In a world full of next-gen re-masters, Bioshock arrives with all 3 games in one very impressive package.
The original Bioshock was a masterpiece. Released in 2007 and bringing some of the best graphics of the decade in line with a deep and immersive storyline which maintained quite a linear path but encouraged gamers freedom on how they approached the many challenges ahead, It was an instant hit and the sequel Bioshock 2 followed 3 years later.
While very similar to the first title, Bioshock 2 was still classed as a fantastic title meeting critical acclaim. While some where a little unsure about the multiplayer aspect, the core single player game was an amazing experience and finally gave the player a chance to step into Big Daddy’s shoes.
Another 3 years passed and in 2013, Bioshock Infinite was released. A completely new world, a separate storyline but a typical Bioshock feel gave Infinite fantastic response across the board and many struggle to choose their favourite between the original Bioshock and the most recent Infinite.
The Bioshock franchise has always been about pushing the limits, the first game set in the under-water world of Rapture, ran by Andrew Ryan, and encouraging progress without limits, things soon turned sour with the discovery of adam and it’s ability to grant super-human powers. These plasmids play a major part of the game and merged with standard weaponry it produces countless approaches for the protagonist Jack, whether surrounded by enemies or trying to take down a sole splicer quietly.
Bioshock 2 continued in Rapture with a storyline that overlapped the events in the first game, starting two years prior and then jumping 10 years to long after the events that left Rapture in an even bigger mess than when Jack first arrived.
The third game followed a slightly different route, with Booker DeWitt as the protagonist, and the world of Columbia set high above the clouds. Booker heads to Columbia via a pretty awesome lighthouse come rocket silo in search of a girl known as Elizabeth. Before too long DeWitt is labelled as the man who will bring about Columbia’s downfall and then must fight to rescue Elizabeth (although I’m sure many would class it as Kidnap).
For anyone who’s unfortunate enough to have never played a Bioshock game, it’s quite a tough cookie to explain. Set in the boots of a first person shooter, there’s a very methodical pace which encourages the player to pay far more attention to the world, story and characters around them, these are just a few areas where every single title shines meaning it’s more of an adventure than a simple point and shoot.
All 3 games feel very similar in control with the same intentional pace, however in BioShock 2 you control one of the Original Big Daddy’s which provided a slightly different approach. These hulking monstrosities’s sole aim is to protect a little sister, young girls hell bent on collecting that adam we mentioned earlier. Though after attaching himself to a little sister known as Eleanor that had a different route planned for her, Project Delta (our protagonist) then got separated and had to find Eleanor once again.
Infinite changed things completely using far more verticality thanks to a spinning hook which enabled DeWitt to use surrounding cables as a zip-line and it also proved a pretty gruesome weapon too.
Each game uses Plasmids (Vigor’s in Infinite). Super-powers, such as firing electricity or fire on a very lite RPG basis allowing the player to select their approach dependent on what they where trying to achieve. A room full of enemy splices which has flooded is a great opportunity to use electric, while others may prefer Enrage to make the inhabitants fight between themselves. My personal favourite is Telekinesis, grabbing a gas canister and hurtling it towards enemies is always a good call.
Graphically, there’s nothing to complain about, in fact all three games feel much more native Xbox One quality than a mere graphical polish on top of a simple port. In the presentation, quality and smoothness the Bioshock collection claims it’s throne as one of the best next-gen remasters we’ve seen to date.
Sound seems to have also received a bit of balancing with vocals seeming a little clearer among the occasional bedlam of splicers and plasmids flying around all over the place, this doesn’t detract anything from the game, and keeps you immersed in the deep and believable atmosphere regardless of which title you’re playing.
All three games have been widely regarded as aesthetic marvels, and the step up to 1080p means that each game just looks, feels and sounds that little bit better than they already where.
The collection features all single player content from the three titles, this means the merely average multiplayer in Bioshock 2 isn’t included or missed, however all single player DLC is included most importantly Bioshock Infinite’s ‘Burial at sea’ which draws together the events of Bioshock Infinite, and Bioshock 1. Many people will have played at least one of the titles so there’s a question of value, however while there’s not countless extra’s tacked on, the Bioshock collection does offer an amazing package regardless.
Having already played and completed the main games, I found value in not only returning to Rapture and Colombia to tackle decisions from a fresh approach but also the DLC for both Bioshock 2 and Infinite which offer unparalleled value in their continuation of the story.
It’s hard to criticise a franchise which has proved to be one of the most successful gaming franchises to date, and to have the whole thing in one tidy, and very impressive package means that this is still very highly recommended to fans and even more so for those who have yet to visit the series.