The Bioshock franchise is one of the most spoken about and critically acclaimed franchises out there with almost universal love for the first and third entries. Bioshock: The Collection finally made its way to retail shelves last month after being leaked months ago. Bioshock: The Collection includes Bioshock, Bioshock 2, and Bioshock Infinite with all the individual DLC spread across two discs on consoles. We even reviewed Bioshock 2 and Infinite here and liked both of them a lot.
Before continuing with the review I want to commend 2K for actually including all three games on two discs. In an era where some publishers can’t be bothered to include everything on disc even for remasters like Dead Island Definitive Collection, 2K went the extra mile with a rare two disc release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It helps that the box art for the release is fantastic making this a joy to own for any physical game fan like myself.
The original Bioshock released nearly 10 years ago and the visual and performance upgrades it has received are tremendous. The setting as well holds up brilliantly and you don’t see many games like it today. Rapdture, the fictional underwater city in the 60s, was a joy to experience and the performance was mostly perfect on PlayStation 4.
Bioshock 2, the direct sequel hasn’t received as much of a visual overhaul as its predecessor but the performance improvements and the resolution bump over the PlayStation 3 and 360 versions is a welcome addition. The multiplayer component isn’t present in this collection but Minerva’s Den, one of the best DLCs of any game, has been included.
The performance in both Bioshock 1 and 2 is good but there are some frame drops and visual issues present. While one can excuse these small issues for newer games, seeing remasters of old games suffer from them is disappointing. Luckily the performance is nowhere as erratic as it gets in Bioshock Infinite.
Speaking of Bioshock Infinite, the version included for consoles is a port of the PC game as it is fairly modern compared to the previous entries. Infinite takes place in the flying city of Columbia in a steampunk world and it looks fantastic. The Bioshock games while commended often for their settings and atmosphere, deserve every bit of praise. Infinite suffers from a very erratic framerate and shows a distinct lack of polish that one would expect from a rerelease of such a beloved game. I expected a locked framerate because even mid tier PCs can run Infinite really well. But what I got instead was a lot of variation in frame rate. Even when autosave takes place, there’s stuttering.
Aside from visual and performance upgrades going from last generation to current generation, there is another bit of content that has been added for fans of the franchise. A director’s commentary from the series creator and director Ken Levine and the lead artist Shawn Robertson is available through collectables. While the collection already offers a lot of value, given the influence these games have had on the industry, maybe some detailed interviews from the other developers on what the Bioshock games mean to them would have been a nice addition.
Bioshock: The Collection is something you absolutely have to play if you haven’t experienced the franchise before. The amount of content and the low price makes it an easy recommendation. For longtime fans, the visual upgrades in 1 and 2 make the purchase worth it alone. I hope Blind Squirrel patch the performance issues in Infinite because it deserves better.