PC Gamer
Burial at Sea 1


Booker DeWitt is slumped in his office, his numb stupor disturbed by a persistent knocking at the door. Historically for Booker, whatever's on the other side isn't going to be good news. And so it proves in Burial at Sea Episode 1, the first story based DLC for Bioshock Infinite. Its opening minutes follow the beats of a hardboiled detective novel. Moments later, the door swings open to reveal a girl, a case, and a whole ocean of trouble.

It's not that simple, of course. The girl is Elizabeth, the case is to find a missing child, and the ocean belongs to Rapture. If you've played Bioshock Infinite, you've probably got some questions right now. Questions like, "wha-?", "huh?", and "come again?" It's not that these characters couldn't exist in this city - Infinite's ending made sure of that - but it's a surprise to see Booker feeling so at home here, especially because this isn't some intra-dimensional knock-off Rapture. It's the Rapture, the one we knew and shot bees at, shown two years before Andrew Ryan was introduced to the business end of a 9-iron.

Such a setup could easily seem forced, but Burial at Sea is a proper follow-up to Bioshock Infinite's story - just one that happens to expand our perspective on one of the most iconic game worlds of recent years. "You could take any of these cool characters, stick them together, and there's some fan service there," says Burial at Sea's producer Don Roy about the plot, "but we wanted do it in a truly meaningful way, so that it stands on its own and is impactful."



And Burial at Sea is impactful, especially throughout its opening areas, where Booker and Elizabeth explore the commercial district of Rapture seeking an an invite to meet with one of the city's more illustrious residents. Here, the shops and corridors are packed with detail, providing insight into the workings of the Rapture before the fall. "I'm very excited to see if players and fans have that experience," says Roy. "One of the great things about Infinite was the introduction of the life in the world. So the narrative that we could tell through civilians just walking around and being there, so that is a great new tool in our toolbox that we were able to bring to Burial at Sea."

To call it "life" is a bit of a push. As in Infinite, Burial at Sea's Rapture feels more like an explorable stage - its actors dutifully perform their vignettes as you pass. But the hyper-real spectacle does sell the idea of a place where magic has become the norm - from the theatrical flourish of a Houdini splicer serving drinks to his customers, to the awkward silence that follows a line of Little Sisters. It's an effective snapshot of a growing excess that would of course result in Rapture's horrifying implosion.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when meeting Sander Cohen, one of the few returning characters from Bioshock 1. His encounter is the highlight of this short Part 1 campaign, and it effortlessly ties together ideas and plot strands from both Irrational Bioshocks. It also shines a light on Elizabeth's perception of Booker. Their relationship is colder and more formal throughout the story; a result of the fact that Booker doesn't know who Elizabeth is, and that Elizabeth absolutely knows who he is.



"I love it," says Roy of this new incarnation of Elizabeth, "because she's still truly evolving as a character. I'm interested to see how players react to her, because there is a stark difference. Her existence is now coloured by the violence that she's witnessed in Columbia - and partaken in - and the transformation at the end to be who she ultimately became. So she's coming into the situation with a purpose, but she's coloured by all those experiences."

Burial at Sea does switch pace from exploration to combat, which brings back another recurring Bioshock scenario - rooms full of crazed, magical psychopaths in need of killing. Burial at Sea sticks with Bioshock Infinite's combat system, tweaked and squashed to fit inside the rooms and corridors of Rapture. "That's one of those ones where everybody in the room is 'yeah, we know how to do this,'" says Roy, "And then you start building and you're like 'oh wait, we have to build this from the ground up.' But it's great, because you end up with the best work when you do that. Trying to piece together something is never going to be as good as holistically going, 'we're going to make this new, and we're going all in.'

"Having to rebalance and rework the systems so they fit Bioshock 1's structure - because it's Rapture, and it's hallways and it's more enclosed encounters - was a big challenge for the team. But so many great lessons learned, and we flexed muscles we hadn't in a long time. And you start getting it, and you start making good decisions about the amount of resources the player has, and one day you're playing and it's really fun. You're running for your life, and you're having to make hard decisions, but they're fun hard decisions to make."



Not everything transfers cleanly. Rapture's using Infinite's Vigors now, for instance, although the fan-designed Old Man Winter bottle does reintroduce one of Bioshock 1's powers. "That's the best case scenario," explains Roy. "We realise we need a plasmid, we know we'd like to have some functionality that was in Bio 1, and we have this thing show up. It's amazing, and it looks like it could have been done out of our studio, and it's compelling and awesome and when you see that poster you're like, 'I want that bottle'."

There's an attempt to explain the switch: a series of audiologs from Ryan's researcher Suchong, as he investigates the after-effects of Elizabeth's reality hopping. The reasoning behind the inclusion of Infinite's Skyhook, on the other hand is arbitrary and throwaway. Brief justifications aside, the combat system feels great in its new home. Where Infinite could overwhelm through numerous systems in large arenas, Burial at Sea's tighter space and lighter resources mean every element feels essential. You need Elizabeth's tears to buy you cover, Vigor traps to cut off possible flanking routes, and the scarce handful of bullets in your handful of guns. Fights feel scrappy and reactive in a way that Infinite never captured and, for all the grandness of the opening, it's this focus on scavenging, planning and scrambling through that provides the majority of the DLC's thrills.

If there's a downside, it's those thrills are packed into such a small package. At roughly ninety minutes, it's short, even for a DLC campaign, and ends with a cliffhanger to set up next year's Episode 2, in which you'll play as Elizabeth. Of that chapter, Don Roy was understandably cagey. "The one thing I will say is that she's very different from Booker. The exciting thing about doing that - the reason to do that - is to be able to see the world through her eyes. As we were talking through the possibilities, it became, 'well, we can't not do this'. It's what fans want, it's what we want."

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1 is due out on November 12th.
PC Gamer
Burial at Sea 1


Booker DeWitt is slumped in his office, his numb stupor roused only by the persistent knocking at the door. Historically for Booker, whatever's on the other side isn't going to be good news. And so it proves in Burial at Sea - Episode 1, the first story based DLC for Bioshock Infinite. Its opening minutes follow the classic tropes of hardboiled detective fiction, as, moments later, the door swings open to reveal a girl, a case, and a whole ocean of trouble.

It's not that simple, of course. The girl is Elizabeth, the case is to find a missing child, and the ocean belongs to Rapture. If you've played Bioshock Infinite, you've probably got some questions right now. Questions like, "wha-?", "huh?", and "come again?" It's not that these characters couldn't exist in this city - Infinite's ending made sure of that - but it's a surprise to see Booker feeling so at home here. Especially because this isn't some intra-dimensional knock-off Rapture. It's /the/ Rapture, the one we knew and shot bees at, shown two years before Andrew Ryan was introduced to the business end of a 9-iron.

Such a setup could easily seem forced, but Burial at Sea is a proper follow-up to Bioshock Infinite's story - just one that happens to expand our perspective on one of the most iconic game worlds of the last decade. "You could take any of these cool characters, stick them together, and there's some fan service there," says Burial at Sea's producer Don Roy about the plot, "but we wanted do it in a truly meaningful way, so that it stands on its own and is impactful."



And Burial at Sea /is/ impactful, especially throughout its opening third, where Booker and Elizabeth explore the commercial district of Rapture, looking for an invite to meet with one of the city's more illustrious residents. Here, the shops and corridors are packed with detail, providing insight into the workings of the Rapture that was. "I'm very excited to see if players and fans have that experience," says Roy. "One of the great things about Infinite was the introduction of the life in the world. So the narrative that we could tell through civilians just walking around and being there, so that is a great new tool in our toolbox that we were able to bring to Burial at Sea."

To call it life may be a bit of a push. As in Infinite, Burial at Sea's Rapture feels more like an explorable stage, its actors performing their vignettes as you pass. But the hyper-real spectacle does sell the idea of the place - from the theatrical flourish of a Houdini splicer serving drinks to his customers, to the awkward silence that follows a line of Little Sisters. It's an effective encapsulation of the evolution of Rapture, and the growing excess that would lead to its ultimate devolution.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when meeting Sander Cohen, one of the few returning characters from Bioshock 1. His encounter is the highlight of this short Part 1 campaign, and it effortlessly ties together ideas and plot strands from both Irrational Bioshocks. It also shines a light on Elizabeth's perception of Booker. Their relationship is colder and more formal throughout the story; a result of the fact that Booker doesn't know who Elizabeth is, and that Elizabeth absolutely knows who he is.



"I love it," says Roy of this new incarnation of Elizabeth, "because she's still truly evolving as a character. I'm interested to see how players react to her, because there is a stark difference. Her existence is now coloured by the violence that she's witnessed in Columbia - and partaken in - and the transformation at the end to be who she ultimately became. So she's coming into the situation with a purpose, but she's coloured by all those experiences."

After Cohen, Burial at Sea switches pace, and Booker and Elizabeth travel toward another of Bioshock's recurring themes: rooms full of crazed, magical psychopaths in need of killing. It's Bioshock Infinite's combat system, tweaked and squashed to fit inside the rooms and corridors of Fontaine's derelict department store. "That's one of those ones where everybody in the room is 'yeah, we know how to do this,'" says Roy, "And then you start building and you're like 'oh wait, we have to build this from the ground up.' But it's great, because you end up with the best work when you do that. Trying to piece together something is never going to be as good as holistically going, 'we're going to make this new, and we're going all in.'

"Having to rebalance and rework the systems so they fit Bioshock 1's structure - because it's Rapture, and it's hallways and it's more enclosed encounters - was a big challenge for the team. But so many great lessons learned, and we flexed muscles we hadn't in a long time. And you start getting it, and you start making good decisions about the amount of resources the player has, and one day you're playing and it's really fun. You're running for your life, and you're having to make hard decisions, but they're fun hard decisions to make."



Not everything transfers cleanly. Rapture's using Infinite's Vigors now, for instance, although the fan-designed Old Man Winter bottle does reintroduce one of Bioshock 1's powers. "That's the best case scenario," explains Roy. "We realise we need a plasmid, we know we'd like to have some functionality that was in Bio1, and we have this thing show up. It's amazing, and it looks like it could have been done out of our studio, and it's compelling and awesome and when you see that poster you're like, 'I want that bottle'."

There's an attempt to explain the switch: a series of audiologs from Ryan's researcher Suchong, as he investigates the after-effects of Elizabeth's reality jumping. After Infinite, such paradoxical inspiration works. Unlike the reasoning behind the Skyhook's inclusion, which seems far more arbitrary and throwaway. But justification aside, the combat system feels great in its new home. Where Infinite could overwhelm through numerous systems in large arenas, Burial at Sea's tighter space and lighter resources mean every element feels essential. You /need/ Elizabeth's tears to buy you cover, Vigor traps to cut off possible flanking routes, and the handful of bullets in your handful of guns. Fights feel scrappy and reactive in a way that Infinite never captured and, for all the grandness of the opener, it's this focus on scavenging, planning and scrambling through that provides the majority of the DLC's thrills.

If there's a downside, it's those thrills are packed into such a small space. It took me around 90 minutes to play through the entirety of Episode 1 - although there was plenty of scope for further exploration. It's short, even for a DLC campaign, and is clearly only part of the whole - its ending a cliffhanger that puts the pieces in place for next year's Episode 2, in which you'll play as Elizabeth. Of that chapter, Don Roy was understandably cagey. "The one thing I will say is that she's very different from Booker. The exciting thing about doing that - the reason to do that - is to be able to see the world through her eyes. As we were talking through the possibilities, it became, 'well, we can't not do this'. It's what fans want, it's what we want."

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1 is due out on November 12th.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I don't have kids, but I do have a house full of kid's books.

Consider this your daily dose of nice. Artist Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot, draws films and videogames as the covers of children’s books. His game work includes imagined covers for Half-Life 2 (above, in part), Skyrim, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect and more. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Oh boy. It is officially another One Of Those Days. The diabolical layoff stampede beast of certain doom has struck again, this time allegedly laying waste to the whole of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and BioShock 2 developer 2K Marin. For now, 2K is only officially saying that there have been “staff reductions” at the oft-beleaguered studio, but sources close to the situation told RPS a significantly more dire tale.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Bioshock has that one part>, the stunning moment that locks the game in the memory forever. I’m talking, of course, about the opening plane crash and the first view of the lighthouse. The descent into Rapture, like the ascent into Columbia, employed tidy, efficient techniques to build a world that was eerie, allusive and oddly attractive. Alec wrote an entire post about that first sight of Rapture. The opening five minutes of Burial At Sea, Bioshock Infinite’s narrative DLC, contain a different side of Rapture, as Booker and Elizabeth walk the corridors before the Fall. Spoilers abound, obviously, with the plot’s initial direction outlined as the two take in some familiar sights.

(more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Craig Pearson)

Small victories are important. Games For Windows Live has been minced into a fine paste and sent off to a major supermarket> chain as a horse meat substitute, but the effects of it are still being felt. Most games are still saddled with the client, and it takes an act of will on the part of the publishers to swab that canker sore. 2K did that to BioShock 2 last night. All traces of the client have been yanked out of the Steam version, with the publisher adding joypad and Big Picture support in, as well as bringing the DLC to Steam for you to buy (so it’s not totally altruistic). It’s the first time Minerva’s Den can be bought anywhere but the GFWL marketplace. (more…)

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Now Microsoft has shut down Games for Windows Live, what happens to the one use anyone had for it--buying the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2? Thankfully 2K has switched over to Steamworks, updating the game and very nicely giving the add-on free to everyone who already owned the base game. For goodness' sake, play it if you haven't already.
PC Gamer
Minerva's Den


It used to be that Games for Windows Live was a heavy weight, dragging down whatever game it latched onto. Now, with the service's shutdown thought to occur next July, that weight has putrefied, like a rotting carcass, steaming from the heat of some great games. As you may have guessed, I'm not sorry to see it go. I'm definitely not sorry if it means existing GfW Live games issue updates that swap it out for a more palatable service. That's what Bioshock 2 has just done: ditching Microsoft's problematic client for Steamworks. As an added bonus, the previously GfW Marketplace exclusive Minerva's Den DLC is now also available on Steam, and has been given to existing Bioshock 2 owners for free.

The Steamworks switch means a few things, of varying degrees of importance. Steam achievements are now active, as is full controller support. More significantly, retail keys have been added into the Steam database, meaning owners of a physical copy can pop in their CD Key and register the Steam version. Make the switch and you'll automatically be given all the existing multiplayer DLC packs too.

If you don't yet have Minerva's Den, widely regarded as one of the better DLC campaigns in existence, you can grab it from the Steam store. Both it and Bioshock 2 are currently 50% off in this weekend's 2K sale. With the sale rolling through different games each day, there's a good chance the game will receive an even bigger discount later in the weekend.

Elsewhere in the campaign to kill Games for Windows Live dead, the PC Gaming Wiki has been tracking which games have confirmed or even actioned its removal. So far, both Arkham games are beta testing removal of GfW Live and SecuROM, while Dawn of War 2 and its Chaos Rising expansion will likely be stuck with it, due to THQ's demise.
Oct 3, 2013
Product Update - Valve
Hey BioShock 2 fans!

In August, the Games For Windows LIVE service marketplace closed and some of you wondered what would happen to BioShock 2 on PC. We remain committed to supporting BioShock 2 on PC and are excited to announce that starting today the game is available via Steam. Not only that, but the Steam version of BioShock 2 includes all available multiplayer downloadable content, as well as the single player “Protector Trials” DLC!

With the help of our friends at Digital Extremes, BioShock 2 on Steam fully supports popular features of the platform, including controller compatibility, Steam achievements, and Big Picture mode. Matchmaking is easier than ever now, allowing you to search for “any game,” as opposed to having to select your game mode. Leveling up is also quicker and easier, as we’ve fine-tuned the multiplayer experience to be better than ever.

If you have already purchased BioShock 2 through a different digital partner, we’ve got you covered. Simply take the same game activation key you already own and “activate” it within Steam. Doing this will grant you access to BioShock 2, all of its multiplayer and Protector Trials DLC, as well as Minerva’s Den – the single player story-driven add-on that includes new weapons, enemies, and plasmids!

For more information on BioShock 2 on Steam, you can visit: http://2kgam.es/bioshock2steam

-- 2K Games

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Also there are dudes from Magicka for some reason.

Eldritch just> got announced by former BioShock 2/Borderlands developers David and Kyle Pittman, but it’s already rocketed to the top of my list of Exciting Doodads That I Will (Lovingly) Obliterate With My Excitement Lasers. The headline does not lie. The roguelike-like counts games like Thief and Dishonored among its closest inspirations, bringing them together in a clammy, tentacle-slathered Lovecraftian embrace. In short, you can fight, sure, but you can also stealth past enemies, upgrade otherworldly powers, and climb around the environment to discover alternate paths through the harrowing infini-dungeon. Oh Eldritch, let me count the ways. Wait, I already did. You should probably just watch the (refreshingly silly) trailer, then.

(more…)

...

Search news
Archive
2015
Jan  
Archives By Year
2015   2014   2013   2012   2011  
2010   2009   2008   2007   2006  
2005   2004   2003   2002