Rapture. The iconic dystopian setting of BioShock and BioShock 2 was the perfect compliment to IrrGame’approacs approach for the series’ first two installments – the Big Daddies and Little Sisters, the horror-tinged storyline, the Ayn Rand idealism. But as indelible as it is in gaming lore – and vital as it was to the series’ success – there’s at least one reason why creator Ken Levine wanted to spread his wings and take the upcoming BioShock: Infinite to the floating city of Columbia.
Because of its inherent underwater nature, Rapture’s exterior was largely sealed off to BioShock’s protagonists – essentially turning it into a sprawling course in close-quarters fighting. The combat system of gelling plasmids with more conventional weaponry was fun – but it was also universal, allowing players to thrive on just about every level without changing much in the way of strategy. That’s all about to change in Infinite.
In an interview published this week by CVG, Levine spoke a few months back (before BioShock: Infinite was delayed until 2013) about the ‘evolved’ state of the game’s combat, the way Columbia’s structure allows for new ranges and weapons and strategies to shape the gameplay experience:
Combat is one of the things that has evolved in a very substantial way. [In BioShock], you’d generally come across an enemy and the right way to deal with them – almost all the enemies – was to use the Electro Bolt, which was incredibly effective across the spectrum.
With BioShock Infinite, one of the opportunities of having the large, vertical spaces is the ability to include weapons that are effective at short range versus those that are effective at long range. You have certain weapons that are extremely effective against you on the Skyline and weapons that are more effective against you on the ground and vice versa in terms of how you interact with the enemies and which weapons you use, so you have to be thinking all of the time. ‘What should I be doing now?’ ‘Which weapon should I be using?’ ‘Should I be on the Skyline?’ ‘Should I be on the ground?’ ‘Should I be in cover?’
Verticality, skylines, long-range weapons, it all comes as no surprise to anyone who’s been keeping up with our BioShock Infinite previews, trailers, and general anticipation for the better part of two years.
With the game ‘going dark’ over much of its delay window for what many believe is development of multiplayer, however, we’re still anxious to see what else evolves over the extra time. Our BioShock 2 review found potential in the series’ first multiplayer forte; will Infinite spice things up to compete with online thoroughbreds Call of Duty, Battlefield, and – by then – Halo 4? Perhaps the varied combat approaches give rise to new preset loadouts and player classes (sniping, anyone?).
Ranters, how would you like to see combat in BioShock Infinite embrace the more open setting of Columbia? How do you see it changing your style of play?
BioShock Infinite will release on February 26, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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