The artwork in 2K Games’ BioShock Infinite is stunning, a testament to the quality of the imaginative world of Columbia and what its artists wove into reality. From the first time you ascend to the clouds to the bizarre city to the landmark moments scattered throughout the game, it’s a nonstop thrill ride. The BioShock series as a whole is known for visuals like this, but Infinite has knocked it out of the park. For fans of the fantastic shooter or just the strange city itself, The Art of BioShock Infinite is a fantastic collection.
Dark Horse Comics’ gorgeous gathering offers insight into the floating metropolis and expands upon questions you may have had while playing the game and those that arose upon completion. The stunning cover featuring the shorn-haired Elizabeth nuzzling the terrifying Songbird is a great introduction to what will follow in the pages themselves. After a brief note by creative director Ken Levine, readers are plunged into the dark, varied world of Columbia with character illustrations, early design prototypes, and the evolution of specific landmarks players interact with often in the game.
There are chapters devoted to fan-favorite character Elizabeth, gnarled Booker DeWitt, the fearsome Songbird, and even one dedicated to the many advertisements and propaganda scattered about the city. Colorful full-page images and vigor advertisements (Shock Jockey, Possession, and Devil’s Kiss) are eye-popping and suitable for framing, certainly the highlights of the publication, though every vigor was not represented. As a Plasmid fan, the vigors were one of my favorite aspects of the world of BioShock Infinite, so the fact that not every power was properly represented was a bit of a letdown.
However, considering the varied content of this great little artbook and what it has to offer, that’s a minor trifle. Dark Horse’s The Art of BioShock Infinite is a wild ride for hardcore BioShock Infinite fans and even those just looking for another classy coffee table book to impress their geeky company. The early sketches, unused ideas, and various portraits and paintings are reason enough to pay the admission price, and this is is one example of how to do an artbook right. Finish the game, chat about it with friends, and then pick up this book – it’s just begging to be pored through and and again.
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