BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Irrational Games
Release Date: 07/30/2013
Irrational is hard at work bringing the characters and gameplay of Infinite over to the world of Rapture from the original BioShock. That’s going to take some time however, as they’re supposedly rebuilding Rapture instead of reusing assets. To make amends with impatient fans, they’ve released Clash in the Clouds as the first bit of Infinities planned DLC. While it may not be the story driven stuff that fans were hoping for, it does an admirable job at offering some replay value to tide you over.
CitC is a series of challenges over four different maps. It’s kind of like a horde mode, but it’s not as limited as those modes usually are. First of all, you start things off in a hub. From there, you grab your pistol, a few vigors, and team up with Elizabeth. At the start, only the first map in unlocked. However, you can easily earn enough in game money to buy the rest in a short amount of time.
That hub is more than just a jumping off point for levels/a way for you to check your score against others. After you’ve played a bit, you’ll unlock the museum. Here you can use in game money to buy character models, concept art, music, and some behind the scenes videos. Not only does this add some nifty bonus content, it also adds a little extra lore in. For example, when you unlock the Lutrece models, you’ll open up a tear that lets your revisit their apartment. There you’ll find some new voxophones that tell you a bit more about the bizarre duo. Some of the other things you unlock included kinetoscopes that weren’t included in the main game. Want to take a harder look at the handyman? This game will give you that chance. The museum is a nice bit of extra content that makes the package more worthwhile, even if you aren’t that into challenge maps.
Perhaps the best thing about Infinite was the combat. The combination of weapons and vigors was a blast to use, and the different enemy types dictated different strategies to win the day. Add in the tears that brought various helpful objects into play and the skyrail system that let you fly around the map, and things were just fun. All four maps have that same feel, and utilize the best things about the game. Each wave consists of various enemy types, and switches up the map to a small degree. The tears you can use will change, areas of the map will open up, and of course different enemies will require you to think differently.
Between each round, you head back to a hub to rest up, though not the same one with the museum. In the hub, you can pick from any weapon in the armory (the only one not included is the crank gun, which can only be picked up from defeated enemies). Also, your health, salts, and ammo are automatically replenished. Money that you’ve earned through combat can be spent here to buy weapon upgrades, new vigors, vigor upgrades, and an extra life in case you bit the big one. The same money is used to unlock items in the museum though, so you’ll have to choose what’s more important.
Blue ribbon challenges are a big part of the game. Each wave has a unique challenge that you can complete to boost your ranking and give you a nice influx of cash. These range from simply taking out all opponents with a pistol to taking out a handyman while he’s electrifying the sky line. Some of them are quite hard to obtain, and require a tremendous amount of skill and focus. For example, taking down a siren before she has the chance to resurrect any bad guys is insanely tough. The good news is that you only have to earn each ribbon once for it to count, though you certainly have the option to earn them again to get more money.
The levels are well thought out and allow the player to experiment with just about every aspect of the game. You can still loot enemies here, but you’ll pretty much never be able to do it at your leisure. Sure that extra coin that dead soldier has on him is nice, but it’s going to a lot harder to get to it while that handyman is chasing you down. Vigor combinations are still incredibly useful, and since all of the levels are open, you can easily use undertow to blast enemies off the floating city. Each map has a pretty solid difficulty curve as well. The first map starts with you taking on a few random soldiers. These guys are so few and so weak that you could feasibly just casually walk up to them to take them out. It ends with a really tough battle where you fight a patriot and two handymen at the same time. The map is small, so one handyman chases you relentlessly while the other fires off electrical bursts that will completely fry your shield. The patriot is more than happy to chip your health away if you stay out in the open for a second or two. There’s definitely a satisfying challenge here.
Were we only to get the maps, I’m not sure this DLC would have been all that well received. With the addition of the museum though, players have extra incentive for playing well. For five bucks, this is a pretty good deal, and season pass holders get the content without paying any extra cost. There’s some strong replayability here, so you can expect the maps to last your many hours. You can definitely increase that time by aiming for the top of the leaderboards/earning all of the blue ribbons.
Short Attention Span Summary
If you still have your copy of BioShock Infinite, you’re going to want this DLC. Sure, it isn’t the story driven content that we were hoping for, but it’s a fun package that should tide us over quite nicely until that finally gets released. The maps are fun and challenging, and the museum offers some nifty bonuses for fans who want to see more about the game. For five bucks, this is a pretty good deal.