“Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt”

Back in 2007, Irrational Games took me on a journey. A journey under the sea. Rapture. A once great utopia that sadly morphed into the asylum of horrors. Andrew Ryan’s dream turned into a nightmare with a population full of plasmid induced Splicers, Big Daddies, and Little Sisters. Yeah, things went really bad in this underwater city, but I was eventually able to break free of the terrors that were before me. Fast forward to today and Irrational Games is sending me on a new adventure, but this time I’m no longer under the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Now it’s time to head above the clouds. Welcome to Columbia.

Bioshock Infinite has me playing through the eyes of the main protagonist Booker DeWitt, a former soldier and detective, now a private investigator in New York City. Booker is charged by the Luteces with a mission to make his way to the floating city of Columbia, and bring back a young woman named Elizabeth who is held captive there. Along the way Booker, as well as the rescued Elizabeth, will come under fire from rivaling factions plus a few other surprises like the Motorized Patriot with a George Washington head, Handymen, and even the main antagonist himself Father Zachary Hale Comstock.

Just like the underwater city of Rapture before it, the floating city of Columbia is absolutely breathtaking. The beginning of the game took me on that all too familiar ride to give me an overall look of the city. While I do believe that Rapture’s epic introduction was a little bit better than this one I was still taken by Columbia’s overall appearance. I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer size and the use of color which was something that the the Art Deco look of Rapture somewhat lacked. While roaming the city streets, and floating buildings, I was amazed with the population of it’s citizens as there was singing, dancing, and relaxation. Columbia definitely looked like a utopia of peace even though the stench of evil is also entrenched from deep within.

Gameplay has not changed much from the original Bioshock. Combat is still in the first person perspective featuring my usual array of pistols, shotguns, rifles, machine guns, and more. Guns sure are a dime a dozen in this game, but sadly I could only carry two weapons at a time. Compared to the first two games where I carried an arsenal I hated feeling limited to only a very small selection of firepower, however I was already used to this formula with shooters including Battlefield, Call of Duty, and even Halo so this wasn’t a big deal. Plasmids are also back once again, but are now known as Vigors which bring forth the elemental attacks. Vigors include Fire, electricity, possession, summoning crows, and so much more allowing me to differentiate my attack patterns as well as strategize for success. I also had some fun on the skylines as I shot my guns, used my vigors, and melee attacked various enemies from above. The skylines make for a fun ride as well as a new attack perspective.

What truly makes Bioshock Infinite unique has to deal with the character of Elizabeth. When I first encountered Elizabeth I had the first impression that she was sort of like a Disney princess type of character. In a way she has that Disney look and feel, but as I continued playing I realized that she was more than just a typical cookie cutter princess character whose hand was my job to hold. Elizabeth as a character is awesome, and actually became the biggest help I ever had. When I was in a pinch she would throw me helpful items like salts for vigors, ammo, lockpicks, and even money. She even creates tears in the environment which are a sight to behold. Elizabeth made me wish that all other characters that I had to escort were this helpful.

If there is one thing that I really have to commend Irrational Games for it would have to be not including a multiplayer mode. I love that they focused in on the single player aspect of the game just like the original masterpiece. This allowed for a deeper story that is one of the year’s best. DLC is also starting to finally trickle in with the release of “Clash in the Clouds” which is a collection of four challenge maps in the style of Gears of War‘s famous Horde Mode. Also planned for release down the road is a new story DLC called “Burial at Sea” which is a two part story set in another dimension featuring Booker and Elizabeth in Rapture just one night before the fall of the underwater city. So far I have to say that things are looking quite good.

Bioshock Infinite is a story filled with action, suspense, intrigue, and even just a bit of horror all wrapped up in a nice package. Sure there is a bit of controversy intertwined within the story in terms of race and religion, but that didn’t steer me away from this delightful game. Just turn off your somewhat sensitized mind and enjoy the experience. The main campaign, along with the DLC, makes for plenty of replay value for many months to come. Might I suggest 1999 Mode for a real challenge. Bioshock Infinite is clearly a game that is more than just for fans of the franchise. If you haven’t bought this game yet (it’s been available since March 26 so what are you waiting for?) I definitely recommend you getting it right now as well as the Season Pass.

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Developer: Irrational Games
Platform: PlayStation 3
Players: 1
Price: $59.99

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