Bioshock Infinite – Burial at Sea

I just finished Burial at Sea and I’m slightly confused.

Then again, I was slightly confused with Bioshock Infinite, too. For those who don’t care about spoilers, here’s a little rundown: You’re essentially a guy who sold his baby on a drunken whim. Fifteen years later, you’re off to a floating city to rescue her. The hitch: You sold your baby to an older version of yourself from a different dimension – one who regretted selling his baby and decided to steal yours.

Now as far as weird plots go, this one takes the cake. It’s remarkably well told for a video game (it should be no secret I’m not entirely enthusiastic about the stories told in games at the moment) – just the right amount of mystery and confusion. It never truly came together, and people were frustrated.

So in comes the DLC for Bioshock Infinite – Burial at Sea. It takes place in Rapture – the city from the first game. And proceeds to link the first Bioshock to Bioshock Infinite. Amazingly, it actually pulls it off. I still don’t get how (or why), but they do!

But then you try to get to the emotional core of the story. This time, you’re playing as the girl. She used to have the power to see across dimensions (having been stolen etc). And now she lost it. This makes her mortal. Yaddayadda.

I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel cheated. Cheated because Bioshock Infinite opened up a spectacular multiverse theory, one that truly boggled my mind. And then they just leave it hanging. Close it off and ignore it just to finish the story.

And that’s the thing, right? Irrational Games and, at the helm, Ken Levine, knowing full well he’ll never be able to make another game as massive in scope as Bioshock Infinite, so he might aswell just close off all the last threads so no one else touches his game.

You might call him paranoid, but they’ve done it before with Bioshock 2.

What a shame, I say. I mean: I get it completely, wanting to protect your story. What drives me up the wall, however, is something else entirely: It’s the complete emotional distance with which he brings his story to a close.

Burial at Sea is completely unemotional. Just compare it to the main game, which was filled with emotional sucker punches. I mean, just look at the scene that starts at 8:20.

 

Violence! Character development! And then the immediate follow-up with a silent, emotional moment. Sure, you might call it pulpy, but god damnit, even then: This is brilliant pulp!

Where are these scenes in Burial at Sea? Where’s the emotion? Why do I get the impression this story was written by a bitter, angry man who wanted nothing more than for it all to end?

What a shame.