The Bioshock games are undoubtedly some of the best games to ever come to the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360, and in this generation of remakes and remasters it was to be expected that they would surface to give a new generation of players a chance to experience the entire series. 2K brings us the series in the form of Bioshock: The Collection, which offers players the chance to venture back through the series history and enjoy all three major games in the franchise.
The original Bioshock is still considered a revelation of modern gaming, and was quite innovative in its time. Though it is amazing how incredible Bioshock still is, it is easy to get wrapped up in the intricacies of the games extensive plot, and get lost in the hallowed halls of the fallen society that is Rapture. Although most of what is presented in the game is now commonplace in the industry Bioshock’s world, story and ideas still stand out as fun and unique making a great starting point for those jumping into the collection.
What stands out more is the clear visual overhaul that Bioshock has received, where the original is starting to look pretty dated, this updated version makes most of the games assets look clean and clear. From the memorable opening moments of the game it is easy to see the visual charm of the games design, and Rapture now looks more appealing than ever with clearer signs of the cities crumbling halls. Although it is notable that you can see the games age in numerous places, but this is easily pushed aside for the eerily stunning locales that accompany our journey.
Outside of visuals Bioshock is also the only game in the series to see any new additions given to it, while it remains almost entirely unchanged many of the games levels now include a film reel that can be discovered. This unlocks parts of the Imagining Rapture documentary series that discusses the games conception, as well as many of the key ideas which is fascinating and makes the trip through Rapture worth it for major fans of the series. This hidden collectable provides a great new reason to scour every corner of Rapture, and immerse yourself back in the world all over again, it’s just a shame something similar was not done for the rest of the series.
Bioshock 2 is just as good as the original release, like that game it sees a subtle improvement to its visuals that add to the game, although not enough that it really makes a difference. Bioshock 2 always seemed like the game that got the raw end of the deal, while it does retread a similar path to the original it does so in a unique and fun way. Nearly everything about Bioshock 2 was improved, from the dual wielding of weapons and plasmids, to the greater expansion of Rapture and its story, as well as the threats you face, and the emotional connection you receive through the games protagonist.
Bioshock 2 opened up Rapture in new ways freeing us to explore sections of the city that were only mentioned in the previous game, or that we had never imagined. This game tasks us with playing as an older Big Daddy named Delta who is bonded to a specific Little Sister forever, and this adventure sees us having to cross Rapture in order to reach Eleanor Lamb (who is the daughter of the games antagonist) in order to survive. As far as storytelling goes Bioshock 2 offers the best experience in the series with far more depth then what was presented in Bioshock, and a much better contained narrative. Bioshock 2 was frowned upon when it was first released but this collection gives this unappreciated gem a chance to shine.
Bioshock Infinite on the other hand is very much the same game we received back in 2013 (for PC users at least, the console version is now in line with the PC version) and that works, Infinite is the most intriguing game in the franchise blending the unique world of Columbia with interesting plot devices of alternate dimensions, and tears in space and time. The plot of Bioshock Infinite sees a man named Booker head to the floating city to find a young women, Elizabeth in order to wipe away all his debts, things don’t go smoothly though and he is forced to fight for his life and get entangled in a world of trouble. While Infinite does feature many plot holes it is still a really great game and is fully worth jumping into the collection for this adventure alone.
Bioshock: The Collection also includes all additional content for the three main games, some of this includes simple combat based challenges or problem solving, though there are three decent length campaigns also available. Bioshock 2’s Minerva’s Den offers players the chance to explore Rapture’s technological center and get wrapped up in an interesting adventure. Bioshock Infinite also has Burial at Sea Episodes one and two which explores the days of Raptures prosperity as well as its downfall, while also exploring some major connections between Infinite and the original game.
In terms of this collection as a whole there is certainly plenty of value, all three main games are lengthy and remain enjoyable on multiple playthroughs. The visual improvements as well as documentary series help keep the original game in the spotlight making the experience more enjoyable, as well as offering veterans new insight into the game. The only real shame that this collection presents is the lack of additions made to the other games, they don’t need them but a similar series would have benefited all three presenting players with something that shed more light on the creation process. Luckily all three games stand up on their own without ever really needing improvements, and the cosmetic upgrades are simply a nice treat.
Bioshock: The Collection is a perfect package for newcomers however those who played the original releases may not be quite as sold, but for those who enjoyed their time in Rapture and even Columbia originally there is no denying how wonderful it is to return. There may be little change but the ever present mysteries of the two cities remain enticing, and the slight visual overhaul presents a new appreciation for the older games. Put simply, for those who have seen all that Rapture and Columbia have had to offer the collection presents little reason to return, but slight improvements and even the addition of the original games Imagining Bioshock documentary keeps things interesting.
Bioshock: The Collection does little to try and entice old players, but what it does offer is something that those who have yet to experience this incredible franchise can enjoy. Three excellent games, three great mini campaigns, Bioshock: The Collection offers a great experience with many hours of fun and enjoyment allowing players to immerse themselves in the full story of this franchise.