Feature Revisiting Bioshock

Hey, Mister Bubbles...

Justin Knight


By Justin Knight @OptimusJut

The trend of HD re-releases of old games is certainly not slowing down by any means. Recently, gamers were treated to Dishonored being given the HD treatment as well as having all of its old DLC bundled in with it. Last month some sharp-eyed people noticed that a listing for something called The Bioshock Collection had appeared, and then taken down rather quickly, on the website Raru, apparently for release at the end of November. To this day, views are still split on weather these re-releases are just another cash grab or actually a good chance to improve on old games using current-gen tech. However, for others it is simply a nice trip down memory lane... as long as the price is right.

The first Bioshock was something of a work of art. Not only was the story something of a mystery that slowly revealed itself as the player progressed, but the setting itself was truly a character in itself, and a unique one at that. The underwater city of Rapture was something to admire. It was beautifully designed and was a joy to explore, but it was also the setting of a man's vision that had gone very wrong and all hell had broken lose. The ugliness of the Splicers had tainted Rapture for a while before the player's arrival, and the subsequent journey to its dramatic ending is regarded by many as one of the finest campaigns ever made. It came with no multiplayer or any kind of DLC (besides an additional achievement for the 360 version) but, to this day, is still held in high regard.


Bioshock 2

In general, sequels are a touchy subject when approaching such great games as this. Bioshock 2 is seen as inferior to the first, but it still had a fan base. Its story granted many their wish to play as a Big Daddy and it provided some dramatic moments, especially facing off against the deadly Big Sisters. With Bioshock 2, multiplayer was introduced for the first time. Though its reception was mixed among fans, the attempt was admirable, especially aspiring to tell the story of the civil war that engulfed Rapture through the various online battles. Highlights of these battles was when the player could become a Big Daddy and how long they could remain as one until they were taken down.

DLC was also introduced in the form of multiplayer maps, character packs, a new multiplayer mode called Kill 'Em Kindly, the Sinclair Solutions Test Pack and The Protector Trials Pack. The Sinclair Solutions pack caused upset among consumers when it was revealed the content was already on the disc and that they were paying to unlock it. 2K Games explained that this would not split the player base. The most notable add-on released for the game was Minerva's Den, a small campaign that told a story outside of the main one with a slightly sad undertone, and some added betrayal to boot. It is hailed by many as one of the best pieces of DLC to be released, mainly due to the fact that its story was so unique.

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite literally took the Bioshock story to another level, as the setting was moved from the depths of the ocean in Rapture to the sky itself in the floating city of Columbia. The player took control of Booker DeWitt as he is sent to Columbia to find a girl and bring her back so he can free himself of his debt. He encounters more than he bargained for as the angelic looking society of Columbia is rotting underneath and the slightest spark could set it off violently. When Booker attends a very disturbing lottery and is then discovered before he can find the girl, he turns out to be that spark.

The game boasted some fine voice acting talent as well. The main character is voiced by the one and only Troy Baker. The girl he is sent to the city to acquire, Elizabeth, was voiced by Courtnee Draper and is the blooming free spirit to Baker's DeWitt, a man trying to complete his task so he can wipe away that debt and continue in his dull life. Other actors include Kiff VandenHeuvel as the main antagonist, Comstock, Kimberly Brooks as the resistance leader, Oliver Vaquer and the one and only Jennifer Hale voicing two mysterious individuals helping Booker and Elizabeth on their way.

Once again, the campaign was the game's strong point and it made very good attempts to deal with such themes as racism, slavery and the misuse of religion. It could possibly be argued that there could even be comparisons between Columbia's inhabitants and the outrage "Social Justice" culture we live in today, as Columbia's people -- who fight against Booker -- act like they are on the righteous path, doing no evil. The story overall is still highly praised and is finished off by one of the finest endings ever committed to a game. Again, there is no multiplayer, but the game did come with a season pass for three pieces of DLC. That said, when the first (Clash in the Clouds) came along, it was a major let down. The Dishonored re-release did this as well with the Dunwall trials and it totally went against the grain of the game. This DLC was essentially a horde mode. It reduced the characters to lifeless versions of themselves against increasingly difficult waves of enemies and had the annoying problem of being locked on Hard difficulty. Many gamers looked upon it as cheap DLC, as it was based around settings from the story and felt like it had been made just for the heck of it.

Bioshock Infinite - Columbia

Bioshock Infinite literally took the Bioshock story to another level."

Bioshock Infinite

In Bioshock Infinite, where the season pass became worth it for many was the two part story DLC, Burial At Sea, which returned players to Rapture, playing as DeWitt as a private detective before the civil war erupts. He meets Elizabeth again, but this time she hires him to investigate the disappearance of a young child. Episode one was criticized for its length and players had to wait four months to finish the story, which this time had you playing as Elizabeth and incorporating a more stealthy style of play. The second episode brought the story of Bioshock 'round full circle and was a worthy way to finish the series. It should also be noted that the price of the season pass was cheaper than most and delivered more for what a consumer would pay for than certain passes today.

Bioshock Infinite - Elizabeth
Just call her Elizabeth.

So what can be achieved with a re-release of these games? It is unclear as to what would be included in The Bioshock Collection, so we just have to wait and see if it actually happens. As for improvements? There really can't be many for this series, besides either removing hard mode from Clash in the Clouds or just taking that content out altogether. Graphics and sound will certainly be tweaked but that is all that comes to mind. As long as it is reasonably priced, its re-release would serve simply as putting down an old comfortable pair of shoes and taking a trip down memory lane.

So, wait and see, would you kindly?

Images courtesy of 2K Games and Irrational Games.