Video game remakes and collections have been on the rise for quite some time now, as developers continue to tap into the unbridled nostalgia of their respective fanbases. A simple visual update is all that is necessary to bring gamers rushing back to a particular franchise, eager to start their adventures anew. But oftentimes, those same fans will spot chinks in the armor; a once fascinating game can sometimes fall victim to industry progression, overshadowed by a decade of gameplay advancements that leave it feeling primitive or, in the worst-case scenario, a bit boring.
With "Bioshock: The Collection," this isn't much of a problem. For the price of $60, you get three games remastered in 1080p, running at 60 fps and looking pretty stellar considering their release on last-gen consoles.
"Bioshock" (released in 2007) is the crown jewel of this collection. As Jack, you make your way to an underwater city known as Rapture after surviving a freak plane crash. Though it was originally built as a utopia away from the "parasites" who live on the surface, gene splicing and genetic cannibalism turned this once thriving city into an absolute nightmare, and it's your job to get through it. Needless to say, it's one of the most memorable experiences of the last generation; a testament to impeccable design and thoughtful storytelling.
It also seems to have received the bulk of the visual upgrades. The intro sequence is completely redone, the water effects look absolutely phenomenal and the tiny details that you might have missed playing the original version are clear as day.
Its sequel, "Bioshock 2" (released in 2010) wasn't received quite as well, but still made an impression with its identical, yet still visually haunting setting and notable gameplay enhancements. Made by developer 2K Marin without the lead developer of the first game, Ken Levine, "Bioshock 2" lacks a few of the theatrical touches that made its predecessor such a success.
"Bioshock 2's" visual enhancements are unfortunately less noticeable, though it still runs at an impressive 60 fps and it's clear in some areas that the textures have received a nice makeover.
The final entry in this collection, "Bioshock Infinite," was released in 2013. Much like the original "Bioshock," the story here is truly unforgettable (if at times way too complex for its own good). Gameplay takes a more visceral approach and keen players can certainly spot a few areas where the developers had to cut and paste a few narrative elements and ideas resulting in pacing issues halfway through, but it's a satisfying adventure nonetheless.
And while PC gamers have already witnessed the enhancements that are now available for console players, "Infinite" is still quite the visual treat. Facial expressions could still use some work (though they do look markedly better than those found on the Xbox 360 and PS3), and you might spot some pop-in textures, but for the most part, it runs pretty well.
You'll also receive the downloable content made available for each game, from "Bioshock 2's" surprisingly fantastic "Minerva's Den" to "Infinite's" interesting take on Rapture in "Burial at Sea."
Scouring Rapture in "Bioshock" will also reward you with unlockable director's commentary videos called "Imagining Bioshock," which is a nice bonus.
If you have yet to play any one of these games, you don't have much of an excuse anymore (unless you're under 17 years old). If you have indeed traveled to both Rapture and Columbia and are ready to take another trip, here's your chance. ___
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This article was written by Daniel Cobb from St. Joseph News-Press, Mo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.