Review: Bioshock Infinite: Clash In The Clouds

Get ready to rumble.

A few weeks ago, Bioshock Infinite fans finally received an answer to their question, “what’s next?”  Those who are excited for the next episode featuring Booker Dewitt have the arena-based challenge add-on Clash in the Clouds to hold them over until Burial at Sea. And that is exactly what Clash in the Clouds is: something to tide us over until something (hopefully) better comes along.

Infinite’s fighting style already differed from its predecessors in that it focused on strategy and fighting large groups from a distance, so Clash in the Clouds really is not different as much as it is just challenging. Between the Blue Ribbon challenges, Elizabeth not being nearly as helpful as she was in the game, and enemies that seem to kill me before I can even start, the add-on was still pretty entertaining. If you enjoyed the final battle in Infinite’s main storyline, then this add-on is for you; however, if you were hoping to gain something more in the way of Columbia’s story you might be disappointed.

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Clash in the Clouds
Platform: PC, Xbox360, PS3 (reviewed)
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher:  2K Games
Released:  July 30th, 2013
MSRP: $4.99

The idea is simple: fight 15 waves of Columbia’s baddies, earn silver eagles, and unlock statues, songs, and artwork in the Columbian Archeological Society. For some added fun, there are Blue Ribbon challenges if you really want to go above and beyond just shooting Handymen in the heart. There are four new beautiful maps to choose from: Ops Zeal, Duke and Dimwit Theater, Raven’s Dome, and Emporia Acrade; each is complete with its own skyline and a number of helpful tears.

The biggest disappointment was the lack of additional storyline, but can you really fault the DLC for that? It is essentially a fighting game and you cannot really blame it for being something it wasn’t supposed to be. Perhaps if by unlocking statues you could learn more about the characters, though, the payoff would have seemed more satisfying.

Elizabeth becomes infinitely annoying.

I’m not sure if it was just a stroke of bad luck or if Elizabeth has become sadistic, but she had a habit of handing me whatever it was that I didn’t need. If I had just started a round, she would want to bandage me up; however, if my health bar was nearly depleted I would hear her cry out “You need salts!” Eventually I just chalked this up to being part of the challenge.

My biggest complaint about the Blue Ribbon challenges was the execution. As expected, the first five or so are relatively easy (kill all enemies with skyline strikes and the such), and then they get progressively more difficult (kill enemies, including a handyman or two, without head or heart shots). If you fail or die, you’ll need to start from the first wave to have a shot at getting all 15 blue ribbons. It would have been nice to be able to start from the failed wave, but, once again, it is called a challenge for a reason.

Score: 5/10-Review Scale

Clash in the Clouds is fun, the maps are as beautiful as the original game, and the add-on is easily recommendable to those who enjoyed the combat of the full game. It is challenging, and in some ways frustrating, but it is so entertaining I only tried to throw my controller at the wall a handful of times. Any real complaints about the add-on are minimal and easily forgivable, but the add-on doesn’t really add anything. Bioshock Infinite fans may be a bit disappointed that there is nothing new story-wise but (for the price) this challenge can be entertaining enough to hold us over until Burial at Sea. I don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but there is something fun once you complete all four maps (the blue ribbons are not required) and unlock everything in the museum.

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