Review: BioShock: The Collection (PS4)
I haven’t been this excited for a remastered collection since The Last of Us, and with good reason. The first BioShock made waves with its incredible locale, lore and script. It was a game-changer, not only for story-telling in games, but making the horror genre accessible to a lot more people. Its sequels have proven to be just as great as the original, expanding on the BioShock universe with unforgettable characters and settings. Does the remastered collection deliver the goods, or fail like the Silent Hill HD collection?
What’s in it?
The first thing I want to cover is the contents of the game. If the amount of content was all we needed to give you a score, The BioShock Collection would get an instant 10/10. It’s jam-packed with content: You get the three main games, all the DLC from BioShock 2 and Infinite as well as some bonus content for the first game, developer commentary and a concepts museum. You’ll learn so much about BioShock that it’ll surprise you. Seriously, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you’ll want to check it out.
For those new to Rapture
Now, not everyone will have played BioShock, let alone all three, so I won’t be spoiling anything important. However, the first game, like I said before, was a game-changer. You play a silent protagonist, who finds himself lost in the undersea city of Rapture. The city has been brought to ruin by civil war caused by the leaders of Rapture. So why is there a city under the sea in the first place? Well, a man by the name of Andrew Ryan, wanted to escape the clutches of government and “ethical” practices so that he could advance science faster without any red-tape. The only place he thought he could do this was far away from the world and turned to the sea. It quickly became a den of scientific marvels, specifically in the development of plasmids, special substances which gives you powers. This, ultimately, is what leads to the city’s demise. Your job is to find a way to survive and escape the city, and perhaps solve some of its mysteries.
As a remaster, this is the one I was most impressed by. Visually, everything is clearer, smoother and sharper. I could see the lines clearer, enemies looked more frightening and best of all, the plasmids looked gorgeous! My biggest letdown, and this goes for the other two games as well, is that the aiming system wasn’t updated. You still need to click the R3 button, to zoom aim. Luckily, on the easier modes, aiming isn’t a big deal.
The return to Rapture
The sequel answers many questions that are purposely left unanswered in the first game. A big part of BioShock is the focus on plasmids. These plasmids need two things to become useful: Eve, which is what we would normally call mana; and Adam, a kind of red goo that resets your genetic makeup and gives you X-Men like powers. Adam is created in Little Sisters, small girls who look like Tim Burton’s backup characters. These girls are highly sought after by the crazy residents of Rapture. To protect them, they have Big Daddies that follow them around and fight for the Little Sisters. In Bioshock 2, you play a Big Daddy who needs to find his Little Sister. Without his Little Sister, he will die. Unlike the first game, which focuses on Rapture and the war between Andrew Ryan and his enemies, BioShock 2 delves into the history and original purpose of Rapture and answers a lot of questions about the Little Sisters and Big Daddies.
BioShock 2, unlike most sequels, can stand proudly next to its predecessor. A few issues from the first game were rectified, like the unnecessary hacking and improving the objective marker. It still feels very much like the first game, only with better weapons and an interesting take on escort missions. When you meet a Little Sister you can “adopt” her for a little while. When she’s collecting ADAM from corpses, splicers (the crazy citizens of Rapture) will attack her in waves. It’s up to you to protect her while she’s harvesting. It’s very cool and really puts the parental role of the Big Daddies into perspective. The game has a really good story and a villain that actually feels like a villain. I can’t say too much as it does give away a lot of the first game.
From under the city, to the city in the sky
The third game takes you to the skies, where you’ll run around the floating city of Columbia. BioShock Infinite had some big shoes to fill, and when it first came out, it rocked everyone’s boat. In it, you play Booker De Witt, a talking hero this time, who must rescue Elizabeth who is held captive by Zachary Comstock, the leader of Columbia. Just like its predecessors, Infinite has a remarkable story with a whole host of interesting characters.
What’s even more interesting is how it links up with the previous BioShock games and Rapture. That link is explained in the two DLC packs Burial at Sea. I didn’t really notice a significant difference with Infinite like I did with 1 & 2, but it does feel smoother. There’s no bonus material, which I find a tad disappointing, but you do get all the DLC, which makes this a pretty hefty game.
Like I said before, there’s a lot of content going on in this game. I managed to finish all the games and most of the DLCs and that took me roughly 50+ hours. There’s a lot to get through and play, and it’s a good thing the remaster is solid. Speaking as a fan of the series, I’m really glad to have a good version of the BioShock games on my current gen consoles.
As a whole, the collection is great for newcomers and fans alike. You’re getting three for the price of one. People, what’s not to like? Listening to the thought-provoking babblings of Robert and Rosalind Letuce, the regret in Brigid Tenenbaum and the blind tenacity of Sophia Lamb, was like eavesdropping on a celebrity in a coffee shop. Revisiting the terrific ruins of Rapture and seeing the beauty and wonder of Columbia was a blast. I can’t wait to go back, and I just finished all three games.