Let me preface this by saying that I don’t hate the recent glut of collection games that have been coming out in the last ~5 years. And just so we’re all on the same page, a collection game is a re-release of a game or several games, now in an HD format. I do wish that a lot of the studios remastering their old games would make new content, yes, but now that gaming is making such graphical and technical leaps faster than ever, I think it’s important that older, beloved games aren’t left behind and get forgotten, and eventually unplayable because there’s simply no other way to play them unless you have their original console. For both new and old fans, it’s a hassle unless a re-release of the game is made. Bioshock is an interesting case: It was released in 2007 on the PS3/360. It’s almost 10 years old, but in the grand scheme of things and the typical age of games that get re-released on collection discs, it’s not that old. Additionally, Bioshock is a beautiful game. Despite being an early title in its console generation, graphically it remains one of the most beautiful games on the PS3/360–both it and it’s sequel Bioshock Infinite that came out late into the PS3/360’s life in 2013. So why re-release them?
Personally, I don’t think that the creation of the Collection was necessary right now. Make no mistake, I’m very happy to see these games re-released: Bioshock is my favorite game of all time. Bioshock Infinite is another one of my all time favorites. The only qualm I have about re-releasing these games is the timing. The oldest game in this bunch is the first Bioshock, which will be 10 years old next year. Especially considering how graphically advanced Bioshock was at the time it came out, I just don’t think it needs to be remastered in HD just quite yet. It’s only one console generation behind, after all. Bioshock Infinite, on the other hand, is barely 3 years old–it’s plenty recent enough that people still remember it, love it, talk about it, and play it all the time. If that wasn’t enough, there’s several packs on the PS3 and 360 available right now with 2/3 games on it (Bioshock 1+2, Bioshock Infinite+1), and a version of Infinite you can buy with Burial at Sea already on it as well. To me, it feels as though the Collection was just released so there could be a PS4/XBOne port of the series. Personally I don’t think most games need to be remastered or ported–especially when they’re so readily available on Steam, as each Bioshock game is–until they’re at least 2 console generations behind.
So let’s get into the meat of this review: Is buying the Collection worth the sweat of your brow? Allow me to first make the disclaimer that I bought the physical PS4 version of this game since my PC isn’t powerful enough to run any of the Bioshock games–even if it was, I don’t have 70GB available to put it on. In any case, as far as my experience with Bioshock: The Collection goes, the short answer of my earlier questions is yes, it’s worth it if you’re a fan of the series and you see yourself replaying any of these games at least a few times, or you want everything on 2 convenient discs rather than 2-3. If this is your way of getting into the franchise, however, you’d probably be better off buying the games separately on Steam/PS3/360 until the price goes down.
The Collection is currently $60 and contains Bioshock 1 and its DLC the Museum of Orphaned Concepts and Challenge Room, Bioshock 2 and its DLC Minerva’s Den and Protector Trials, and Bioshock Infinite and its DLC Clash in the Clouds, Columbia’s Finest, and Burial at Sea episodes 1 and 2. In addition to all that, there’s interviews about Bioshock with Ken Levine (creator of the Bioshock series) and Shawn Robertson (animation lead and director in Bioshock 1 and Infinite respectively) sprinkled throughout. In other words, you’re getting every Bioshock game, all the DLC, plus some interviews. The only corner the Collection cuts is the multiplayer options in Bioshock 2. The reasons behind the cut of the multiplayer hasn’t yet been clarified, but as someone who never particularly cared for the multiplayer options in Bioshock 2 (or Bioshock 2 in general) it doesn’t particularly matter to me. It does, however, leave me extremely curious about why 2K would put so much effort into including literally everything else plus extras and leave that out.
The multiplayer aside though, each of the Bioshock games can be bought at a decent price if you’re buying physical copies–usually around $10-20 used, depending on the condition. In theory, you could buy Bioshock 1, 2, and Infinite separately and only spend slightly more than half of what you would on the Collection–and that’s if you buy them all singularly, rather than buy them in a pack, as I mentioned earlier. Regardless of what you do, if you’re buying physical copies, you’ll likely be spending $30-40 on the whole series. On Steam it’s harder to gauge the price since they each go on sale so frequently. My best advice would be to wait for them to go on sale, and if you’re lucky, you’d probably be spending about the same price that you would if you’d bought physical copies–possibly less depending on the sale. In any case, although the Collection has graphics that are only slightly improved, exclusive interviews, and the convenience aspect of having the whole series right there, if the price of a game is your selling point then the Collection probably isn’t worth it unless the graphics, interviews, and convenience are worth an extra $20 for you.
Another thing several fans are critiquing the Collection for is that it hasn’t fixed some of the glitches in Bioshock Infinite. Although Bioshock Infinite isn’t necessarily a glitchy game, it does suffer from a few hiccups here and there. It’s usually just simple things like the occasional clipping graphics and textures, but there are a few small glitches. None of them are major, none of them break the game, and there’s not that many to begin with. Most of them are simply clipping graphics. Although none of them major flaws, they do feel very out of place in an otherwise gorgeous game. Most fans, myself included, expected that most of these small glitches would be patched up in the Collection, but so far, people are reporting that there have been no changes. The PC version, on the other hands, seems to have a few issues of its own that aren’t present in the console Collection, or the original versions of the games. For that reason and because as I already mentioned, the console ports are likely the entire reason 2K made the Collection in the first place, I’d recommend the console version of the Collection over the PC version.
If you’re already a huge fan of Bioshock who wants a new way to immerse yourself in the elaborate universe(s) of the game, I think the Collection is incredible. It’s convenient, has lots of extra content, and at the end of the day, it’s a current-gen port of 2 wonderful games, their DLC, and Bioshock 2. If you’re not a huge fan of Bioshock but a fan nonetheless and just wondering if this is a good port, it can be if you’re wanting a PS4/XBOne port of these games–otherwise, it’s probably a better idea to wait for the price on the Collection to go down. The current price tag of $60 isn’t outrageous, it’s the standard price of a new triple-A console title right now and is honestly a fair price for all the content you’re getting in the Collection, I just think it’s odd to pay that much when you can just as easily get the entire series ~$20 cheaper without missing too much of the content. If you’re not a fan of Bioshock and wondering if you should use this to get into the franchise, although you can if you want and should if you really like the idea of having all the games, DLC, and extra content on 2 discs, I wouldn’t recommend it solely because the graphics are only slightly better, I’m sure the extra content will be available online eventually, and you can buy each of the games individually with the DLC for a grand total of ~$40.
Again, I’d like to emphasize: Bioshock 1 and Infinite are my favorite games of all time. As a huge fan of Bioshock, the Collection was worth it for me. I love the extra content and the convenience of the Collection, I just wish that they had waited longer to release it–until a time when the graphical changes could be noticeably better, until they could patch the hiccups in Bioshock Infinite, until the Bioshock games aren’t as extremely accessible as they are now. Until it were at least 2 console generations behind. These are games I will (and am, in fact, currently) replay time and time again. Additionally, listening to the interviews and learning more about the production of Bioshock has been a very fun experience for me. If you’re as big a fan of Bioshock as me, I can’t recommend the Collection enough. If you’re not that big a fan and just looking for an easy way to play the Bioshock games, it’ll likely be more budget friendly for you to buy them all separately or wait a few months for the price of the Collection to go down. Regardless of your decision, these games are astounding. If you’re reading this to find out whether or not I’d recommend the Bioshock games, Collection or no Collection, the answer is yes, I’d recommend them more than any other game ever made.