I recently had the opportunity to play the first few hours of 2K Games forthcoming BioShock Infinite, developed by Irrational Games - is it a worthy successor to the previous BioShock games - read on to find out what I thought.
In BioShock Infinite, you play Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who is sent to the flying city of Columbia in 1912 to rescue a girl who has been imprisoned since childhood. He is not there by choice, he owes big on some debts and this is his last chance to make good on them. I'm not going to say much more about Columbia in this preview as I don't want to spoil it!
The first thing I noticed was the effect of the rain hitting the water - it was amazing with a lot of detail added that really made you believe you were there.
When you are walking around Columbia you pass by many of its inhabitants. Most of these (certainly in the early part of the game I played) cannot be directly interacted with, however they often say hello, or you can just listen to them talking. There are also kinetoscopes placed around Columbia that you can use to learn interesting facts about Columbia and your surroundings. It is certainly worth taking the time to use them as it really adds to the atmosphere of the game.
Currency in the game is in the form of silver eagles. You can find these, and other provisions in boxes and trash cans, and all manner of other places. Currency is important, not just for buying provisions but also for when you get killed, more on that in a moment.
There are also vending machines that you can use to buy items you are in need of, including ammunition, food and salt.
You may be asking why salt? Salt is used to power your Vigors and Vigors are a very important part of the game. Throughout the game you obtain new Vigors such as the Devils Kiss (which shoots fire at your enemies and burns them alive) and the Murder of Crows (which unleashes a flock of murderous birds against your enemies) and these can be used in conjunction with whatever other weapons you have. It appears that you can only have two Vigors at any one time, although this might just have been the way I was playing. Certainly I would like the ability to keep hold of all my Vigors if possible, but then what would be the fun in that?
When you obtain a new Vigor, usually after defeating its current owner, its abilities are explained to you in the form of a short old style film, which fits into the time period of the game whilst at the same time demonstrating, often graphically, just what it does.
Talking of other weapons, you also obtain a Skyhook early on in the game and its placed on your left arm that can not only be used for killing people (sometimes in a very graphic way) but is also used to jump between levels via its magnetic properties. You even use the hook to attach to Columbia's Sky-Line system in order to navigate your way around.
When you get killed, and I only got killed a few times thankfully, you come back, less some silver eagles, but your enemies also get a health boost, which certainly makes it more interesting.
From the start of the game you are searching for "the girl" and it's a good 90 minutes or so before you actually find her. Her name is Elizabeth and she will be your companion throughout the remainder of the game. She is also there to help you, and scavenge for you, and even fight enemies with you. She also has some pretty amazing powers such the ability to open rifts in time (early on she opens a rift to Paris in 1985 where a cinema is shown playing Revenge of the Jedi). Again, for this preview I am not going to reveal anymore as I really don't want to spoil it.
There are also optional side quests throughout the game, and it is up to you whether you do them or not. If you do them, you will be rewarded with valuable resources that will aid you on your adventure.
There are times in the game that really remind me of playing Borderlands 2 - primarily in the fight sequences. You shoot at someone or something and you watch the numbers float up with the amount of damage done. You also have a rechargeable shield (eventually). The fight sequences work well and for the most part the enemies are fairly intuitive.
From my few hours playing BioShock Infinite one thing was certain and that was this it is a worthy successor, and that I would be visiting Columbia again very soon as there is still so much to see and do, not to mention I want to learn more about Elizabeth and what she is capable of. What about you, care to join me?
BioShock Infinite will be released on 26 March for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC and looks to be one of the best games of the year so far.