Bioshock was one of THE most successful new franchises of the last console generation, with a trio of story driven shooters packed with good writing, fascinating characters and genuinely surprising plots. Who could forget that ending to the first game? Or the first Bathysphere ride? The twisted Lamb from the sequel? The wondrous Minerva's Den DLC? Launching into the clouds for Infinite? So many iconic moments packed into three games. Now there are three games packed into one package for those that might have missed out, or want one more trip back to Rapture and beyond.
In terms of the content this collection is a sure fire winner. All three games remain superb fun to play, with the mix of generic shooter elements and over the top plasmid powers proving a winning combination. In truth the shooting mechanics still feel a little flighty and some of the powers, like hacking, lead to overly irritating minigames. But these are minor gripes at best.
For first timers, you're in for a treat. As while some of the gameplay may feel a touch out of date the stories on show hold up as well as ever. Throw in all of the DLC, including the aforementioned Minerva's Den and the superlative Burial at Sea from Infinite, and this is a definitive romp through three of the best games you are likely to play. They even did you a favour and ditched the rather ill thought out multiplayer from Bioshock 2 - so as well as giving you all the good stuff, they actively culled some of the bad stuff too. Result.
In terms of the quality of the remaster results are rather more mixed though. Infinite is pretty much identical to the last gen version, being the most recent release and least in need of a makeover, while the first and second games have had rather more work done to them.
The results are hit and mix. Textures and general animations are much improved on the whole, with a lot of rough edges smoothed over and certain aspects of Rapture looking better than ever. That said, the water effects in particular seem to have taken a step back and some of the lighting effects seem a touch too gloomy - like they decided to go too far the other way in a bid for perfection that never quite lands.
Its testament to how well the first games were made that the graphical work needed is minor, but it seems to be the case with too many remasters that sometimes the work hinders rather than helps what came before. Leading to a few steps forward, then a few more back. It's nothing game breaking, but it's certainly less impressive than it should be.
On the whole though this is a package that is well worth the budget price for new and old players to the series alike. A chance to revisit those iconic locales, or see them fresh for the first time (a real treat) is not to be sniffed at. Even if you only missed out on one game, or some of the hefty DLC, this is still the perfect excuse to revisit all three. With only minor quibbles over graphical hiccups and dated gameplay aside, this remains one of gaming’s most compelling trilogies.