they did not however develop the second BioShock game, 2K Marin did. Irrational Games has done a splendid job of once again creating a unique and colorful world, this time known as Columbia. As of recent, Irrational Games has declared that they will be separating and leaving the BioShock rights in the hands of 2K. When considering playing this title prepare for a journey that will have you questioning not only your actions, but the true intend behind what caused you to do them.
Imagine if you will, the 1860’s. What if the south wished to secede by leaving the United States and had the technology to create a city somewhere where there had never been one before; the clouds. In a nut shell, that describes Columbia, however there is of course much more going on than originally meets the eye.
As the player you take on the first-person role of Booker Dewitt, who needs to find his way into Columbia and locate a particular individual, who he intends to bring back with him. Without exposing any more of the story, know that the plot will eventually develop into something enormous and twisted, it is important to try to understand what is happening at each point of the game as not to get confused by the events that will certainly challenge your way of thinking. The story is something extraordinary that few games try to accomplish due to the sheer complexity of the matter.
Gameplay wise BioShock Infinite stands apart from the rest of the series distinctively. To begin with, one of the first powers you receive is a shield which is BioShock adopting the healing over time mechanic that many first-person shooters currently follow. However, you still have your actual health bar which does not heal over time (which is what BioShock has always done). If your health bar depleted in battle you will be resurrected and continue playing at a cost, each time you die you will lose money.
You can only carry two guns at a time but you can almost always pick up an enemy’s weapon once they have fallen. There are eight different vigors (powers) you can get, like the weapon select you can quickly cycle between two of them, however unlike the weapons you can access all of your powers at any time if need be. In addition, you can also find perk specific gear that allows your style of play to become even more empowered. As you continue to play you will find vending machines that can upgrade your powers and weapons in a number of different ways.
Since Columbia is so different from Rapture, (the environment in previous BioShock games) combat is addressed differently. In Columbia, there are skylines which are a bit like railroad tracks in the sky that you can jump to and from. With these you can quickly cover a large area in a short amount of time. Skylines also allow for an aerial melee assault or you can continue to ride the skylines and snipe while on the move.
You have a partner named Elizabeth who is very good at staying out of your way during combat. Not only that, but she will also search for ammo, health, salts (recharge your vigors), and money while you fight. As an additional bonus, she cannot be accidentally or purposefully killed in combat.
The overall feel of Columbia is as enveloping as Rapture, from the characters you meet to the places you visit. There is a distinct aura about Columbia. The graphics are beautiful and represent Columbia in a manner that is unforgettable. The music does a beautiful job of emphasising the environment as it has in previous games. This BioShock isn’t as tense or scary as previous games, but certain segments will get a little darker than others.
Unlike BioShock 2 there is no multiplayer mode, which is really for the best. The multiplayer in BioShock 2 was a bit unnecessary and took away time from the main game without bringing anything spectacular to the table. BioShock Infinite focuses on the single player experience wholeheartedly. With that being said, hidden in the game are a large amount of easter eggs to be enjoyed.
Downloadable content does exist. Both episodes take place in a undestroyed version of Rapture. Combat is much different as the player spends time controlling Elizabeth which is something that doesn’t happen in the entirety of BioShock Infinite. Clash in the Clouds is also a piece of downloadable content that contains four different areas where you can fight waves of enemies and accomplish set challenges. This horde-type mode comes with a section that allows the player to purchase concept art with the money gained in the horde mode. All of this downloadable content is available for $20.00 as a Season Pass.
BioShock Infinite is an extraordinary game with a complex and elaborate story, its characters are deep and develop over time and the combat (although quite violent) is skillful, beautiful, and rewarding. This game has so much polish in it that it is obvious how much the developers loved this game. This game is as violent as it is philosophical and as a result it is so much more than just a first-person shooter. If you are looking for a game that makes you think but is still enjoyable to play, please play this game.