Its the 2K time of the year. Between the release of NBA 2K17 last month (which we think is one of the best NBA games in a long time), and the recent release of Mafia 3 last week (which had a troubled release on PC), all focus is currently on the next big 2K release, namely WWE 2K17 (we will be unboxing the NXT edition of the game soon). But among this flood of releases from 2K, they also quietly released the Bioshock The Collection. We had a chance to try out the remastered collection on the PS4 and played it over the past 2 weeks, digging deep into the Bioshock universe both underwater and in the sky.
First things first. I seriously considered staring off with Bioshock Infinite. Since it’s a prequel and all, and I thought the whole story arc would be more cohesive. But the fact that I have never played a Bioshock game before, coupled with the fact that earlier games have cumbersome controls, it made more sense to start with the first game in the series.
Best decision I have ever made.
BioShock: The Collection
(+) Bioshock (The first shock ever)
As is understandable, the first game in the series, gets the best facelift. I compared the footage that I captured and compared it with footage from the original on Youtube, and there is a definite upgrade in visuals. I have noticed that the remastered collection had some performance problem on the PC on its launch (which is becoming all too common these days), but on the console the game ran smoothly, the sound was terrific, and the control response; crunchy.
Though I have to say, the control scheme is a little awkward, and it takes a little getting used to. For eg. Jump is attached to the Triangle button among others make the scheme feel non-intuitive. Also there is no run button, so you can’t rush through corridors or pathways. Though I think that was done more on purpose.
Because the environment in the game is just top notch.
The feeling of being not being alone in a dark underwater claustrophobic city is done with brilliance. Light and shadows play tricks, and you hear voices from the shadows egging you on or riling you up. I jumped out of my seat a few times during my play-through, and after each one I could feel myself grinning, complementing the creators on a job well done.
The original Bioshock shines in its first hour, when you are only armed with a monkey wrench and are at your most vulnerable. The game becomes much easier and decidedly less scary as you discover more powers and weapons.
(-) Bioshock 2 (Return to Rapture)
The original Bioshock placed you in the shoes of a man, who ends up on Rapture almost accidentally. In the sequel though, you play as Big Daddy in search of his lost Little Sister. This twist on the game works well on the level that it makes it more fun as you find yourself in the shoes of one the most interesting character in the last game. But it does take away from the experience.
As you are not a scared, un-armed human anymore. Instead you are this huge, armored bad-ass who has a drill for an arm.
Apart from that though Bioshock plays as good as the original Bioshock, and the control scheme are much better this time around, with variety making way for ease of use. One option missing from the 2nd Bioshock is the Field of View slider option. Not sure how many gamers will be using it on console though, so it felt a little redundant.
Once again the graphics are updated, but visiting Raputre again feels counter-productive, and at times I wanted to rush through the game so that I could fire up Infinite, just so I could get myself some change in scenery.
(+) Bioshock Infinite (From the Ocean into the Sky)
Bioshock Infinite keeps the fun aspect of the original Bioshock, and replaces the claustrophobic terror of the first one, with the vertigo inducing vistas of New Colombia. Playing as a totally new character Booker, another bad-ass who has a hook-thingy for arm, Bioshock Infinite appeals both artistically and philosophically.
Story wise, Bioshock does a great job of being a prequel. The references to Rapture are not overt and yet clear enough for anyone who has played the previous 2 games. In fact, one of the best part of the game is the Death by Burial D.L.C, which involves Booker visiting a fully populated, and flourishing Rapture. I played the 3 games one after the other, and the nostalgia was still strong.
Visually Infinite has the least to offer when it comes to upgrade, which is perhaps the reason the game is not included in the PC remaster version.
Game-play wise Bioshock has its movements, especially when you pull off those hook/pulley contraption combo. Other times it feels clumsy when you miss out on a well timed shot. The clumsiness of a first person shooter not developed by Activision are all there, but its refined enough to not get in your way too many times.
(+) Behind the Screen
Going into the technical aspects. All 3 games ran smoothly on the PS4. There were no sluggish cut-scenes, no frame drops, and as of yet the game has crashed a total of 1 time during the original Bioshock. Everything smells of a well optimized game here, which is the norm these days with games primed for the current gen consoles. I have nothing against that though, and I enjoyed my time with the collection.
Also none of the games have carried their multiplayer mode over to the game. Which is reasonable as the single player has always has been the forte of the series, and that is what the devs have focused on in the remaster.