If you’ve been around TechnoBuffalo long enough to read a few of our gaming reviews, you’ll know that we tend to wind up around 1,000-3,000 words, sometimes approaching 4,000 with larger titles that are reviewed by multiple writers.
That’s not to say that we prefer this longform over something shorter, it’s just that we tend to cover as much as we can. I hope you’ll forgive me, then, by producing a review of BioShock: The Collection that’s far shorter than our standard.
BioShock: The Collection includes BioShock, BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite. BioShock and BioShock 2 have been remastered. All DLC that was released is included. The price on all platforms (PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC) is $59.99.
What’s there to say about the stories and quality of these games that hasn’t already been said? I’ve been playing through each title for this review because I have to, sure, but it’s also been a pleasure. The mechanics feel old, but strong. The stories run in quality from BioShock at the top to BioShock Infinite and then BioShock 2. The sequel to BioShock still feels disjointed and hampered by awkward storytelling choices, but it finds itself nestled in a super good series.
The gameplay holds up here, and I have the same problems with the games I had the first time around. BioShock turns into a fetch quest with a lame final boss fight. BioShock Infinite feels thinner than BioShock, but its setting and ideas are really, really great. These are the same games, only shinier. The commentary is sort of just like an okay smear of icing on top of an already amazing cake.
How does this collection stand, then, as something you should purchase or ignore? BioShock: The Collection will get a Buy from me, though that arrives with some caveats, especially currently for PC players.
Let’s start with PC, then. I have some good news and potentially bad news here. First, if you already own BioShock and BioShock 2, the remaster is free and comes as an update for each game. Nice! BioShock Infinite has not been remastered, so it’s just another piece of the bundle.
They’ve upped the price of each game since introducing the bundle. If you were to get each game separately without sales on PC, it would run you $70. The bundle is $59.99, and it includes all DLC.
The bad news? Reports of the quality of the remasters have been really, really bad. Users have been forced to edit .ini files to fix the mouse, fix the sound and whatever else. This is a no frills, subpar port of a console remaster on PC, and that’s bogus. BioShock 2 actually crashed on a friend last night, adding another issue to the slowly growing litany.
If you’re playing on PC, wait. Wait for a sale or patches to fix these ports. Wait for whichever comes first.
For PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners? The decision is so much easier. If you never played BioShock, buy this collection. $60 for one absurdly great game, an alright sequel and a third title that’s good in its own right is a price I’ll gladly recommend.
If you’ve played BioShock, know that not much has changed. Fans of the series like myself will have a good time diving back into Rapture. As I said before, the mechanics and story still hold up, and I have no issue revisiting a story from 10 years ago in the original BioShock. I only played it once through back then, so all of this stuff feels fresh to me. Knowing where the journey ends hasn’t really ruined the moment to moment, and I’m having genuine fun playing games I’ve already beaten.
If you didn’t like BioShock back then, you won’t now. That’s simple, right?
These remasters are almost like the THX versions of Star Wars. They clean up the original product without drastically redoing moments. This is Rapture in a fresh coat of paint, not a completely new take.
If you loved BioShock or have never played them, this collection is a buy. For sure. PC players? Wait for the patches.
Disclaimer: We received a code to download and review BioShock: The Collection on the PlayStation 4. We also tried the PC remasters before starting this review.