“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” This is the first line of the game – sounds simple enough, but as the game progresses it takes on a completely different meaning. You play as Booker DeWitt who, in 1912, is tasked with finding a girl named Elizabeth and bringing her to New York to wipe away his debt. What Booker doesn’t know is that Elizabeth is in a floating city known as Columbia. When Booker first gets to Columbia, it looks like a beautiful advanced city that once was the jewel of America. What Columbia really is an extremely racially divided (even for 1912) city that worships George Washington and views Abraham Lincoln as the devil for freeing the slaves. The game tackles the issue of race more than any other game I’ve played before, but it's not the focal point. The story is really about Booker and Elizabeth and how their relationship progresses. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this game takes a hard left turn about a quarter of the way through and doesn’t look back – leading to one of the most stellar and sad endings I’ve ever witnessed in a game.
The game's graphics are very good and really show the city of Columbia beautifully. From the bustling racist city you first come into down to the destroyed and war-torn city it eventually becomes are well done. There are a vast amount of different locales you visit, though they are all apart of Columbia. There are a few glitches here and there such as screen-tearing and textures, but they are far and in between and will not hamper your enjoyment of the game in the slightest. The only gripe I have (and it's not really a big one) is I wish there were more places that you did combat in nearly every time you are in an arena-like environment and though I didn’t mind much I’d just rather have more diversity of places to fight.
The controls of this game are standard FPS fare, with shooting, your guns are mapped to your right trigger and your vigors (plasmeds in the first two games) are mapped to your left trigger. Where this game truly shines is when you add in the skyhook and Elizabeth’s tears. The skyhook allows you to zip around on sky rails making the combat in the game far more fast-paced than any other Bioshock game. Elizabeth's tears allow you to bring in a number of different things into the battlefield – from a skyhook to flank your enemies or your own iron patriot to do some of the killing for you. Both of these make combat in the game strategic and extremely fast-paced.
This is one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. During the beginning of the game, you think the story is just a find-the-girl-bring-her-to-us type game, but once you get into it you realize like the two games before it there is a huge twist that you will not see coming in the slightest and you will enjoy it. The ending of the game could have been a convoluted mess, but it explains the end without talking down to you. This makes you want to play through the game again with your newfound knowledge of what is truly at work. Games don’t get much better than this.