BioShock Retextured: A Slightly Disgruntled Review of BioShock: The Collection.
A plane crash followed by a lazy swim to a gilded lighthouse and an eerie trip into the depths are all that is required to revisit Rapture and one of the most gripping gaming experiences of the last decade.
BioShock: The Collection bundles together the iconic trilogy, including all relevant DLC. Players who already own BioShock and BioShock 2 will receive the remastered versions free of charge, however for newcomers to the series, BioShock: The Collection retails at around R561.00 on the steam store and is a steal considering the individual games tally up to slightly scary R1140.00.
This is not to say that I recommend jumping right in and buying it. The PC version I obtained is a product of what can only be described as the laziest and most primitive case of PC porting that I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. Bad enough that it has earned an affectionate rename among players from BioShock Remastered to BioShock Retextured.
While Infinite remains much the same game due to its relative recent release date, BioShock and BioShock 2 both earned graphics and texture overhauls with the original BioShock affected the most. Not only were 2K able to beautify Rapture but also enforce mouse smoothing and acceleration, offer no support for 5.1 surround sound, limit the FOV, ruin your life if you posses a screen with a native aspect ratio of 21:9, and provide such a pitiful selection of graphics options that it is not even worth opening up the settings menu. BioShock 2 Remastered offers a slight improvement on this, allowing you to turn off mouse acceleration and fiddle with a few measly graphics settings.
It can be argued that some of these ‘minor’ problems can be fixed by locating and editing a .ini file in the game folder but it should not be on the players heads to fix the developer’s lackadaisical approach to an otherwise incredible game. If you intend to play any of the franchise on PC, I highly recommend waiting for a patch to fix these issues before parting with your money. Alternately, if you own a console dive right into an immersive experience that will wrest you from every other facet of your life until completion.
Gripes aside, the original BioShock received the biggest visual buff and while it isn’t quite on par with cutting edge titles, the passages of Rapture feel that little bit more haunting. The texture buffs combined with flickering and muttering from dark corners have upped the game’s creepy factor. Faces now have detail and character putting you a little more on edge when they get up close. In terms of gameplay, there are no noticeable changes but veterans of the series will now be able to hunt through every nook and cranny to unlock an exclusive director’s commentary video series titled “Imagining BioShock”. It’s a little disappointing that this is the only new content introduced across the trilogy but interesting to watch nevertheless.
BioShock 2 gets a very mild visual update with the improved lighting the most significant change. However those finding the gameplay mechanics of the first title a little archaic will be refreshed by the ability to dual wield both plasmids and weapons. The story feels too much like a re-do of the original though and the multiplayer has been removed which in my mind is not a train smash.
BioShock Infinite is my personal favourite of the trilogy. After two titles worth of Rapture’s Art Deco styled underwater city, the floating citadel is a lovely sight to behold. Perhaps not as visually striking as when it was first released, but entirely revitalising nevertheless. The bright and beautiful citadel combined with a storyline worthy of the original BioShock make it a must play. I just wish it had received any type of new content in The Collection.
BioShock: The Collection is a must play for anyone looking for a totally immersive first person shooter. However, the PC version has some serious shortcomings that require a little bit of attention from the developers before it is fully worth your time and effort. The original has received a noticeable visual buff and features an unlockable director’s commentary while BioShock 2 gets a slightly more refined workabout with no new content. BioShock Infinite is exactly as it was on release a few years ago, but a fantastic story line and refreshing visuals are enough of an excuse for me to play it again. For anyone who hasn’t given these games at least a cursory glance, I highly recommend you do!
BioShock The Collection Rating: 8/10
Check out the BioShock website: The Collection