In a clever touch, the opening of BioShock Infinite subtly parallels the first moments of the original BioShock. In both games you find yourself adrift in an angry ocean, slowly making your way towards a lighthouse that juts proudly from the sullen sea. The key difference this time is that you don’t plunge into the frigid depths of the Atlantic, but soar far into the heavens above in search of Columbia, a rogue city-state that seceded from the US in an alternate-history version of 1912.
In both games, things are not as they first seem. BioShock’s undersea city of Rapture ran on ambiguous agendas cloaked in philosophy and punditry, but was clearly in its death throes from the first moment you set foot in its haunted hallways.
Columbia’s sickness is also terminal but lies deeper, eluding immediate detection. In fact, your first 30 minutes in Columbia are warm and peaceful, almost idyllic. The glow of countless candles lights your way into the city, while angelic choirs drone pleasantly in the background.