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BioShock Infinite: Dissected

A closer look at Irrational's 15 minute epic demo

Keeping our anticipation for BioShock Infinite at a socially acceptable level is proving pretty difficult.

That genius Ken Levine and his Irrational devs aren't making it any easier either, sauntering in and dropping 15 minutes of undiluted BioShock Infinite gameplay on our laps.

That's like sprinkling salt on the tongue of a recovering alcoholic, sitting him next to a crate of beer and turning up the heat. Have you no compassion Levine, you monster?

We've come up with a great way to control the urges though. The perfect antidote when faced with a long, enduring wait until a must-have release date.

When developers tease us with beautiful gameplay, we dabble in a bit of dissection and all of a sudden our thirst is quenched, if only for a while.

That doesn't sound too serial killer does it?

Anyway, here's our look at BioShock Infinite through the most powerful magnifying glass we can afford.

The first thing the E3 demo establishes is that Infinite is going to have just as much atmosphere as any other BioShock game to date. In fact, we might go as far to say it has a tad more.

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From the pristine, sun-drenched streets of sky-high Columbia, protagonist Booker DeWitt and companion Elizabeth enter into this dark, abandoned novelty store, which is full of hints towards past-lives.

Everything from the discarded mattresses on the floor, the eerie bird-cages hanging from the ceiling and posters for 'Lil Miss Columbia' give the whole scene a sense of life and history. And that's just a souvenir shop.

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We also get a very quick glimpse of the kind of items we'll be offered in the game. A looting system that's similar to previous games throws up a 'Winter Shield', which is categorised under 'Skyline' an item called 'Spring-Heeled' carrying a 'Movement' tag and the 'Executioner', under 'Melee'.

We'll get different items that can be used in specific situations then. Most interesting is the Skyline category, which we'll get on to in a bit.

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Then things start to kick off as the store rumble and items start to fall of shelves. Elizabeth freaks out and hides while the room starts to flash orange and green, a light show accompanied by a deafening squark.

We can't see what's going on but once the chaos has died down Elizabeth begs DeWitt not to let whatever it was that interrupted take her back. When we move outside we can see that a pretty sizable crater has been left in the road.

Once we're outside there's plenty going on and a lot pointing towards tension and violent conflict between The Founders (the, um, founders of Columbia) and a revolutionary movement known as Vox Populi (The Voice of the People).

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We'll stick closely to points of in-game mechanics though, since there's plenty to be going on. Like when Elizabeth comes across a dying horse, for example. Players get the choice to euthanize the animal - which could point to similar decision making mechanics throughout the game - until Elizabeth shows herself to have a particularly strange talent.

She notes "a tear" before summoning what can only be described as 'something' which changes the colour of the horse. Then she seems to rip a hole in the space-time continuum transporting us to a completely new world temporarily.

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It's exciting stuff and suggests all kinds of potential for plot twists and strange new worlds being slapped in front of us in an instant, but it's also the basis for a simpler, but just as interesting mechanic.

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