Way back in 2007, we saw the release of BioShock, a gritty first-person shooter set in the underwater world that is Rapture. It received a very warm welcome from audiences and has since spawned 2 sequels, BioShock 2 and BioShock: Infinite. BioShock: The Collection sees all these games and their DLC add-ons put into one handy collection for both newcomers and esteemed veterans of the series to enjoy.
In this collection, all three games have underwent visual overhauls, so graphically the games looks like they haven’t aged one bit. The haunting halls of Rapture and the psychedelic nature of its residents haven’t changed though and still give you a fright. For newcomers to the series it’s a perfect place to start, but visually it doesn’t stand up to the worlds we see created today, so don’t go in expecting ground breaking scenes.
The gameplay itself remains though, and this is what sets it apart from shooters of its time. Developers 2K Games made an outstanding game when it came to mixing RPG elements with first-person shooters like looting bodies for bullets, cash, and medications. Vending machines litter Rapture that let you use that hard earned cash for upgrades and ammo.
Where BioShock stood out the most to me was its combat. When you first enter the dark world of Rapture from the wreckage of a 747, it’s clear everything isn’t what it’s made out to be. The residence have gone mad for a substance called Eve. Eve is used to deploy seemingly magical powers from the palm of your hand called Plasmids. You can unlock an assortment of genetically modified powers, fire, ice, shock, telekinesis, and many more. All these abilities mixed with the gun play add a nice variation on ways to tackle your enemies or even the environment. Freeze an enemy then smash them to pieces with your wrench. Set the enemy alight with fire and watch them scream whilst trying to put themselves out. You could even catch a grenade and lob it straight back at them with telekinesis. There are endless possibilities when it comes to disposing of your enemies. The pace can be slowed down perfectly between combat with the puzzles that are added in. Hacking machines proves to be a great benefit to yourself by making them friendly as they buzz around zapping enemies. Or making vendor items cheaper and more items available. Solving puzzles is a blast in BioShock, so much so I would probably play the hacking mini game on its own.
The original BioShock was a sucker for hidden items which remain in this collection, and with the collection developers 2K have hidden various director’s commentary videos called “Imagining BioShock.” These videos show how BioShock came to life from start to finish, but these reels can only be found in BioShock and not in the sequels, which is a shame.
Having played all three games in the collection, BioShock: Infinite is my favourite of the series despite the visual overhaul of BioShock. The setting sold it for me, and although 2K Games did an excellent job with Rapture, I believe Columbia is by far the best setting in the series. The alternate-reality 1912 city of Columbia boasts massive floating districts that link together when approached. Beautiful scenery is around every corner, and sometimes you just don’t know what comes next. Local residents roam and interact with each other and give the feeling that the setting is alive. Combat plays out pretty much the same as BioShock, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. Skills are much better this time around, and gone is the cringe that is the self stabbing needle. Instead, it’s replaced with drinks, bottoms up, people! Collect each skill and master it, setting fire traps, mind controlling people, it’s all fun again.
BioShock: Infinite did suffer from some sudden drops in frame-rate that I noticed on the Xbox One. These issues shouldn’t be there when the game is 2 years old. Maybe a future patch will fix this (who knows?), but it definitely hindered the playthrough a bit when it got crazy onscreen.
For those who haven’t played the series like I have, then now is your chance. It’s a perfect start, after this recent playthrough I can now add BioShock: The Collection to my fine collection of games. Time and effort were put into these games, and it shows. Story is brilliant, gameplay is brilliant. At the time the visuals were brilliant, and now it looks like a million dollars again.
Developer: 2K Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Release Date: 13th September 2016