Earlier this year, Irrational Games brought us Bioshock Infinite, and if you’re like me, you’re probably still picking up pieces of your brain that were splattered all across your bedroom. The ending of the game, which brought with it a mess of physics, lighthouses, and choking, left a lot of gamers with a sense of loss. Paired with a Season Pass, we could only wonder what was next for the world of Columbia.
That all changed when Ken Levine, Creative Director over at Irrational Games, announced the release of 2 new additions to the Bioshock family: Clash in the Clouds and Burial at Sea. With all the hype surrounding Burial at Sea’s return to Rapture, Clash in the Clouds was almost swept aside, and it was released without so much as a whisper. But hear ye, hear ye! I am here to announce that I have conquered Columbia yet again.
…Okay, not so much conquered, but screamed my way through it. Nevertheless, let’s talk about Clash in the Clouds.
Clash in the Clouds brings the player back to Columbia for an all-out brawl with some of its fiercest villains. The add-on is an arena-based combat experience, and if you make it through, you’re rewarded with a slew of goodies, including new Voxophones, concept art, and tons more little delights. Released on July 31st, Clash in the Clouds stands at a whopping $4.99, and is available across all platforms.
“But Emily, how is the gameplay? ” WELL, LET ME EXPLAIN YOU A THING, OKAY? If you’re looking for a fun, non-narrative combat experience, then you may want to check this out. Clash in the Clouds does a decent job at bringing you face-to-face with some of the toughest villains in Columbia, and it’s your job to annihilate all of them. As you play through 4 different arena maps, you’re tasked with surviving 15 rounds of enemy attack.
Each wave proves to be more tough than the last, and to make it through alive, you’ll have to combine weapons, Vigors, and tears to survive. Yes, I said tears. I mean, what would Bioshock Infinite be without your trusty companion Elizabeth? She’s back with you, and she’s just as helpful as ever. I’m pretty sure I can still hear “Booker, catch!” in my dreams.
If you’re looking to make the experience more challenging, you have the opportunity to take part in Blue Ribbon Challenges. You earn these challenge ribbons by completing a wave in a specific way. For instance, in the Opz Zeal map, you can earn a blue ribbon in the first wave by defeating enemies using only sky-line strikes. Easy enough, right? Don’t let it fool you. While some of the challenges boast an easy win, others prove to be more frustrating than interesting (like, can we talk about how I have to defeat enemies using only Shock Jockey and headshots? I think not, Bioshock). After all is said and done, you can earn money to unlock some pretty neat-o stuff, including new vigors and weapons.
The great thing about Clash is that when you die, you don’t lose your earned money. Yeah, that’s right. Remember playing the storyline on hard and dying so many times that you never had any cash to pay for overpriced items? Yeah, that won’t happen! As far as I can tell, the game continually auto-saves your Silver Eagles. This is a great feature considering how extremely difficult some of the waves become. At one point in the game, I was fighting off two Handymen at the same time. The waves can very easily become extremely overwhelming, so it’s important to save up some of those Silver Eagles and use them on items that will really pack a punch.
I should also take a moment to mention that if you play enough to unlock certain Voxophones, you may uncover a little more information about the elusive and mysterious Lutece twins. Those sneaky little punks are always around, so watch out!
Overall, Clash in the Clouds is not the most amazing DLC to ever accompany a game, but if you’ve enjoyed the mechanics of Bioshock Infinite, then Clash is a nice little return. As it is, it’s only $5 out of pocket, and free to season pass holders. It’s an underwhelming addition to a game that’s held in such high esteem, but it’s a fun way to kill time.
More often than not, Clash becomes a repetitive task, and every arena is just more of the same. It’s the weakest link in Bioshock’s successful game career, but nothing earth-shatteringly atrocious. If anything, it’s a sign that Irrational should stick to what they know best: interesting, narrative-based gameplay. Regardless, let’s take this average DLC and make the best of it! Besides, now we’re just one step closer to Burial at Sea, and let’s face it… that’s all we want, anyway.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Burial at Sea trailer, watch it below! Personally, I’m so excited to return to Rapture that I may break into Irrational’s headquarters just to download it. What about you? Tell us in the comments below!
- Unlockable Voxophones reveal more Bioshock lore, offering a better understanding of characters
- Blue Ribbon Challenges and leaderboards are a fun way to rev up competition amongst friends.
- Clash often-times becomes a repetitious cycle of enemy slaughtering with no narrative to drive it.
- With only 4 maps, boredom comes quickly.