The critically acclaimed BioShock and its sequel, BioShock 2, were lauded for their setting, the atmospheric and unnerving city of Rapture. BioShock Infinite leaves the notorious city behind, instead choosing a locale as radically different as possible - the sky. Though a huge departure from the previous entries, the new setting may give back to the series the trait that made it renown in the first place: that sense of overwhelming wonder, magnificence, and decay that set BioShock apart from its contemporaries.
Read Susan's full preview of BioShock Infinite here. The game is due for release mid-2012 on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
By moving the action out of water and into the clouds of Columbia, Infinite does something few sequels can truly manage: It recaptures the feeling of awe and wonder we experienced the very first time we saw Rapture.
The nuts and bolts of Infinite certainly look appealing, but what's really changed my mind about this game is how it evokes the feeling of BioShock without copying it. Columbia, like Rapture, is a city stuck in time, tearing itself apart as differencing ideologies vie for dominance. But Rapture was a claustrophobic space. Everywhere you went, you felt the oppressive weight of the ocean bearing down on you. Columbia, on the other hand, is a wide open space, with huge expanses and lots of room. Rapture was held down by tones of blue and brown, Columbia is brightened by reds and whites. The people of Rapture pushed inward on Jack, with communication that was strictly one way, but Booker can speak. His influence pushes outward into Columbia as he talks to Elizabeth. Infinite has enough in common with its predecessor to let us feel comfortable with it, but this isn't just BioShock all over again. The emotional interaction with the city is completely different.