The Art of Remaster: Bioshock—The Collection

Bioshock is surely one of the most beloved FPS games of all time, captivating us from the first time we ever stepped foot into the city of rapture nine years ago. In 2010 we got Bioshock 2, and it was highly praised yet received criticism for a slow start and having a strong similarity to the first. Bioshock: Infinite was brought to us in 2013, receiving stellar reception and multiple awards from pre-release all the way to Game of the Year with over 11 million copies sold.
Last month, 2K has decided to let us step into the strange cities of Rapture and Columbia with a remastered collection of all three games. Known as Bioshock: The Collection, the package includes what is said to be improved graphics and performance plus extra content. The fact that we also get every piece of DLC with each title is icing on the cake as well.
I will be breaking down the collection based on features, graphics, and gameplay just as I did with Hard Reset: Redux.

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Features

With remasters these days it is natural to ask “What kind of extra content are we getting this time?” The standard procedure for a remastered release is usually the full game (or games) with every piece of downloadable content that was released for it. Bioshock: The Collection is no different, giving us all of that and then some. Across all three games, there are a few pieces of DLC that act as challenge modes; they put your skills to the test with a series of battles that increase in difficulty and contain no story. The pieces of DLC you really want out of this package are Minerva’s Den from Bioshock 2 and the Burial At Sea episodes from Bioshock: Infinite. Both are heavily story-based and do well in furthering the lore of the Bioshock universe.
The first game seems to have been given seen most treatment out of the three. The biggest addition is a commentary series called “Imagining Bioshock,”featuring creator/director Kevin Levine and lead artist Shawn Robertson. The first part is available from the start, and the rest can be found by collecting gold film reels inside the. The second feature is The Museum of Orphaned Concepts, an in-game gallery of development concepts that were either unused or abandoned.
One final bit of information: the multiplayer mode that appeared in Bioshock 2 is not included in this collection. While I found it pretty decent during the initial release, we live in a day and age that has so many more multiplayer games that are very robust pieces of work. This series is iconic because of the single player experience. We simply don’t need the multiplayer.

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Graphics

The way things were done with this collection is sort of peculiar. The first has received the most treatment, whereas the second has only been slightly touched. The quality of both games was improved using anisotropic filtering, a technique that improves the quality of textures while bringing attention to detail and eliminating blurry effects. Coupled with that is the use of anti-aliasing, a technique used to smooth out any jagged edges for improved realism. The first Bioshock didn’t just get a new coat of paint; things like more underwater wildlife were added,  enhanced by an improved field of view to make the first trip to Rapture even more stunning. PC players are limited when it comes to graphical settings. All the have are an anisotropic filter slider and an anti-aliasing on/off switch at your disposal—no high, medium, or low setting are present.
Bioshock: Infinite is the curious case; there is technically no remastered version. Console players are simply getting the PC version cranked up to maximum settings. If you previously purchased all of the games on Steam, you might have noticed the “Remastered” versions pop up in your library a few days after the collection’s release. You may have also noticed that there is no actual “remastered” version of Infinite. According to 2K Games, Bioshock: Infinite still meets the standards for today’s generation. Lets be honest: there isn’t much to improve or change there anyway.

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Gameplay

The most noticeable improvement across all three titles is how fluid the gameplay feels. Each game runs in 1080p at a full 60 frames per second, a change present on both PC and console. The difference was noticeable since I have played the first game numerous times; I’ve spent much less time with the sequels, but they still felt great to play. It has been some time since I have played the other two, but they both still feel great to play. With the collection’s release, Bioshock: The Collection is the definitive way to experience the trilogy.

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Final Thoughts

Since its release, the first Bioshock has been one of my favorite games of all time. Improvements were made where they were needed and successfully enhanced my experience. If you have poured thousands of hours into these games and see no point in purchasing them again, that is perfectly understandable with the slightly steep $60 price tag (Editor’s Note: remastered versions are free on PC for those who owned the original games). Remasters and definitive editions are for the hardcore fans who have beaten them one hundred times and would do it one hundred more. They are also for anybody who missed out on the experience during the initial releases. The price tag is totally worth it if you fall into either of those two categories. This release is not just some “complete edition”; it celebrates a series that has left a significant mark in the gaming industry.

L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

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