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Review: Bioshock: The Collection

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If you’ve played a Bioshock game before, you know how good the franchise is. If not, you owe it to yourself to find out just what the hell I’m talking about. Thankfully, 2K’s made that incredibly easy on current-gen with the new Bioshock: The Collection.

A bundle of Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite… and with black sheep sequel Bioshock 2 also thrown in for good measure, the two-disc physical edition is a 1080p, 60 frames-per-second masterpiece — without issue — showing the likes of Capcom how to do a bundle properly.

There are no framerate drops. No dodgy textures. The integrity of in-game mechanics are polished and hold up to the scrutiny we 2016-based reviewers can place upon them.

I won’t even wait until the end of this review to tell you that, simply put, it’s worth a purchase.

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Bioshock

Bioshock was the game in the bundle that I was most worried about. It had the possibility of looking the most dated, and using mechanics that had simply moved on and evolved. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Apart from weird button configurations (that can be fixed), playing Bioshock was like meeting up with an old friend. You might be looking a little worse for wear, but that bastard sitting across the table from you looks just as he did in 2007. Hell, perhaps a bit better.

While shooting and plasmid mechanics remain tight as ever, Bioshock’s wonderful mystery is what cemented the work as a classic. Today, on my sixth or seventh playthrough, I can’t help but get wrapped up in Rapture.

The beauty about Bioshock – and the franchise itself – is that there are so many ways to play. Some prefer the stealthy approach, wrench in hand and freeze plasmid at the ready. Others run and gun. I prefer a mixture of two, hacking turrets and security bots to help thin the Splicer herd as I progress. The blend of systems and weaponry means for infinite diversity in infinite combinations, to rip of Mr. Spock, and it’s the reason we all seem to keep coming back for more.

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Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 isn’t a bad game, it’s just a rather uninspired one. Developed by 2K Marin rather than mainstay 2K Boston, aka Irrational Games, the franchise’s first sequel is actually a prequel, set in Rapture two years before the events of the first. Big Daddies, Splicers and Little Sisters are all back, and while it’s a solid romp, it’s mostly one you’ve done before.

Of course, things are a bit different – you actually play as a powered up Big Daddy in this iteration, for one. There’s more of an emphasis on traps, which played into Irrational’s proper sequel, Infinite. Finally, a sequence near the end of the title, where as you play as a different character, needs to be experienced at least once.

While looking and playing quite well, this is probably the one title in The Collection that you could skip and play at a later date. If then.

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Bioshock Infinite

While Bioshock 2 was more of the same, Infinite turned everything on its head before a major twist makes you realise things are more the alike than you thought. We won’t spoil any more than that, but the same sense of mystery and exploration rears its head as quickly in Infinite as in the original.

Weighing in at 35GB, Infinite clearly looks the best out of the three games, and a more modern default control scheme means it plays better as well.

Read our full review of Bioshock Infinite here.

The only reason I can think of to not buy the bundle on current-gen consoles is that there’s simply too much to play that’s new right around this time. With new entries from Destiny, Battlefield, Titanfall, Forza Horizon, Call of Duty and more looming directly ahead, 2K’s decision to release The Collection now, and not two months ago, is quite astonishing.

Even then, this is an extremely solid bundle worth your hard earned. Grab it. Relieve some great gaming moments of the past and be thankful that your nostalgic memories aren’t tainted with expectations that can’t be lived up to today. Bioshock‘s still got it — even if you can’t use current-gen OS to actually capture any of it all at present.

Bioshock: The Collection was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher.

 

Review: Bioshock: The Collection

The good

  • Bioshock is as good as it was when first released in 2007.
  • Crisp, clear, fluid graphics and gameplay.
  • Solid in every sense.

The bad

  • Terrible release timing.
  • The restrictions on in-game capture sure suck.

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