The original BioShock’s underwater city of ‘Rapture’ is maybe one of the most celebrated video game settings of all time. It appropriately sets the mood from minute one, as you clamber from the ruins of a plane crash only to find yourself fighting off Splicers and Big Daddies for the next 10 hours or so. There’s no denying Rapture’s place in the video game history books as a fantastic setting.
However, while BioShock Infinite was critically acclaimed on launch and has garnered more than its fair share of plaudits in the years since, Columbia has never really reached Rapture’s iconic status. 10 years on from Infinite’s release though, we want to celebrate BioShock’s city in the clouds – Columbia is still an amazing world to explore.
You already know you’re in for a treat following the initial lighthouse introduction, yet, the game’s seafaring beginning still evokes big BioShock 1 vibes. It isn’t until you ring those bells and ascend to Columbia that you realise how different Infinite’s setting is going to be from the dark and dingy halls of Rapture. We still reckon Infinite has one of the best video game introductions in history to boot. If you haven’t played it then… go do that now – what better time than exactly a decade later!
Anyway, once you do arrive in the game’s floating city and are successfully baptised (whether you want to be or not), Infinite begins to open up, and after exploring Rapture before, Columbia feels like taking a big breath of incredibly fresh air. The environment is open, colourful, inviting. Of course, much has been said about that point in BioShock Infinite when things become a little less inviting for the game’s protagonist, but thankfully Infinite’s location never takes that turn for the player at home.
From wonderfully pristine boardwalks to rundown slum areas and everything in-between, BioShock Infinite has a little bit of everything for the player to gawk over – when they’re not taking down hordes of baddies, anyway. The game looked pretty incredible even on Xbox 360 at the time, and more recent remasters have further highlighted the incredible work that Irrational Games cooked up during a roughly five-year development period.
It’s not just visuals either; BioShock Infinite’s gameplay is downright fun and dare we say it, more enjoyable to return to than the original game’s moment-to-moment fighting. Mix in those incredibly slick skyhooks and you just have an amazing environment to mess around in; throwing enemies up in the air with your various ‘Vigor’ powers or dropping down onto unsuspecting bad guys below.
You know when you get those ‘anniversary, must replay’ feels – that’s exactly what we’re going through right now. Despite the game’s dark and often extremely violent undertones, BioShock Infinite’s Columbia always invites us back with open arms, and you know what, we think the game is more than ready for our first replay of 2023. Another playthrough won’t add too much to the backlog… right?
Happy 10th Birthday to BioShock Infinite! Oh and Irrational Games, we’re ready for ‘Judas’ when you are!