As someone who is not a huge fan of the first person shooter genre (simply because I’m terrible at them) I was, ahem, shocked at how much I enjoyed Bioshock. Even the sequel was fun to play, though the story was not as interesting as the first. Now, Bioshock Infinite hopes to redefine the series with a move from beneath the ocean to the top of the world. Its a move that had me worried and wondering how such a vital new location could possibly still be Bioshock. Worried, but also hopeful since Bioshock creator Ken Levine was, once again, in charge of the operation. His departure from Bioshock 2 was evident so his return to the title brings new hope.
Could the change in location from the ocean to the sky still make for a true Bioshock experience? In short, and after playing the game for nearly an hour, yes. Gone are the dark and foreboding rooms found in Rapture, deep on the ocean’s floor. Gone are the zombie-like inhabitants intent on killing you. Even the Big Daddies and Little Sisters are nowhere to be seen. Instead, we are taken to the sun drenched city paradise of Columbia, flooding with vibrant colours and breathtaking vistas. The city is alive with people. People who are alive. People who are not trying to kill you. Well, at least not yet.
Bioshock Infinite actually occurs before the events of Rapture (approximately 40 years) so I am left wondering if there will be some kind of connection made between the two stories. These two locations couldn’t be more opposite and yet, this still feels like Bioshock. Everything about Bioshock Infinite retains the general definitions of its predecessors: The player still gains fantastic weapons, and powers, each significantly different that we’ve previously seen, but also gains a third ability: a shield to block a certain amount of damage. It doesn’t take long before the story really takes off, the action begins and, all your previous experience in Rapture will come flooding back. You will simply feel like you’re playing Bioshock again. Despite the extremely different locales, everything you loved about Bioshock has returned in full force.
I stopped playing after nearly an hour because I didn’t want to spoil too much of the game for myself when it releases on March 26th. Suffice it to say, my worries of how Bioshock could still be Bioshock with such a drastic change in location have been quashed. Fans of the original two games will be quite pleased with this new take on the series. With Ken Levine back in the driver’s seat, I am confident we’ll be in for quite a ride.