For a written account of the first ten minutes of BIOSHOCK INFINITE, read on below…
A TITLE CARD appears,
1912 COAST OF MAINE
The game opens with you on small rowboat in the middle of the ocean, accompanied with two others in yellow slicks. Ocean waves are heard and seen crashing around you. A witty female with her back to you, chatting away about rowing to a man that actually is, pivots to hand you a wooden box. It bears a plaque with your name on the top fold. Don’t forget to look down with the right joystick to trigger a sequence where you open it and retrieve a gun, “That’ll come in handy,” Booker says with certainty. Also in the box, you examine a picture of Elizabeth. Thunder lights up the night sky.
It is raining severely. An old lighthouse comes into view and you are reminded of the first game in the BIOSHOCK franchise, and if you played it, memories flood in bunches.
When the boat stops at a ladder, leading to wobbly deck, you activate a climbing feat. Looking back down at them, they discuss telling you when they shall return, yet at no time ever say. This whole period, we never see their faces.
You make your way off the dock and onto a small path of rocky shore. Waves chop against shoreline in gusts of foam taller than you. A horn off a freighter ship can be heard far in the distance. As the rocky path ends, wooden planks of stairs lead you up the lighthouse entrance. A note is held on the door by a tiny nail. “De Witt – Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt. This is your last chance!” It appears to have blood on it.
“Of Thy Sins, Shall I Wash Thee.” You see this first thing, in embroidery and framed after knocking, then eventually letting yourself in. Below it is a water basin on a small table, candle lit.
“Good luck with that pal,” Booker replies in a smug manner.
Next comes an action where you initiate ‘Use Basin’ and we get the first glimpse of our main character, something that the first BIOSHOCK never gave. They originally did this to give anonymity to the player as being an everyman.
Another framed embroidery next to a set of metal stairs declares, “From Sodom, Shall I Lead Thee.”
Booker calls out, “Is anyone here? Hello?”
Up the stairs and onto the second level we see a map with a series of red strings, lined in an incoherent pattern covering a few states, held together by thumbtacks. A small letter is also pinned to the map. “Be prepared. He’s on his way. You must stop him.” – C. This could mean Comstock, the prophet in charge of Columbia, the proverbial Oz man on a TV screen, who bears a strong resemblance to either God or Moses. Directly to the right of that is a condensed schedule, with departing times to and from Columbia.
When examining an old rotary dial phone, where hear nothing but a dial tone before Booker sets it back on the receiver.
There is a mattress her on a spring with no sheet, an old radio, and broken plates among trash and rotted fruit litter the floor.
A fourth framed embroidery, “To Thine Own Land, Shall I Take Thee.”
A bloody handprint is seen when ascending halfway up the steel stairs to the third floor. The sound of hollow raindrops pelt the lighthouse from outside. The atmosphere is phenomenal so far, on par and even exceeding what this series is known for.
A golden statue of George Washington and a knocked over bookcase with spilled books greet me at the top of the staircase. I now hear the creaking sound of something in motion, back and forth. The creak is revealed to be large fishing net weights, dangling from ropes on the ceiling. Those no longer capture my attention. What does is a man with a burlap sack over his head, tied to a chair, a note nailed to his chest. It reads, “Don’t disappoint us.” There is blood on the wall, on the chair, and coming from him, gleaming in the flickering light above. A burning cigarette is in the ashtray, next to torture tools of every sort, scissors, knives, pliers. Rain slides down a window with a view of lightening outside.
Before ascending the final spiral staircase to the top, another framed embroidery claims, “In New Eden Soil, Shall I Plant Thee.”
The lighthouse spotlight circles around you and the clouds. The last area is now open and you can see raindrops dance against the railing. The sound of it all is clattering and more pronounced. The player finds a series of bells, three of them, each held up by an angel with open arms. The first appears to have a scroll etched into it, the second a key, and the third a sword. An on screen command prompts you to ‘Use Bells’. The player takes a card from the box he was given, ringing the bells in arrangement, matching to what was written on it.
The sky turns blood red, a vast difference from the pale blue moonlight that set the prior backdrop and a bass quaking hum in the form of musical notes, drowns out the rain. The screen shakes with every note. The controller vibrates. Eventually an old trolley bell rings. The lighthouse bulb disappears with mechanical noise and a red chair rises from the floor, assembling itself.
The moment you sit down and get yourself comfortable, metal arm straps clamp down over your wrists. A robotic female voiceover articulates, “Get yourself ready Pilgrim. The bindings are there as a safeguard.” The top of the lighthouse folds around you and forms a vessel, much like the bathysphere from the original BIOSHOCK that took you far into the abyss, deep down to the ocean floor. Your gun tumbles to the ground which has dropped away revealing four ignited jet engines. The difference is we know which direction this vessel is heading, up, up, and away…
Alright, BIOSHOCK INFINITE was released on March 26, 2013. It’s now available for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360 platforms, with MAC OS X attainable in the Summer of 2013. Check back in a few days after I finish the game and I’ll be here with a complete review.
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