The BioShock series is one of the most well received of the last generation. With the last addition, BioShock: Infinite, coming out in 2013 and still no mention of a current gen addition to the series, it was no surprise when 2K announced BioShock: The Collection, bringing together the original BioShock, BioShock 2 and Infinite for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.
At gamescom, I got my hands on the PS4 version of the collection for around half an hour to see how it compares to the originals.
While we may have been playing an early build, it’s important to note the unusual way in which the collection was presented. On the PlayStation 4 version, the game was split across two icons, one hosting BioShock 1 & 2, while the other was for BioShock Infinite. In booting up the former, you are given the choice of which game you want to jump into, the selection then taking you into that game’s main menu. Unlike The Nathan Drake Collection, for example there’s no way to jump between games through menus; if you wanted to play some BioShock 2 after launching the original, the only way to do so would be to close down the application, restart it and make your selection again.
Of course, that’s only a minor nuisance on the grand scale of things, with the first two games, according to 2K now running natively at 60fps and 1080p. With my short time playing through the both of them I certainly didn’t notice any dips in quality during combat or otherwise.
The opening of the original BioShock might be one of the best in a videogame to date, and of course, it retains its eeriness to no end in the remaster. The improved textures really highlight the fragility and tales of Rapture while in the second, the destruction feels like it has been emphasised, though the cinematics in BioShock 2 did seem slightly grainy in places.
Bioshock: Infinite will not quite be three years old by the time BioShock: The Collection comes out so it’s no surprise that it hasn’t received as thorough a face lift as the previous two entries. The guys from 2K were quick to tell me to what level the first two games had be remastered but remained relatively coy on Infinite. However, when asked what sort of rework it had received on consoles they told me to consider it more of a “high resolution version” of the game rather than a full remaster, similar to a version found on a high-spec PC.
What will perhaps please fans most is how porters Blind Squirrel have chosen to stay as true to the originals as possible, not just in style, but in gameplay too. This means that resource management of BioShock 2 remains, along with the somewhat difficult combat of the original, so don’t expect to simply blitz through it now with refined Call of Duty style shooting mechanics and controls.
You will also be pleased to know that all the previously released DLC for every game in the series is present. This means that the likes of Minerva’s Den and Burial at Sea, both add-ons who some argue are better than their main game’s story, are available from the word go, without having to complete the main campaign.
In this era of remasters, it’s refreshing to see a series that is so highly regarded getting a port to current consoles. With my brief time playing BioShock: The Collection, it is clear the care and attention that it was been given, without losing any of it’s gritty style or setting. If you’re looking for a reason to get back to it, or if you missed it first time around, now you’ve got no excuse.