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BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION is Worth Diving Back Into (Preview)

BIOSHOCK: THE COLLECTION is Worth Diving Back Into (Preview)

Can you believe that it’s already been nine years since BioShock was originally released? No? Well neither can we, but it’s true. 2007 was the first time we dove into Andrew Ryan’s insane underwater Utopian city of Rapture, and it’s almost time to return. Considering this is one of the best games ever created, there has been an understandable amount of excitement surrounding the recently announced title BioShock: The Collection, despite there being some “remaster” fatigue in the gaming community. We recently got our hands on said remasters from Blind Squirrel Games and the collection is looking rather splendid.

BioShock: The Collection will include all three games, with the first two being on the same disc, and BioShock Infinite included on its own. All three will run at 1080p resolution at up to 60 fps–which is pretty standard for remastered games these days. Though the spike in resolution is nice for all three, it is most noticeable in the original BioShock. But don’t shrug off the sequel and Infinite; both look absolutely brilliant. I was actually (bio)shocked by how great Infinite looks on new hardware. I guess I forgot that the game did push graphical limits when it launched back in 2013. It also helps that the art direction on the series has always been incredible.

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All of the single-player DLC (even the BioShock Infinite pre-order bonuses that were exclusive to different retailers) will be included in the package, which is great for those who missed out the first time around. That means that you’ll finally be able to get your hands on BioShock Ultimate Rapture Edition‘s Museum of Orphaned Concepts content. New art assets were created for both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, as well, to fill out the screen with more detail. During the iconic intro scene of the original game, for instance, there are now jellyfish floating about. While that seems trivial, it’s a heightening of detail that makes the overall experience more effective.

Now, onto the real star of the show: BioShock. As I mentioned above, BioShock is undoubtedly one of the greatest games ever created. Its incredible setting, complex storytelling, and ability to challenge the imagination are all unmatched by most games. However, despite being one of the better looking games back when it first launched, the original title is starting to show its age on the graphical end.

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But thankfully, the graphical upgrade has brought new life to the classic. Seeing as Rapture’s atmosphere is an integral part of the experience, the new coat of paint is much appreciated. From what I’ve seen, Blind Squirrel Games did a great job of enhancing the look of the game without changing the tone of it. Nothing I saw looked out of place, nor did it distract (ex. jellyfish).

Weapons and the character’s hands have also been re-textured in the first two games, since is great since they’re the two things closest to your point of view; The attention to detail is impressive, and I’m glad this didn’t turn out to be a simple remaster.

And I haven’t even mentioned the best part yet, BioShock will now include 10 Golden Reels (unlocking Ken Levine’s commentary hosted by Geoff Keighley) scattered throughout the game. We got a glimpse of the first episode, which was an incredibly informative and interesting look at how the team’s creative process worked when they were trying to bring Rapture and all the characters that embody the world to life. Take it from someone who has played through the first title four times — this makes another trip to Rapture worthwhile.

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Gameplay-wise, all three games played about the same as their original counterparts. I didn’t feel much of a difference, if any at all. The first-person mechanics are more than serviceable, and are still pretty damn solid. It did take me a bit to remember the control scheme of the first game, but once I got it, I was blasting every Splicer that got in my way with Plasmids.

What really matters here is that the games look good and that all the single-player DLC is included. The work done on the original especially makes it worthy of at least one more go. I played through the whole Sander Cohen (one of the best video game villains ever) section where you’re tasked with completing the artist’s masterpiece (which involves taking pictures of mutilated splicers), and not once did I feel like I was playing an old game. Instead I remembered just how special this creepy this game really is. That’s what you want out of a your remastered titles. And yeah, definitely don’t forget how eerie Rapture really is. There’s nothing more chilling than watching all the Adam-addicted Splicers scurrying around, whispering horrifying things before ambushing you in claustrophobic hallways.

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You’ll be able to pick up BioShock: The Collection beginning September 13 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Those who already own the first two games on PC will get an upgrade to the prettier versions (including the Golden Reels, aka director’s commentary), completely free of charge.

Will you be adding this collection to your library? Which BioShock title is your favorite? How do you feel about these games getting the remaster treatment? Would you kindly leave your thoughts in the comment section below?

Image: 2K

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