Bioshock: The Collection – Bioshock Review

by Kyle
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Bioshock, oh Bioshock… What else is there to say except the fact that these games are incredible. Originally released in 2007, Bioshock was a triumphant hit with critics and players alike. It was praised for its atmospheric environments and focus on morality within its story. 

With all that in mind, the question is… How good is the Bioshock remaster? 

My initial experience with Bioshock: The Collection is what I am basing this review on. I will also try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, as people deserve to experience this all for the first time without interference. It was enjoyable but short-lived. The game froze, but controversially didn’t crash, after about an hour and a half. 

BUT, putting that small hiccup to one side, the remastered Bioshock was fun to play. It is also worth noting that I was playing this at around half-1 in the morning, so… Everything was very spooky.

Bioshock Still Manages To Make You Feel At Home In Rapture.

Rapture is as beautiful as it is strange.

Atmospheric is one word used to describe Bioshock, and right from the start, you feel that. When you scroll down the main menu options, for instance, there are eery piano notes that sound on each one. They’re not in any sequence, and it instantly sucks you into the dystopian nightmare-fest that you discover Rapture to be.

What Bioshock does well in continuing to foster this atmosphere is to use lighting effectively. Rapture is not the most brightly-lit of underwater cities. There are parts of it that resemble Atlantis, from Aquaman (2018), but for the most part, it is darker. A lot darker. The first encounter with an enemy is an excellent example of this. 

You come up against a Female Splicer, essentially meth-heads that have dabbled in way too much ADAM, and she is terrifying. Aside from the sparsely scattered neon lighting, which contributes to the twenties-inspired Art Deco style, there is little else to guide your way. This makes the fight terrifying. Splicers are quick, and they like to jump out from the shadows and smack you in the face. Thankfully, they’re not too difficult in the early-game, but it was still a bit of an intense encounter. 

Bioshock’s Splicers are perpetually dressed for an evening on the town, while also being terrifying.

Bioshock Looks Nicer, But It Is Still Understandably Rough.

Graphically, the Bioshock remaster is what you expect. The textures are updated, with crisper edges and more detail, but on the whole, you can tell it is a remaster. There are parts of it that still look dated, the odd animation which you find yourself focusing on. Particularly, I felt the HUD and UI could have done with more polishing.

Despite all this, though, it doesn’t lose the charm it had in 2007. It’s still a great-looking game, and each environment is wonderfully detailed. Immersion is key for Bioshock, and thankfully, it doesn’t lose this with it’s graphical updates.

A quick note on the story, as to not avoid this completely. From what I played, it was good. Atlas spins you a tale that instantly has you wanting to help the man save his family. To be fair to him, he does help you out with dealing with the Splicer, so it seems only right to continue risking your life for a man you don’t know who just decides to start talking in your ear after you’re in a plane crash. 

The more I think about it… The more it could all be in his head… No, no. I’m sure he’s perfectly fine. 

Anyway, you soon get introduced to the infamous Andrew Ryan, the not-so-good, pretty bad, kind of ugly, of Bioshock. He instantly comes across as paranoid and power-hungry in his brief speech at the player. Personally, I found the fact that he was punishing me for quite-literally no reason enough to make me want to take him down. I suppose it was convenient that this also aligned itself with Atlas’ goals of saving his family.

Andrew Ryan is as mysterious as he is creepy.

As I stated previously, shortly after this, the game broke while I was trying to drink some whiskey. So I stopped. But as soon as I finish writing this… I’m going back, and I think that says enough about the game’s story. I want to play it and I want to find out what happens.

What Didn’t I Like About Bioshock?

One issue I had was the controller layout and the inability to change this. Back in 2007, I am sure the Bioshock control scheme wasn’t weird, but in today’s gaming climate… It felt wrong. For example, the triangle button was jump. 

TRIANGLE WAS JUMP!

I spent half the time playing accidentally pressing the cross button and wondering why nothing was happening. Not only this, but the left stick was crouch. I know this is less strange, but for a first-person shooter, it felt odd. 

Also, I found it strange that you have your Skyrim-like magic plasmid powers on the left, and your wrench/revolver on the right, but you can’t have both equipped at once. There are no ADS, so you don’t need L2 when you have your gun equipped. Why not just save time by allowing you to have both out at the same time? I know these things shouldn’t bug me, and I should just enjoy the game, but they do. 

The Player essentially jabs this into their arm to get new Plasmids (They’re like Skyrim magic)

Even still, I would rate Bioshock, from Bioshock: The Collection, a solid 7/10. This is a little less than IGN (8.2) and Metacritic (8.4) but… Maybe they’re wrong?

Bioshock is creepy when it needs to be creepy and wonderfully immersive. There are a few drawbacks for me personally, but I can understand that they won’t change and I have to live with them. 

Bioshock: The Collection is free right now for PlayStation Plus members. Check out what else is available in our article here.

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