Spencer Smith ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
To say the BioShock franchise is one of the most important in modern video games isn’t an uncommon thing to say, yet it is more uncommon to say how it is is. BioShock was one of the modern industry’s first successful forays into controversial, deep subject matter, both in how it explores the dangers of extremism and deconstructs the state of shooters nowadays. BioShock Infinite, meanwhile, possesses less of the deftness and grace of the first but still packs quite the punch.
The BioShock Collection is a collection of the three games, the first two having been remastered for all platforms but Infinite only for Xbox One and PS4. Additionally, while you’ll have to pay a $60 price tag for consoles, if you happen to have the original games on your Steam account, you get BioShock and BioShock 2 remastered for free, both of which include all of the content from the console version.
By content, that essentially means The BioShock Collection includes the original games and nothing new. More on the remastering later, but the main games are basically untouched. Aside from some issues with the controls, they all play fairly well, the first two following the same gameplay style of System Shock 2, with a focus on traditional style shooters with a bit of RPG elements within. The second game’s main shortcoming is that it essentially is an expansion pack; it plays almost identically despite the then-touted dual wielding gameplay addition. BioShock Infinite adopts some unwanted side effects of modern shooters (two weapon loud out, even less RPG elements, and making the Vigors boring) but it works ini part due to the swashbuckling nature. The A.I. is challenging and the Skyhook system takes advantage of the “city in the sky” setting quite nicely. Though the series is more about the mix of gameplay and story, the gameplay itself has always been a staple of well-designed action games. Yet, as far as remastering goes, nothing really plays into that…. except one thing.
The BioShock Collection, while a nice little upgrade to give you an excuse to play the games again, isn’t worth paying a $60 price tag. If anything, simply dust off your last generation console and replay them there. While the graphical upgrades are nice, it’s not as if the games needed them. The reason they still look good by today’s standards is that they mostly don’t go for realism but for an exaggerated visual style. So, while it’s nice to have this upgrade, it’s far from something essential.
Insofar as extra features, I should just say extra feature. Singular: The Director’s Commentary/Making of Doc: Imagining BioShock. It’s a touch disappointing to see what could’ve been a deep look into the game and its development essentially turn into nothing more than a cookie cutter Q&A session with Ken Levine, lead artist/animator Shawn Robertson, and video game journalism’s biggest hack, Geoff Keighley. Also, this interview series will likely surface online any day now.
So in the end, there’s nothing really to buy here. Sure, it’s definitely worth replaying the games, but one doesn’t have to fork over $60 to do that. If you only have a next generation console and don’t own any of these games, then by all means, check this out. However, the games aren’t that old, and if you already own them then don’t even bother with The BioShock Collection at this price. It’s not worth paying extra for something you already have.