Starting with Bioshock from Bioshock: The Collection it feels a little embarrassing to admit that this is a series I had never played. But, with all the titles wrapped up in a nice collection for the new generation of consoles it is as good a time as any to sink into a franchise that I allowed foolishly to pass me by. For those who do not know Bioshock is a first person shooter that draws a lot of ideas from Ayn Rands works (a Russian-American philosopher). Originally released for the last generation of consoles and PC the new version places all the games on the next gen consoles as well as re-vamping them for the more current PC’s
The story has not changed from the original version, you play as jack who is a passenger on his way to god knows where until his plane crashes in the Atlantic Ocean forcing him to swim to a nearby lighthouse. Upon reaching the light house you enter Rapture, a Utopia built by Andrew Ryan (a partial anagram of Ayn Rand- you get the point). But, upon entering you realise that things have gone a little bit crazy and a member from the Atlas Organisation contacts you asking for your help. As you delve further into rapture you find “artists” who would seem more at home at Baltimore’s insane asylum than a man’s vision of a utopian society. As I mentioned the story has not changed from the original version however there are various director diaries scattered through the level which have been added that give a nice touch and real appreciation for how the game found itself being created.
The gameplay also hasn’t changed far from the original having to fight your way through the pleasant inhabitants of rapture with some first person action and RPG elements blended in there. This levelling will be needed to help you with those big daddies. The variety of how you can deal with your foes really allows a player to choose how they play with weapons from a handy old wrench to a big old chemical flamethrower. These weapons also have different ammo types which will help you deal with your enemies if used correctly such as anti-personal rounds which makes those splicers more of a nuisance then a danger. The mixture of enemy types in the game ensures that you are kept on your toes even within the splicers such as Nitro splicers who enjoy throwing bombs at you and Houdini splicers who just love creeping you out by appearing and disappearing around you. But, don’t worry if you have the right plasmid (another tool for you to use) you can set alight to those Houdini’s and throw those bombs back in those nitro’s face’s. Tonics can also be found or created or bought with Adam and give various perks. These perks range from non-combat perks such as clever inventor which decreases the amount of material needed to create items or combat related perks such as bigger wrench damage. There is also a great hacking mini-game which you have to control the flow of weird glowey green stuff swapping tiles with pipes to direct it to the exit point allowing you to turn those pesky turrets to valuable allies. The strongest element in the gameplay by far is how it links the story with the types of enemies, the combat and challenges that you are presented giving you an idea on how raptures idealic utopia became such a horrible dystopian mess. The game also keeps the original controls which I guess is fine if you want to preserve the games original feeling. But, not having the ability to change these was a major disadvantage to someone who is so used to jumping with the A button. The collection also has challenge maps if the story is not enough with fairly complicated but interesting puzzles which really draws out the basic gameplay elements and employs them to there most effective giving a really entertaining experience.
The biggest change to Bioshock in Bioshock: The Collection is the graphical update. It gives a nice lick of paint to a game that did not rely on great graphics but its own well done design really giving you that dystopian feel to rapture but now in HD. But, I did have issues with the soundtrack. Not that it was bad. The atmosphere created by some of the sombre tracks and the higher tempo action tracks worked well. But, it seemed to interfere greatly with voice over from other characters making it really hard to here key conversations in the story as well as those well voiced-over audio tapes scattered around the place.
Overall the First installment in the series and collection is a real credit to the original bringing it forward to the next gen consoles and really handy if you feel like playing it again for old time’s sake and even better if you have not played the series. It puts a great game back onto great consoles and more available to new and old players. I still have a small issue with the lack of being able to modify the controls on Xbox One but I can see why it is beneficial as it keeps the authentic original experience of the game in a slightly shinier way. Well rapture, I guess round two soon.