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December 10, 2017 2 min read
The whole Loot Box debacle that has rolled out of the past several weeks has been interesting to watch. It's wonderful to see gamers and game journalist coming together to fight the common enemy of publishers attempting to nickel-and-dime us on every goddamn game we buy. Loot Boxes are the en vogue enemies for those distraught with the state of gaming, but I remember when it was DLC that faced the firing squad. Even today, many are sickened by DLC, Season Passes and everything else we have to pay for that should arguably be included in the full price of the game.
But not all DLC is equal, and while we all have our anecdotes about shitty practices, we probably all also have some DLC we absolutely love. For me, Burial At Sea is not only the best DLC I've had the pleasure of purchasing, but it's also better than the game it's attached to.
My coworker basically forced me to pick up Bioshock Infinite because he wanted someone to talk about it with. I hadn't played the original at this point -- though I would several months later -- but I relented and rented it one weekend. By the time I wrapped up my adventure through Columbia, I liked what I saw but not necessarily what I played. And while time hasn't been kind to the game, Burial at Sea has aged exceptionally well.
And let's be honest, I'm only talking about Episode 2 here. Episode 1 is fine if not more of the same, but taking control of Elizabeth in the moments leading up to the downfall of Rapture is beyond compare. The decision to make it a stealth experience is what truly makes it magical. Bioshock Infinite prioritized world-building and moments that were supposed to leave us slack-jawed over gameplay. As a shooter, it was exceptionally average. Tackling Episode 2 using stealth forced us to actually think about the environments we were running through. We couldn't just run and gun our way through bullet-sponge baddies. We had to think, study, act and retreat when necessary.
Burial at Sea Episode 2 did what the original Bioshock could and what Infinite couldn't: it made a game that combined compelling story with compelling gameplay. One didn't overshadow the other and jumping between Rapture and Columbia really brought the series full circle. Yes, the Daisy Fitzroy retcon was bad with a capital B, but beyond that, it's a fitting way to end the BioShock series if it really is at an end.
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