Review: BioShock: The Collection
For many, and rightly, the BioShock trilogy is undoubtedly one of the best sagas of gaming. After the first two episodes set in the same claustrophobic setting of Rapture, the third installment – BioShock Infinite – was the facelift to a license that is now a reference when it comes to single player FPS. So it’s no surprise that with the solid count of current generation of machines in customer’s houses, that 2K Games offers us a remastered version of the three games, neatly bundled as BioShock: The Collection.
Because of the way this collection is launched, I’m going to review this game mainly in a way to answer the simple question: do you need to get this bundle whether you played the original games or not. So if you wish to know the strengths of each game, know that there is a lot of extensively detailed reviews out there, but I’d personally recommend Eurogamer’s review of BioShock (by Kristen Reed), GamesRadar’s review of BioShock 2 (by Charlie Barratt) or my own review of BioShock Infinite right here on the site. In any case, note that the final score of BioShock: The Collection will be on the overall quality of the games, and not just the porting to current generation consoles.
I’ll begin immediately by bluntly saying that these remastered versions are not worth buying if you already own the original games on your old Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles, and especially if you have the PC versions. Unless you are absolutely anal about seeing framerate and resolution upgrades, the changes made in this remaster are almost insignificant, even if the 3 BioShock games are now locked at a constant 60fps and 1080p visual performance. You will notice, mainly on the first episode, the finer lighting effects, more detailed textures, an overall smoother experience of how the BioShock series started.
BioShock 2 meanwhile has a finer display upgrade than its predecessor. However, you should know that the multiplayer mode, introduced for the first time in the franchise is sadly non-existent in this remastered version. Not surprising, but at least to make up for this all of the DLCs released are complied in the collection. BioShock Infinite, meanwhile, is nothing more nor nothing less than the PC port of the game with all extra content that came out with the Season Pass.
You’ll understand if you already know the series, that it is not necessary to buy BioShock: The Collection. The porting in general is a lazy one, not providing enough differences to the original games to warrant a new purchase of around $59.99. Unless you’re a hardcore fan, and want to replay the collection for the sake of the Director’s Commentary called “Imagining BioShock”, and narrated by legendary creative director Ken Levine and Lead Animator Shawn Robertson. But if you’ve never played BioShock or any game in the saga, then this collection will be worth it. The franchise is one of those monuments that must be included in your game library, even if only for the quality of its setting, story and originality of his point. If the first two episodes will make you feel the weight of the years that passed since their launch, BioShock Infinite still offers an intense and refreshing experience even more than three years after its release.
In any case, and despite the years, the BioShock franchise still shines with its unique art direction, claustrophobic mood which can be sometime unhealthy, the quality of the writing, and the various characters you’ll meet (or incarnate) in the three adventures. Sure, do not expect a graphical slap in face, but nevertheless BioShock: The Collection remains an excellent opportunity to discover one of the most remarkable sagas of the last decade.
BioShock: The Collection was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by 2K Games. The collection is also available on PlayStation 4 in digital and retail stores. The PC versions of the first two games are free updates for those that already purchased them, and no upgrade was done on Bioshock Infinite. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
•• A perfect excuse to (re)discover the adventure
• All of the three BioShock and their singleplayer DLCs at a reasonable price
• Visual upgrade to 60fps and 1080p resolution
• The three adventures haven't lost their charm
• A lazy port in general
• Not that many glaring difference with the original titles
• BioShock Infinite is a simple port of the PC version on consoles
• Very dispensable if you've already played all three titles
• The gameplay of the first two episodes bears the weight of the years and feels stiff in terms of mechanics