BioShock: The Collection Review
BioShock: The Collection reminds me of my ten year high school reunion. A lot of faces have changed and there is potential for a lot of new things to talk about, but for some not much has changed. The overall experience can be a lot of fun or a drag and for some avoided completely. My BioShock collection experience was also much like my reunion and filled with mixed emotions.
First in the series is BioShock which is set in 1960. You play as Jack who has survived a plane crash and is led to a deep-sea world called Rapture. You're contacted and enlisted early on by a guy named Atlas who guides you through the nooks and crannies of Rapture which has a steampunk type feel to it. Along the way you meet many other characters that I consider "puppet masters", seeking their own control of Rapture by any means possible - mostly in the form of failed science experiments out to kill you. Being influenced by these "puppet masters", Jack is faced with many controversial decisions along the way and yet none of them seem beneficial to him getting out of Rapture and only serve the benefit of others. What BioShock does best is character introduction and development. On the surface there are a lot of plot twists which are hard to keep track of, but through discoverable media the plot becomes clearer and even more intriguing. BioShock has by far one of the most in-depth storylines in a game in the last ten years.
The most noticeable change is the graphics which gives the aging game a nice facelift. The colors are vibrant, and the models and textures are polished. To this day Rapture is one of the most memorable and unique environments I have experienced. The game overall has aged well, but can still feel dated. For one, the control scheme is very clunky. Magic abilities, AKA Plasmids, are associated with the left hand while your weapons on the right. However, both cannot be activated at the same time and you constantly have to switch between the two. Even though I played the game before I still had a problem getting used to controls. The other addition to the remaster is the newly added film collectibles. These film reels give players a behind the scenes look on how the game was made. While interesting, I myself didn't really take the time to watch each reel I collected.
BioShock 2 brings you back to Rapture two years before the original and from the perspective of one of the most prominent characters in Rapture, a Big Daddy. For those who haven't played the original, a Big Daddy is one of the enemies you fought and envied. Sadly, BioShock 2 just doesn't feel as special as the original and is basically a rehash, but still it is just as intriguing and enjoyable. Because it has been remastered there might be a slight touchup on the graphics, but that is where we end. Multiplayer has been removed (don't worry you aren't missing anything) and no added film reels for a behind the scenes look. On the plus side you can now dual-wield your plasmid and weapon, woohoo!
Meanwhile BioShock Infinite is where the series gets a change in scenery and one that is welcomed. Infinite is set in 1912 and instead of being underwater for the third time we are now playing in the heavens in a steampunk city called Columbia. You play as Booker who is sent to Columbia to find and return a girl to clear away all of your debt. While trying to find "the girl", later known as Elizabeth, you are seen as the "False Shepard" out to corrupt Elizabeth and overthrow Columbia. Pretty much the entire city is now against you, but you eventually meet people that are willing to help you get out of Columbia as long as you help them in return. Infinite early on seems like a rehash of 1 and 2, but tosses in time rifts and alternate realities - which is appropriate for the name, but I found it harder to follow and found myself starting to trail off and become disconnected and less focused. Overall Infinite is a joyride and a fresh direction for the series and the added DLC is some of the best I have played for any series.
Any gamer that hasn't had the chance to experience BioShock should heavily consider grabbing a copy of the collection. For starters it comes with all three games, including DLC, and is easily some of the best, unique, and memorable experiences in FPS gaming in the last ten years. For those that have played the series, you will probably have a high school reunion reaction like I did. You'll see new faces (better graphics), potentially new things to talk about (behind the scenes look at the creation of BioShock and playing all DLC you may have missed), or avoiding it completely.
Final Rating: 82% - A decade's worth of memorable gaming in one collection.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.