If you gasped at the news that the third BioShock game was changing the formula, breathe easy: Infinite leaves the claustrophobic depths of the ocean and the failed free market utopia of Rapture for the theocratic technological paradise of Columbia, a floating city in the clouds.
It’s 1912 and you are former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to Columbia to rescue a child for somewhat shady reasons. However, as in the previous BioShock games, things quickly get a lot more complicated.
Reviewers got to play four or so hours of gameplay at a recent event in Sydney, which doesn’t take you anywhere near halfway into this immersive and detailed story. However, it was enough to show how Infinite maintains the themes of the BioShock series: we have a protagonist working things out along with the player, we have a series of amazing powers (patent medicines called “vigors”, functionally identical to the plasmids of 1 and 2) and it’s set in a separatist society based on manic adherence to dogma, with the Exceptionalist leadership of Zachary Comstock in place of Rapture’s Objectivism.
There are some great new elements including the wide open vistas (which encourage zipping about on the “skyline” rails between floating islands), and a host of entertaining new weapons and abilities (wait until you get the power “murder of crows”…). We’re already clearing our end-of-the-month schedules in order to spend some serious time in Columbia.
BioShock Infinite is released on XBox 360, PS3 and PC Tue March 26.