BioShock: The Collection (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 30.10.2016

Review for BioShock: The Collection on PlayStation 4

The original BioShock made waves when it first came out in 2007. It was a landmark in first-person action with RPG character building, and told a story in a new and exciting way. In 2010, BioShock 2 was released, and while it sported some technical advancements, it pushed the series into a more focused action game, which culminated with the last game in the series, BioShock Infinite, released in 2013. Each game brought something interesting to the table, all while maintaining some of the finest production values, impeccable art direction and unbelievably strong sense of atmosphere, which would often be imitated even to this day.

BioShock: The Collection is mostly a labour of love, which definitely shows the most favouritism towards the original BioShock. The first game was always a gorgeous looking one thanks to the art direction, but the boys at Blind Squirrel Games went back an added some extra visual flourish to make it on par with today's modern releases. The enhancements are subtle in some areas, and in other spots they are breath-taking, such as the added polygon count to many of the 3D models, which makes the characters especially look more natural.

Enhanced lighting and textures give an overall richer visual presentation. Rapture has never looked better, despite being a decrepit underwater city on the verge of destruction. Running at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second, BioShock plays better than ever on consoles, and Blind Squirrel Games even took the extra effort to implement a New Game Plus mode that still allows Trophies to be enabled for any Trophy hunters out there. The original BioShock is definitely the crown jewel of this collection. Anybody who never played this game in its heyday will be in for a treat for sure, and any fans of the original will fall in love all over again.

Screenshot for BioShock: The Collection on PlayStation 4

BioShock 2 was a bit of an oddity during its initial release. While the core game is still fantastic, calling it a sequel just never sat right with most people, despite taking place in Rapture. It does have its own story and characters that are fleshed out just as well as the predecessor, but they just are not as interesting. BioShock is a tough act to follow, and while BioShock 2 does have its standout moments and is clearly the more ambitious game, this sequel does lean towards action more than horror. For some, this is an interesting shift.

Since Subject Delta handles more responsively than Jack, this gives BioShock 2 more intense action set-pieces and generally has much more grandiose scope. In BioShock: The Collection, BioShock 2 is given a spit-shine to make it all it can be. The boost in frame rate and extra visual clarity makes the action flow nicely without stutter. BioShock 2 has a lot of action in it, with many enemies of varying types and sizes making full-on assaults. This is a more straightforward conversion, with not as many enhancements as the original BioShock, but a worthy sequel that sadly gets retconned thanks to the next game and its DLC.

Screenshot for BioShock: The Collection on PlayStation 4

After not being a part of the development of BioShock 2, the series creator and director of the first game is back in full force in BioShock Infinite. The big irony of the third title is that it strayed away even more from the core pillars of BioShock that even its slightly less interesting sequel managed to abide by. In 2013, BioShock Infinite was either considered a huge disappointment or it was "Game of the Year," but now that the dust has been settled, everyone can see what BioShock Infinite truly is: a pretty fun action game with amazing production value and atmosphere. Its biggest flaws are that the game can be best summed up in two words: missed opportunity.

The first half of the game is amazing and has incredible build-up and atmosphere. The stakes are clear and the story flows at a steady clip until a certain event happens roughly at the mid-point of the game, where the story and basically everything leading up to it feels of little consequence. It is at this moment that BioShock Infinite becomes an incoherent mess and very difficult to follow, and so many questions arise. Even many aspects of the gameplay are missed opportunities, especially for anybody who has seen the gameplay trailers from 2010, which displays like a hundred features, characters and scenes that were never in the final game. Songbird is still an afterthought and has almost no presence, and is still unfought as a boss, which he should have been. The handymen are still barely in the game, with a whopping four total in the entire adventure.

Screenshot for BioShock: The Collection on PlayStation 4

BioShock Infinite may not be the grand epic that was promised, but the core game is still one of the great swashbuckling first-person action games to be played on PS4. Columbia is such a stark contrast to Rapture and is so memorable in its own right that it holds up even by today's standards. It is easy to not progress forward and get lost in the details that Irrational Games meticulously crafted. Sure, BioShock Infinite is a more "by the numbers" action game, with scripted events, meaningless "choices" and a lame two-weapon limit, but it's not hard to be swept up by its charms. It must be mentioned that the game got the least attention when it comes to updating for the conversion, and is really just the PC version running on medium to high settings. It is also disappointing that BioShock Infinite does have some minor frame skipping when loading areas during traversal.

Included in BioShock: The Collection is also every piece of DLC that was made for all three titles. While the extra content for BioShock is largely unremarkable and forgettable, it is Minerva's Den and Burial at Sea parts one and two that form enough content to qualify as a fourth game. Burial at Sea, while having amazing story additions and serving as the closure to the franchise, is the weakest in terms of presentation. The DLC chapters are sadly rife with frame rate drops and lots of screen tearing. In spite of some inconsistent presentation, BioShock: The Collection is absolutely worth a buy for all the content included.

Screenshot for BioShock: The Collection on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

BioShock: The Collection is a pretty good compilation of some of the best first-person action—and sometimes horror—gaming around. It is unfortunate that it is not the greatest it could be, and that only the first game was given the best treatment, but these games have never looked or ran better on consoles before. Anyone who never played these titles should definitely give this a shot.

Developer

Irrational

Publisher

2K

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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