We were all Buried at Sea, we just didn't know it yet.
Have you ever wondered what Rapture was like before the fall, before the darkness took it over and Andrew Ryan's dream crashed down around his ears. Irrational's first part ‘Burial at Sea' for BioShock Infinite brings this time period to life, in a nostalgic and interesting manner. Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth are found in Rapture, in 1958 – New Years Eve.
A little girl has gone missing and Elizabeth offers to help find her. This little girl is someone that Booker left behind long ago…oh ho! Is this a link to Infinite, you'll just have to play and see. That's about all I'm going to mention about the story.
It's a fan service DLC really, this is a chance to explore some of Rapture and see it in its heyday before everything went downhill. You get the chance to see some familiar faces and hear some conversations, eavesdropping voyeuristically upon slices of the city's life.
The first part of your journey back to Rapture will be just that, exploring and nosing about the underwater city. You'll do the usual BioShock dance of picking up information and interacting with life, right before things enter more familiar Infinite territory with battles and Splicers galore.
Eventually you're going to encounter vigors, sky-hooks and more in the second half of Burial at Sea part 1. This is where I feel it really grows on you, when you get to play with the elements of Infinite, such as the tears, weapons and arsenal – the DLC almost makes destroying splicers and company a bit of a guilty pleasure. Not to say that you feel like Superman whilst playing it. You just get the feeling that Booker is better equipped for these battles.
You're going to meet a Big Daddy and when you do, well, you should like that particular encounter and how Irrational have woven it into the overall Rapture feel.
I think the star of the show is Rapture, its pure nostalgic fun to explore again and feel that self-same wow-factor that you did when you first set foot in the doomed city years ago. It's hard to believe that it can feel so fresh and interesting, yet for me – it does. The battles in Rapture feel vastly different, perhaps not better or worse than the ones from BioShock: Infinite... but they certainly don't feel the same.
Elizabeth also feels different, hardly surprising really since she's a 50's knock-out dame in Burial at Sea. Not as wide-eyed and innocent as she once was, she's got that Film Noir heroine quality that the voice actress (Courtnee Draper) brings to life with every husky tone and breathy comment.
Yet amongst all the Rapture nostalgia, Infinite playground design, powers and weapon arsenal there's something that feels oddly pedestrian. The story-telling has the same pattern as Infinite so the revelations aren't quite as impactful as they should have been, the path feels the same.
You'll also spend between 2-3 hours on this one, perhaps a little longer if you want to explore every nuance and location thoroughly. It's short and sweet and has one heck of an ending – probably the best setup for part 2 there could have been.
I won't say any more about the ending however, suffice it to say it was enough to pull me in and make me want to play part 2 ASAP.
There were some odd pathfinding problems encountered along the way, usually with Elizabeth, but nothing overtly terrible stood out for me on that playthrough.