Warning: This review is being kept as spoiler-free as humanly possible.
There's a moment in Burial at Sea that I can't get out of my head.
It's near the onset of the new Bioshock Infinite DLC, long before grimmer elements take hold of the adventure. Booker Dewitt, who we pilot yet again, and a steely-eyed Elizabeth have just sauntered into the bar. A waiter, dapper and long-limbed, greets us. He flutes some kind of salutation, an offer to provide refreshments. Like Dewitt and Elizabeth, I don't spare him a second thought. The man's just another NPC, after all. Window dressing. Irrelevant. Unimportant.
Then, he explodes into a red haze.
I recoil in my seat. Before I can fully register what has happened, the waiter has reassembled in front of another indifferent couple, ready to take their order. Bamf. Your order, madame? Bamf. And yours, sir? On and on, he goes, before he reinstates himself at the bar, a vision of obsequious elegance.
The whole sequence takes less than a few minutes to complete but it feels emblematic of this still-vibrant Rapture: genteel, progressive and quietly, irrevocably disconcerting. Our friendly garcon is no Nightcrawler, he's very much the Houdini Splicer not yet gone mad. The troop of Little Sisters you eventually pass by? They're clean, bright-eyed but still firmly entrenched in the uncanny valley. Everywhere you look, there are things foreshadowing what awaits this atheistic utopia -- propaganda videos, missing children posters, random passerbys exchanging concerns about the side effects of Plasmids. It almost hurts. Rapture on New Year's Eve 1958, with its Art Deco-inspired good looks and its friendly Big Daddies and its undersea neighbors, is so beautiful I just want to grab each and every person I meet and scream, "Don't let the events of Bioshock happen!"
Read the rest of the review at US Gamer.