The BioShock series is lauded by many as some of the best games the industry has to offer. Now, BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite have been collected into one handy little package that should delight Switch fans looking to bolster their collections even further. The product of Virtuos Games, the same outfit responsible for bringing Dark Souls Remasters to the Switch, this collection is a fantastic way to experience the story of Rapture and Columbia while curled up on the sofa or even on the throne without any real sacrifices. This is how a port should be handled.
For the unfamiliar, BioShock follows protagonist Jack who travels to the underground dystopian city of Rapture, erected by the mogul Andrew Ryan. Originally meant to be something of a utopia, that all changed after the discovery of a genetic material named ADAM, which was found to grant superhuman powers. Jack must find a way to escape, facing ADAM-obsessed Splicers and the massive, lumbering Big Daddies, who protect gatherers called Little Sisters. There are a few sane members of Rapture left, who Jack must uncover the storied history of the city through. It's much more sinister than it all seems, and by the end Jack must make an important choice.
BioShock 2 flipped the script and focused on Big Daddies, with players taking on the role of Subject Delta, a Big Daddy candidate himself. He must reunite with his Little Sister, Eleanor, or he will die. That's distilling things down to a very simplistic point, but the game does a fantastic job of painting a picture of what it's like to be a Big Daddy as well as the relationship between those protectors and their Little Sisters – and more on Rapture, of course.
BioShock Infinite is a departure from Rapture, though it has ties of its own to the series, as it takes place in the airborne city of Columbia. Former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt is sent to find a young woman named Elizabeth for an unknown reason. He finds her, but ends up being caught in a war between the Founders who rule Columbia and the Vox Populi, seeking fairness and rights for the city's lower classes. Elizabeth ends up having some strange powers that you must use to make an exit, and the story ties together the three games quite beautifully.
The good news is that all three games run like a dream on the Switch. Given that the system has had trouble with graphics-intensive titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I was shocked at how well the games actually played. I expected stuttering, low-quality graphics, and frustrating slowdown, especially once things sped up a bit. To my surprise, none of that happened, except for occasional frame rate issues that I expected due to the hardware limitations.
The Switch typically runs at 30fps, while its console brethren gets 60fps. But that's about what could be expected from these games when they originally debuted, and as such they manage to look excellent while remaining at 1080p docked and 720p in portable mode. There are a few hiccups when there are tons of enemies onscreen, as expected, but overall these dips do not mar the games' overall performance across the board.
As far as the games go, BioShock still holds up as a essential title. Its sequel adds some much-needed context for how the Big Daddies and Little Sisters interact and get along as well as how Big Daddies are made. Unfortunately, BioShock Infinite is still just as dull as ever, mostly stemming from Elizabeth, the most boring character to have ever graced the game universe. It still pales in comparison to the world building and unforgettable story of the original BioShock, but it's another adventure that you'll be more than ready to experience when you finish the first two games. I thoroughly enjoyed my return to these worlds, even with their original imperfections, because it felt like coming home to a comfortable era of gaming.
If you missed out on all three BioShock games in the past or are looking for a great way to enjoy them on the go (because the mobile BioShock port wasn't what was up), BioShock: The Collection is a worthy option. It's perfect for newcomers and veterans alike, and it's exemplary of how games should be treated when brought to the Switch. I'm still firmly of the mindset that not everything belongs on Switch, but if it can be done correctly, the more the merrier.
These impressions are based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. BioShock: The Collection (Switch) is available on Switch for $49.99 USD. The game is also available on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 for $59.99 USD.
Brittany Vincent posted a new article, BioShock: The Collection (Switch) impressions: Infinite rapture
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