BioShock Reviews

  • Deranged AsylumDeranged Asylum498,494
    21 Sep 2016 24 Jun 2017
    30 4 4
    Original Post

    Bioshock: The Collection Review

    Is a gamer not entitled to a triple-A experience when he pays for a triple-A game? No, says the man at EA. The experience is multiplayer only! No, says the man at Activision. The experience is nothing more than a poor man’s Halo with meaningless lore dumped upon it. No, says the man at Ubisoft. The experience must be patched in after you’ve parted with your cash. Irrational Games rejected those answers. Instead, they chose something different. They chose the impossible. They chose… Bioshock: The Collection. A collection where the fan can meander through memory lane. Where the newbie can discover some of the finest games of the last decade. Where anyone can be rewarded by a HD re-release that pulls no punches and throws in as much additional content as it can in order to earn your money (since the Bioshock series doesn’t have to work too hard anymore to earn gaming’s respect). And with this review, Bioshock: The Collection can become a part of your collection as well.

    Forgive this parasite for his plagiarism, but I simply had to pay homage to the superb Andrew Ryan of Bioshock. Returning to the lighthouse and descending into the art-deco, demented and dangerous world of Rapture is as chilling now as it was when Bioshock first invited us to party like it’s 1959 back on Xbox 360. What more can one write about this game? Innumerable accolades, a phenomenal script infused with intensity and literary prowess that to this day has yet to be surpassed, and a cast of characters that pulled and played with the player’s ethics and morals in order to deliver some of the most memorable dialogue ever committed to video games. Bioshock: The Collection’s first act is – and always will be – simply magical and I cannot praise this game enough. Yes, I am a fan. I love Bioshock. Think of me what you will – whether you think my insights and observations are marred by my love of the game, or if you understand that the finer qualities of this title has earned my respect – I leave the distinction to you.

    Be that as it may, the brilliance of Bioshock can be relived, with a supplementary facelift that affords the game a sleeker, shinier visage. The enhanced visuals, along with minor technical improvements such as improved physics, deliver a truly invigorating Bioshock experience. Gameplay hasn’t changed at all, with a steady mix of exploration and firefights intermingled with one another, delivering a real gauntlet of genres’: crafting elements, FPS gameplay, RPG-style progression… and maybe a slight dab of horror here and there all unite under the masterful craftsmanship of the sorely missed Irrational Games. What’s more, with all the post-game DLC, an interactive underwater museum full of fascinating concept art and fully-rendered 3D models never-before seen in Bioshock, and a director’s commentary, this truly is a re-release worth re-releasing. Although the director’s commentary has to be found via gameplay through the discovery of ‘golden reels’ hidden in levels, this isn’t such a bad thing. As if the incentive to trawl the halls of Rapture wasn’t immense already, the added bonus of sleuthing your way through the game in order to find ever more collectables will give returning players something new to aim for, rather than simply reliving the glory that is Bioshock. Spaces look prettier, lighting looks light-ier and everything sounds better. As far as updates go, this is a job well done, that was already done superbly well several years ago.

    Now, to all parents’ out there. You know where I’m coming from when I talk about the sequel to one of the finest video games ever made, insofar that when I say Bioshock 2 is the child no one ever says they love more, you get what I mean. Sure, all your children are precious, magical, insert adjectives ad nauseam: but when it comes down to it, all children are precious… but some are more precious than others. It might be fairer to say that Bioshock 2 is the Majora’s Mask to Bioshock’s Ocarina of Time. Bioshock 2 is still the graphically superior game, and even with it and its predecessor receiving an HD upgrade, Bioshock 2 is not only lovely to look at but markedly so in comparison to its elder sibling. The two are as diametrically opposed as hemispheres of the brain, with Bioshock focusing on the aesthetic veneration of Rapture, the literary storyline and the grandeur of the whole experience. Bioshock 2, however, is technically a more rewarding experience.

    Dynamic use of firearms and plasmids, better physics, and spaces that feel more thought-out when it comes to tackling hordes of enemies or a lone Big Sister. The additional content is quite meagre, but do keep in mind that the early Bioshock games were ‘proper’ games. Remember those? The games that you paid for and got a self-contained, rewarding, fully-realised experience that wasn’t drip-fed to you in monthly instalments for the small price of a down payment of a monthly fee of an expansion pass? Yeah, the extras in Bioshock 2 aren’t much to write to Bungie about, but the single player is a compelling, narrative-focused experience that will have you gripped faster than you can say ‘Underwater Taken movie’. Speaking of shooting stuff, the online multiplayer of Bioshock 2 happily lost its invitation to the Collection in the pneumo line. This bolted-on feature to the original game has thankfully bolted off, and I for one am none the worse for it. Fans of the additional mode may be saddened by its absence, but if a bandwagon-chasing, watered-down version of Bioshock is enough to keep you away from this collection, then more the fool you. The depth of strategy that dual-wielding plasmids and weapons allowed for is still as rewarding as it ever was, and if you can get through the painful pushing-the-circle-into-the-square plot that desperately tries to convince you Sophia Lamb is important, then you’ll have a gay old time returning to Rapture once more.

    Again I must reference the Majora’s Mask/Ocarina of Time divide here because I feel this relationship is analogous with that of the Bioshock twins. One (or rather 2) is technically superior, but the other is… well… the first. The one that ‘made it new’. The initial wave that completely submerged you completely encompassed you with its awe and power and brilliance. Also, the shoe-horning of Sophia Lamb into the socio-political landscape of Rapture is as painful to ingest as it was when Bioshock 2 was initially released. What a difference a Ken Levine makes, am I right? Yes. Yes I am. Why? Because Bioshock Infinite, that’s why. If Bioshock is the OoT of this franchise (sorry to beat this dead Epona, but this analogy still has legs, dammit) then Bioshock: Infinite may very well be the Skyward Sword. ‘Bring us the girl; wipe away the debt’. If ever there was a more powerful and mysterious ultimatum uttered, I should love to hear it. Until then, this single line from the riveting script of Bioshock: Infinite remains as compelling, perplexing and dramatic as the entire game itself. If you haven’t played the third and final sequence in 2K’s dystopian epic, then now is the time.

    Set against a world where American expansionism and patriotism have birthed a world’s fare in the clouds that celebrates the ideal of the United States, Bioshock: Infinite launches players into the sky-city of Columbia: a literal heaven for those seeking a new start and a clean break from the war-torn world order below. Taking on the role of the heroic and mysterious Pinkerton-turned-private eye Booker DeWitt, you must embrace the cloud-continent of Columbia and do battle with its citizens if you are to ever rescue Elizabeth and wipe away your debt. Booker’s modus operandii doesn’t differ from Jack’s, or Subject Delta’s when it comes to combat. ‘Vigors’ imbue Booker with supernatural abilities that, when combined with his trusty marksman skills, give him all manner of options when deciding upon how best to greet the fanatical followers of Columbia’s grand patriarch-come-antagonist, Zackary Hale-Comstock.

    While lacking the nuance and depth that prior installments had regarding story and narrative, the metaphysical implications of Infinite’s story and the sheer shattering of the fourth wall result in a brilliantly told, yet almost impossible to comprehend, narrative. Additionally, the gameplay changes introduced in Infinite try their best to shake up the Bioshock formula of complementing plasmids with gunplay. These changes, however obscure, are appreciated, and the use of Elizabeth’s powers and a hefty arsenal of weapons keeps things interesting as you clash in the clouds with Columbia’s various militia and monstrosities. Moreover, the inclusion of the “Burial at Sea” two-part expansion is well worth the price of the entire collection alone. If you haven’t played this DLC… then just go and play it. I would attempt to construct some elaborate rhetoric urging you – nay, compelling you – to take audience with this DLC until, as if from a plume of opiates, you emerge with a renewed richness of soul and a countenance coloured with every shade of happiness: but what is the point? Infinite’s parting gift – the final installment of it’s long-awaited DLC – is a joy to play. Full of fresh mechanics, never-before seen locales, and enough fan service to make Jessica Nigri look like a cub scout, Bioshock: infinite rounds out this collection in superb fashion.

    Conclusion

    Bioshock: The Collection is simply greater than the sum of its parts. The entire project is a latter-day Half Life, in the sense that the themes, style and character of the Bioshock universe have transcended the games themselves and have since gone on to influence gaming for years after their initial releases. If you are a lover of games or even a casual culture vulture, you must explore Rapture and Columbia for yourself. Admittedly, the collection doesn’t benefit a great deal from the generational leap forward, but that in and of itself is another accolade unto the series. These games have aged superbly well, and are still immensely playable – even by today’s ‘standards’. Now… would you kindly pop to the shop and pick up a copy of Bioshock: The Collection?
    4.0
  • x Mataeus xx Mataeus x1,015,515
    11 Oct 2016 12 Oct 2016
    6 2 2
    This reviews covers The BioShock Collection on the Xbox One.

    Preamble:
    Please note I play a lot of these games on my 'review' tag, and often before achievements are live. As with all of my reviews, the verdict below is based purely on my personal time with the game. My reviews are not influenced by general opinions, they do not draw reference to other people’s experiences (unless I’m reviewing couch co-op play), nor are they based on any one particular element; rather they are an account of my own experiences, and as a result are entirely subjective – as they should be! I try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but in the interest of providing an honest account, some reveals may be necessary. Enjoy smile

    Please COMMENT if you down vote - I take the time to create these reviews for this community; I'd love your feedback!


    Review:
    It’s hard to imagine the Xbox 360 before 2K’s BioShock. Like Bethesda with Oblivion before it, BioShock was a landmark release which went on to define the seventh console generation. Outstanding graphics, story and atmosphere bolstered the superb plasmid/firearms experimental gunplay, leaving players with an experience unlike any other. At a time when the market was saturated with World War II shooters and countless average EA titles, Irrational Games came out from the shadows and handed us a masterpiece of pure, gaming genius. Two sequels followed, both as equally well received, and – as is the tradition with this eight console generation – they now find themselves remastered into one package. It’s time to step backwards, and indeed forwards, to discover what made them so special and see if they deserve a place in your Xbox One collection.

    The first game sees you playing as a man called Jack, the only survivor of a plane crash out at sea. Making your way towards a solitary beacon of light, you swim around the wreckage of the doomed aircraft before entering a lighthouse and taking a bathysphere down into Rapture – an underwater city. Created by Andrew Ryan, Rapture was seen as a utopia where men only had to answer to themselves. No governments or gods would take away the earnings of your hard work. No taxes, no sin – a place where you reap your own rewards of your own hard work. Without spoiling the story, it’s safe to say things went rather awry after the discovery of ADAM, a substance which is capable of genetically modifying a persons DNA. This is how the Plasmids are created, and how you – and your enemies – get your powers. Adam is a highly sought after commodity with terrible side effects, to the point where it causes people to riot and kill to obtain it.

    BioShock 2 introduces a new player character, Subject Delta. Subject Delta is a ‘Big Daddy’, a protector and engineer in the underwater city of Rapture, searching for his ‘Little Sister’ – an orphaned child, genetically engineered to retrieve ADAM from the corpses which litter the city. She is missing, and as her assigned protector you set out to search new areas of Rapture for her whereabouts. BioShock Infinite keeps the gameplay of the first two titles (although plasmids are now known as vigors), but transports the entire experience to a floating city above the clouds. As private investigator Booker DeWitt, you are taken to the metropolis of Columbia with little back story and only one instruction to go on: Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.

    All three BioShock titles play out as smart, tactical first person shooters. They each combine steampunk influenced technology and weaponry with the ability to wield super powers of a sort, known as Plasmids in the first two games and Vigors in Bioshock: Infinite. Combining the use of your powers and your weapons is the key to taking out the enemies found in all three games, and is paramount on the higher difficulties, which I heartily recommend playing. This presents some amazing emergent gameplay: See two enemies running through a pool of water? Zap the pool with your electrical plasmid to stun them and deal massive damage, then turn around and freeze the guy running up behind you before shattering him with your shotgun! All three titles present their shootouts in environments which allow for a fantastic range of freedom in deciding on the best way to despatch your enemies, and the gameplay remains compelling from the first hour of BioShock to the final moments of Infinite.

    The oppressive, tightly packed underwater city of Rapture featured throughout the first two titles contrasts starkly with the bright, colourful and open areas found throughout Columbia in BioShock Infinite, and this is a good thing. As fantastic a realised place as Rapture is, asking the player to wade through it for a third time may be hard going. Remarkably, BioShock’s gameplay translates equally well into both environments, and all three titles remain a constant, unwavering 60fps throughout. Some elements haven’t aged particularly well in the first two titles, such as the lacklustre weapon sounds and the lack of motion capture during cut scenes leading to cartoon-like animations, but by the time we reach Infinite, things have been refined and polished to a clear shine.

    Beyond the gameplay (fantastic) and the graphics (amazing, especially Infinite), I need to talk about the voice acting and story. Both are simply outstanding. A lot of the back story in all three titles is given out in the form of collectable audio logs, and every single character who appears on the recordings is fantastically voiced by the associated actor. Every single performance given throughout all three titles is just incredible, and goes above and beyond simply saying their lines. Insane characters are brought to life with believable gusto, and credit must go to the actors involved for helping to create such an amazing atmosphere. Even the Splicers – BioShock’s generic enemies – have wonderful talent behind them, especially when they are unaware of your presence and just muttering insanely to themselves. Top this off with three great scripts and an overarching plot which the likes of Peter F Hamilton would be envious of, and you have not just a great series of titles with brilliant gameplay, but the plot to match. No McGuffins, no filler, just fantastic story telling.

    All three BioShock games come with their original DLC content, from challenge rooms to extra story chapters, and fans of BioShock 2 from the first time around may be pleased to know the PvP multiplayer has been completely omitted from this release. What we have here is three full games and DLC packed with single player story content and extra modes which focus on the addictive gameplay, and the package is all the better for it. Couple this with unique extras such as an actual playable, hand built museum featuring concept art and 3D models, and the ability to discover new collectable reels in game which provide director’s commentary, and you have much more than a re-release with an unlocked frame rate. You have an actual, genuine remaster. Other developers should take note, as 2K shows the world how it’s done. Of course, it helps that they have three of the best first person shooters ever made to work with.

    Iconic. Groundbreaking. Peerless. Unmatched. Would you kindly go and download this right now?
    5.0