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Review: Bioshock: The Collection (Switch)

8.5

Great

It’s been 13 years since we took that fateful trip down to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to Rapture, and video games would never be the same again. Now the iconic Bioshock: The Collection makes its way to the Nintendo Switch in one of the best ports probably created for the console.

We know that the Bioshock games are all very well received since they were launched on previous generation consoles and PC, as well as remasters on the current generation PS4 and Xbox One consoles. But what makes it one of the best ports of these sorts of games for the Nintendo Switch? Well, without dawdling around any longer, let’s dive right into it.

The technical details

Bioshock: The Collection consists of the three main games in the series, Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite. The Minerva’s Den  DLC of Bioshock 2, as well as the two Burial at Sea episodes for Bioshock Infinite, are also included in the overall package. So it is a lot of game for your buck.

With all that game comes the requirement for a lot of storage space on your Nintendo Switch, with all three games taking up a whopping 42GB if you want to install all three of them at the same time. Luckily, the storage constraints of the Nintendo Switch has been taken into consideration by the developers and you can install each of the three games individually, unlike other versions of The Collection lumping Bioshock 1 & 2 together.

But with the storage sacrifice made you can rest assured that you’re getting a very well made port of all three games that looks amazing and runs incredibly well on the Switch’s less powerful hardware. All three games run at a very solid 30 fps at 1080P while docked and 720P in handheld mode. The Nintendo Switch versions are in essence the same as the Remasters for the PS4 and Xbox One, with all the same assets and added details included, but it just runs at a lower framerate. So what we have is a very good looking game on what is essentially a handheld console.

The games, however, are best played in docked mode for various reasons, especially Bioshock Infinite. First off, the games are first-person shooters that require some precision aiming, something that the Joycons really cannot supply. Auto-aim does help a lot, but moving around shooting and aiming can be very challenging while on a small screen with reduced control. It really is best enjoyed playing with a Pro Controller. On Infinite, you have the added handicap of the text of menus and items being super tiny and almost impossible to read while in handheld mode, so it doesn’t translate over to the smaller screen that well. This is not the case with Bioshock 1 & 2 however. It still best to enjoy the games while home and having it docked to your TV.

Other than the handheld mode being a bit of a miss, I can hardly find any fault with these ports and think it is fantastic.

There is always a lighthouse

If for some reason you’ve managed to avoid the Bioshock series up until now but are curious and own a Switch, then now is as good a time as ever. I don’t go into any of the plot details as it has some incredible storytelling and twists throughout that is best experienced for yourself, but here is a bit of what the games are about.

In Bioshock you play as a character named Jack, who finds himself inside an underwater dystopian city called Rapture, which was intended as a city isolated from the politics and religion of the world up above. By the time you get there, the place has fallen apart with many of the denizens running around using a substance called ADAM which gives people superhuman powers. The game takes place in an alternative 1960 and sees you travel through the city trying to find out what’s going on and why you are there.

There is a survival horror element to the game and you will need to use everything at your disposal in order to overcome the challenges. Ammunition is scarce and you will use Plasmids, which is powered by ADAM and gives you abilities like shocking your enemies or setting them alight. You will encounter a myriad of strange and colourful characters, including the ever imposing Bioshock mascots, the Big Daddies, which are like mini-bosses, tasked with protecting the little sisters who harvest the ADAM from the dead.

Bioshock 2 takes place a few years after the events of the first game and this time around you play as Delta, the very first Big Daddy, who sets out to find his own Little Sister to save her and himself. Bioshock 2 is more of the same as Bioshock, and while it doesn’t have as strong a narrative as the first game, it still holds up and is my personal favourite in the series for improved gameplay alone. Both games feature some choices which have a dramatic impact on the ending of the game.

Bioshock Infinite changes things up a bit and sees you play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent sent to a floating 1912 city in the sky called Columbia to find Elizabeth. The gameplay is a lot faster paced with a lot more verticality included to it and it along with the excellent Burial at Sea DLC ties up the series incredibly well.

A masterpiece still today

The collection of Bioshock games still remains one of the best video games series ever made. The fact that it holds up so well even today is testament to how well it was made back then. It looks amazing with the fresh coat of paint, the gameplay still works and the stylistic art style that was employed has aged incredibly well. Yes, the handheld mode of the Switch doesn’t work so well, but it is rather the limitations of the hardware than the amazing work done to port it over to it.

It doesn’t matter if your new to the series or an old fan. If you don’t own Bioshock: The Collection yet and intend to play it on Switch, then you owe it to yourself to give this one a try. It really is worth it.

Good

  • All the Bioshock
  • Looks really good, even on Switch
  • Narrative is worth it alone
  • All the included DLC
  • Still holds up even today

Bad

  • Handheld is a bit of a miss with controls and small text on Infinite
  • Nothing else really

Summary

Bioshock: The Collection is one of the best collections of games available on all platforms, and the Nintendo Switch version of the game is no different. It looks incredible and still plays very well, especially in docked mode with a Pro controller. Handheld is a bit of a miss with the Joycons not being too well suited for first-person shooters. Overall the experience is very good and definitely worth a look.
8.5

Great

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