Xbox One, PS4, PC
September 15, 2016
The Bioshock series, for me, was one of the defining franchises of the last console generation. With an absolutely sublime narrative, fun and intuitive gameplay, and a couple of large scoops of daddy issues; it has always come highly recommended. But how has it aged? Does it still hold up in an such a fast moving industry and is the remastering worth your money? I mean, well that last one is pretty easy: 3 stellar games, for around $70 is a pretty easy sell. But are they worth playing again? Or, if you’re new to the series, can they keep you engaged, in the case of the original, almost 10 years later?
The original Bioshock has faced the biggest face lift in this remastering and it’s not just a half-arsed cash grab either. Details have been added; immediately everything looks sharper, actual environmental changes have been made. It’s mostly superficial, but still something that I completely welcome if a game is being remastered. Too many titles seem to just throw on a new texture pack and call it a day. It’s great to see that some actual work has gone into bringing Bioshock back into the limelight. If you’re new to the series, I cannot recommend Bioshock highly enough, especially if you’re a fan of narrative and clever writing. Even as an admitted fan of the series, the Bioshock Collection has been an excellent excuse for me to revisit some exceedingly fond memories from my past.
The gameplay also holds up against the modern day. Some of the controls are a bit strange to me, and I wish the devs added the “Bioshock Infinite” control scheme as an option, especially since “Bioshock Classic” is available in Infinite.
Bioshock is a piece of gaming history and if you missed out on it, I cannot recommend the collection highly enough. Playing it with an analytical perspective you’ll be able to see the vast amount of influence this game had on the gameplay and narrative features of so many titles that succeeded it into the next decade.
Bioshock 2 is another kettle of fish in my eyes and I cannot stress enough that a lot of what I’m about to say is my own perspective; but I never really considered Bioshock 2 part of the original canon. It has fantastic gameplay and a solid narrative, but it just wasn’t as tight as the first one and reeks of “Make a sequel”. Bioshock 2 came out not too long after Bioshock 1 and has received a similar face-lift which is great to see. While being a great title and is still recommended play, you can tell it wasn’t written by Ken Levine and simply doesn’t fit into the universe as tightly, which is by far my biggest issue with the title.
Bioshock Infinite now is what I consider the true sequal to Bioshock and is one of my all-time favourite games. Fast paced gameplay, doesn’t scare the crap out of me like its predecessor and grows in every way you want in a series. Infinite hasn’t received nearly the visual overhaul that the original did, but it is just 3 years old and still looks incredible… if you have the PC version, the 360/PS3 versions show their age a little. Bioshock Infinite I dare say is stronger in its gameplay than the original Bioshock and slightly weaker in the narrative simply for how the world is framed. This said; Burial at Sea Parts 1 & 2 are essential gameplay, this is DLC that’s included in the Bioshock collection that is must play. These should have been released as a stand-alone game and I shudder at the amount of people who missed out on them simply because they were written off as “just DLC”.
Avoiding spoilers, Burial at Sea brings the 2 canonical games together and can completely open your eyes to how the entire universe works. If you’ve played the series before, but missed these: Buy the collection, play it all and play these; it will change your life.
- Excellent value for money
- Critically acclaimed series
- Stellar remastering
- Maybe you've played them before
- Infinate hasn't changed much
- Bioshock is showing it's age a little
The Bioshock Collection makes enough changes to warrant its existence and brings an absolutely superb game series back into the zeitgeist. Recommended to newcomers and old fans alike, the Bioshock series is essential to any gamer and in my opinion, everyone. It’s a piece of gaming history and a true work of art in our beloved medium.