'BioShock Infinite' Takes You Into The Wild Blue Yonder

March 29, 2013

The original BioShock games were wildly successful, and with good reason; they helped redefine the first-person shooter genre. In the process Irrational Games created some of the most memorable moments of this console generation as well as Rapture, a beautiful world, submerged underwater, that will remain one of the most beloved settings for a video game for a very long time to come. It’s been three years since the world was graced with a new BioShock title, but for the franchise's spiritual successor, BioShock Infinite, Irrational Games has chosen to step out of the sea with an all-new hero, Booker DeWitt, and send him on a mission high above clouds, to the floating city of Columbia.

Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
BioShock Infinite is a bit of a homecoming for the franchise. Fans will note that while BioShock 2 was the direct sequel to the original game, Ken Levine and Irrational Games handed off development to 2K Marin, where they treated the franchise with the love and care that it deserved. However, this freed up the original development team to begin work on Infinite. The time and effort that was poured into it shows, and Infinite is a return to form for the series.

In BioShock Infinite players find themselves in the precarious position of one Booker DeWitt, who has been sent to the floating city of Columbia to save a young girl, Elizabeth, who has been imprisoned there for over a decade. DeWitt’s presence has been foretold by the city’s prophet, Father Zachary Comstock, and is supposed to signify the fall of their society. Set it in 1912, the city itself is exceptionally complicated, dealing with issues of the day, such as racism, while worshiping the U.S.’s forefathers, George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Unlike the previous BioShock games, Columbia is a living, breathing city, with residents who aren’t all out to kill you ... but a lot of them don’t want to see their world come crashing down.

The game plays out as a standard first-person shooter, with DeWitt packing a small arsenal of weapons that he mainly acquires from his fallen attackers. He also has access to a variety of vigors – experimental tonics that bestow super-human abilities to whoever consumes them. Similar to the plasmids of the original BioShock, these vigors grant powers like the control of electricity, fire, and possession of machines and people, allowing DeWitt a leg up on his attackers.

2K Games are bringing BioShock Infinite to just about every platform out there. You can pick up the game on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, with the latter two available as both retail and digital releases.

While Infinite may bear the markings of its predecessors, it’s truly its own, unique creation. The combination of the setting, the new vigor-infused powers, and the innovative mechanics that center around escorting Elizabeth, set this release apart from the original BioShocks, as well as most other standard first-person shooter games. Exploring Columbia may not evoke the same dark, claustrophobia as Rapture did, but its bright, outdoor spaces are a welcome escape from the imminently dangerous submerged corridors of Levine’s last creation. The blue sky and intense jingoism are a stark contrast to the disturbing underbelly that drives the city, helping to make it a memorable place to visit. Hoping from building to building, while avoiding gunfire, geriatric giants, and colossal attack birds all combine to create a truly memorable experience, as Irrational Games strikes again, creating another modern-day classic in BioShock Infinite.