Rapture, and Columbia. One, a waterlogged, claustrophobic nightmare of a city. One, an open, airy, idyllic, elitist metropolis. Both a perfect example of civil implosion and its effects: e.g, an unsettled populace. And when I say 'unsettled', I'm being polite.
As a fan of BioShock in its entirety, I was worried (like many others) when BioShock Infinite's location was announced: Columbia. I was taken aback by the rash decision to switch from Rapture - by no means a tired pony - to Columbia, a city which, on first appearance, appears to be a radical depature from Rapture, where the first two games were set.
But, after watching the gameplay demo of BioShock Infinite this morning, I was pleased to note first and foremost, the similarities present between Rapture and Columbia. Allow me to list them.
The sense of elitism is still at hand. The entire city is a spectacle - like Rapture. Instead of pulling off a stunt like...say, building a city underwater, Columbia's architects have evidently decided to build themselves a metropolis high above America, touching the clouds. Also present - from what I gather - is a broken-down society: the elite of Columbia are small fry to the rulers. A few examples of this include the woman brushing the steps of her establishment, although her property is burning merrily in the background. The thoroughly-racist preacher, so far unnamed, and his mysterious partner, Charles. The barful of drunken aristocrats - toasting to themselves as their city falls apart. They share many similarities with the inhabitants of Rapture - in themselves an insane populace not driven by supernatural forces, but by the life they are forced into, in the search of ADAM.
The residents of Columbia don't seem to suffer from the same dependency problems, but the release of BioShock Infinite will illustrate the rate of social decline seen in Columbia.