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17 things you need to know about BioShock Infinite

She also has abilities that are useful outside of combat

Besides being infinitely useful in battle (and relatively good company), Elizabeth also has a number of abilities that make her role out of combat nearly as important as her role in it. While in her tower she has studied cryptography, giving her the ability to crack codes. This didn't come up when we played the game, but it was mentioned enough to make us think that it will have some sort of role later.

The Skyhook is easy to use, and makes for a brutal melee weapon

Early footage for Infinite shows Booker jumping between giant rails in the sky, using them to get between platforms and launch onto enemies. Like most people, we had no idea how it would actually worked, and assumed it would be fairly difficult to control. This was not the case, though, and we found that it was remarkably simple to jump between rails, and launch onto enemies, bashing them into the distance.

Besides allowing Booker to travel along the rails, the Skyhook also serves as the primary melee weapon in BioShock Infinite. Two or three hits will K.O. almost any basic enemy, and Booker can sometimes execute a finishing move with it, in which he holds it under their neck, spins the hook, and cuts their head clean off.

It gets super gross sometimes

Cutting heads off is gross, but that's just the tip of the bloody iceberg in Infinite. We also saw other disturbing, gory, gruesome scenes as we played through the game's opening act. Headshots often ended in giant gibs flying all over, and the first time we saw a Skyhook it was carved into an enemy's face.

The most cringe-inducing bits, though, came when we'd find new Tonics. After chugging a new ability, the power manifests itself in Booker's body. When he drank the Devil's Kiss his hands lit ablaze, and his skin peeled off from the heat, eventually burning down to the bone. Another Tonic drank had his flesh literally being ripped apart as if some sort of pressure was boiling under his skin. Booker screams bloody murder every time, too, washing away any chance of it being a painless transformation.

There are totally optional side quests

While rummaging through strangers homes for items to loot, Booker found a key that didn't appear to have any specific use. It didn't open any doors in the room, and wasn't part of any objective. Later, a pop-up appeared at the bottom of the screen, explaining that there were some optional missions in BioShock Infinite that would grant great reward if completed.

We hunted for a little while, but never managed to find the lock for the key we found. We assume it would include some sort of power ups or unlockable abilities, but we can't be sure. Oh well, guess we need to wait a few months on that one.

Something really, really weird is going on

This goes without saying, but there's something amiss in BioShock Infinite, and it's much more than the people in charge of Columbia are crazy. Whereas the original game took its time revealing the strings that were pulling Jack, Infinite shows its hand immediately. The people rowing Booker to the lighthouse talk about him like he's not there, acting as though he's some sort of test subject, and those same two people (who row away once he's dropped up) appear several times to give him items or ask him questions after he is in Columbia. He asks who they are but they ignore him, disappearing before he has a chance to demand answers.

But that's not the half of it. The strangest bit came early, when Booker was first exploring Columbia's streets. A group of singers were crooning a familiar tune, singing an a capella version of God Only Knows. You know, the song from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, which was released some 50 years after the game is supposed to take place.

The box art is generic so that frat boys will check it out...

Ken Levine said that he loved the box art for the original BioShock, but admits that it wasn't really all that alluring for those who didn't know what the game already was. He explained that after the original game released, Irrational's director of marketing went to colleges and frat houses, and people who don't check gaming websites all the time, and asked them if they heard of BioShock. They hadnt. My guess is that theyd seen it, and just passed it by in the store, he explained. So Levine looked at the box art he loved, and admitted, Honestly, if I look at that and dont know anything, it seems to be about a robot and a little girl.

For Infinite, he said that he wanted to make something that was more accessible for those not in the know. For BioShock to grow, it needs to have a lower barrier of entry. I like that its part of the culture. I like seeing the Big Daddy on the Simpsons. I like that people can make a reference in The New Yorker to Rapture and not have to explain it, Levine said. I think it needs to be part of the culture, and for that you need a certain critical mass in numbers of people playing it.

...but there will be others to choose from, if you really want

That said, Levine also said that he knows that many people won't be happy until they have better box art, and Irrational plans on catering to those people as well. He hinted that there were two things in the works that would hopefully appease those disappointed by a guy standing in front of flag looking serious with a shotgun.

The first thing he couldn't talk about just yet, but we're going to guess it's a reversible cover, since that would make the most sense. The other thing, though, was a sure bet: Irrational is going to make a bunch of covers, and put them all up on its website for anyone to download, print out, and enjoy. He hinted that some would be from art we've already seen, while others would be totally out there and crazy. So, in other words, everybody wins.

It's been delayed

Yeah, let's get this bit over with. BioShock Infinite has been delayed. Again. This time, though, the delay is much shorter, and a good reason was given for the shift from February to March 26, and if you have to blame anyone, you can blame Rod Fergusson.

Ken Levine explained that a few weeks after Rod was brought on he suggested that it could use a few more weeks of polish. Levine, obviously, wasn't too keen on the idea of pushing the game's release date back a second time, but eventually agreed, since it would give the team more time to fix bugs, improve gameplay, and do all that boring stuff that developers do in the days and weeks leading up to release. At least it's only a small delay, right?

Get even more excited

BioShock Infinite was number one on our list of the most anticipated games of 2013 before we played the first three hours. Now? Well, if there was a place higher than first, itd probably be there. Even with the delay its only four months away, meaning youll be able to play it for yourself before you know it.

And if you're looking for more stuff to get excited about, check out our most anticipated games of 2013 and GamesRadars Action/Adventure Game of the Year nominees.