Bioshock: The Collection – Review
Follow Genre: FPS, RPG, Horror
Developer: Blind Squirrel Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: Xbox One

Bioshock: The Collection – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Still good, Decent upscaling of the graphical quality, DLC
Bad: Mechanics of Bioshock 1 could have done with a bit more polishing
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Arguably Bioshock, and its sequels have probably been one of ‘the’ franchises of the last generation, one which fans hope to see continued in the near future. Nonetheless, this generation has showed no signs of having a new Bioshock story any time soon, perhaps because devising another new Atlantis-like dystopian city (underwater or in the sky) isn’t something that is done overnight. That being said, 2K did tweak the original games, making them ready for our new consoles, allowing us to relive the eerie, adventurous yet gripping storylines of the Bioshock trilogy, or try them out for the first time accompanied by spiffy graphics. We were ready to visit Rapture and Columbia again, even whilst knowing what horrors awaited us.

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Story

The Bioshock series has always revolved around humanity looking for a utopia in which they can spend the rest of their lives. Sadly, these places once existed but have all gone down the shitter. Rapture, the city under the sea, has been haunted by splicers, those who got addicted to Plasmids, some sort of drug which unleashes powers humans aren’t supposed to have. While in Columbia, the flying city, a rather communistic regime reigns supreme. In both cases you’ll be presented with a mission that you’ll have to do, pretty much against your will, in order to save your own hide, dismantle the opposition or save those in need. How you do it, is pretty much up to you, as you can make rather evil choices, or choose the good path, or decide to stay neutral and always choose the option that sounds best to accompany your own personal mood.

Graphics

Even though the remastered editions of all three Bioshock games will not stress the current consoles’ potential, you’ll notice a huge gap in graphical quality compared to the games’ original releases. The trilogy has never looked as good as it has now, but then again, smoothening out the rough patches of something that already looked good is easier than having to start over from scratch. Overall things have been made more crisp and clear, while adding more realistic textures and of course, amping up pretty much all effects in the game. Even now, the clutter that was visible in the different areas of the game is still fairly unseen in newer titles in other franchises, which once again showed that this series was ahead of its time in more facets than one. While this might be a tad vague, the Bioshock trilogy is pretty much a superb story driven experience, not only thanks to the actual plot, but the atmosphere that has been set in this dystopian past.

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Sound

Nothing beats the atmosphere in the Bioshock trilogy, and this is mainly due to the combination of well chosen sceneries and the retro music that gets mingled with atmospheric tunes. You’ll be treated to music that dates from the first part of the twentieth century, which has a lot of flare, and while the songs sound catchy, cute and rhythmic, they add a touch of eeriness to things, simply because we often link songs like this to horror movies and other items, where radios or TV sets magically start playing while no one is around.

Voice acting is properly done, superb even, not only by the main characters who are constantly bossing you around, threatening you, or accompanying you on one of the three journeys through a dystopian past, but also by the many negligible characters that roam around the world. These killable NPCs talk to themselves to show a certain degree of craziness, once again adding to the atmosphere, and have enough lines to say before they become dull or repetitive. It doesn’t only show that the developers put extra effort into the voice acting, it simple proves they went all out, even for non-important characters.

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Gameplay

As always, the Bioshock games are a mix of FPS, RPG and horror elements, albeit the latter being slightly decreasing with each passing release. The first Bioshock title was very dark, whereas you’re pretty much bathing in the light in Bioshock Infinite. You’ll mostly be running around, shooting those who are after you, while exploring a rather varied amount of environments to find goodies and other items, with an occasional eerie mission on the side. The games haven’t changed that much over the years, and this collection did not update the mechanics all that much, they still play rather smooth, even now.

In the Bioshock games, outside of your rather funky arsenal of weapons, you’ll also have special abilities (Plasmids in Bioshock 1 & 2, Vigors in Infinite), which are pretty much reminiscent to magic spells. These abilities allow you to blast fire from the palm of your hand, shock your opponents, toss objects by using telekinesis and so on. Even though alternating between shooting and your abilities works fluently, it’s a shame the developers didn’t update said mechanics in the remastered version of Bioshock 1. While the last two titles allow you to use them in combination with one another, you’ll have to switch between your spells and your weapons in Bioshock 1, which makes some combat sequences a tad more tedious. While they did make it so you can switch between your plasmids and weapons more rapidly, it would have been nice if they made it the same as in the other two games. That being said, you’ll notice that everything works smoothly in all games, especially considering these games have been out for quite some time, safe for Bioshock Infinite.

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During all of the different campaigns you will be presented with choices, be it those that are morally correct, but grant you smaller rewards, or those which are wicked and reward you more promptly, but perhaps during the long run weigh heavier on your conscience. Even though these choices don’t really alter the entire course of the game, they can possibly end up giving you a slightly different conclusion of one of the games or just make you feel a bit better during your playing session.

The games are pretty straightforward and offer a sufficient amount of content before the credits start rolling, and on top of that you’ll also have the chance to plow through the DLC content of the Bioshock games, as it’s implemented in this collection. More content, more things to discover, nothing bad to say about this choice, adding some extra value to the package.

In a certain way, this collection feels as if you’ve bought a DVD boxset, as you’ll also get the chance to collect snippers of audio commentary, to highlight certain portions of the games, giving you an extra bit of content, albeit passive content you’re simply able to watch. Sadly though, you’ll have to collect the tapes in order to view this special content, but then again, those who have already played the game and still know many of the secret items’ locations, will have something new to look for now.

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Conclusion

Bioshock: The Collection is very much worth the investment, even if you have already played all the titles in the past. It’s great to see how ‘dated’ titles are still living up to the standards of our current generation of consoles, simply with a new lick of paint and a few updates. Prevent drowning in Rapture or combat your fear of heights in Columbia, but above all, enjoy the story and atmosphere of these three classic games, in their newly polished state.

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Bioshock: The Collection - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

2 Comments

  1. […] remasters for the two first games and all available DLC (our review of this collection can be found here). But now 2K has officially confirmed Cloud Chamber’s first project will be the next […]

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  2. 3rd-strike.com | 2K <3 Switch
    March 26, 2020, 10:43 pm

    […] collection of games. You can find our review of BioShock: The Collection on Xbox One right here. Our review of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition right here. And finally our review of XCOM 2 […]

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