Under the Sea (Again)

A good while back I had decided that if I had to choose any game to be remade for current gen consoles, it had to be BioShock. Mainly because it has always been one of those gaming experiences that stuck with me. So much so, that I even read (most of) Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in order to get a better understanding of antagonist Andrew Ryan’s objectivist vision for his underwater city.

The universe must have been listening because all three games have just been released in an updated collection that also includes all of the DLC. What was a girl to do but ask for it for her birthday? I have had it for about a week now and I finally got a chance to sit down with it for a short while today on my Xbox One.

I always remember the BioShock series first and foremost for its visuals. Even back in 2007 I was astonished by the art deco detailing of the city of Rapture which was set off by the glow of neon lights through deep sea view windows. Unfortunately, these art deco interiors are also splattered with blood amid the chaos you find the city in. They have done a great job with the remaster. The first thing I noticed was the light and shade of the environments. I am particularly enjoying the very scary dark corners set off brilliantly with flickering light bulbs that cast brief moments of shadows from enemies. I also have quite a thing for water in games, and the water that protagonist Jack lands in at the beginning is stunning. I would insert a picture here, but I only discovered today that screenshots have been blocked on the Xbox One. I am very disappointed with this as I was looking forward to documenting my return to Rapture.

Here is a very professional example of how nice the game looks. Trust me.

For me to purchase a remastered game it takes more than just wanting to see if it looks any better than it did nine years ago. In the small amount of time I played today, I was harshly reminded of how atmospheric BioShock is. Let me paint the picture for you. You (as Jack), survive a plane crash and have to swim through burning rubble to a lighthouse whose door closes behind you as you enter, leaving you in complete darkness until a few lights decide to switch on. Spooky right? Not the worst of it. Once you reach the city of Rapture the first thing you see from your bathysphere (the transport used to get under the sea) is a person being literally ripped apart in front of your eyes. The murderer in this case then starts to attack the glass of the bathysphere and all you can do is stand and watch. It is the worst. You get out eventually and have to navigate your way around the mostly dark entrance with random voices and the interjections of Garry Schyman’s biting string section from the score niggling at your ear. Did I mention that you have no way to defend yourself at this point? Also that the first weapon you eventually get is a wrench? You are very exposed first few moments of the game. Eventually you do cool get powers (like bees shooting out of your hand) and some guns. They might make you feel a tiny bit more secure, but there are many shadowy corners for enemies to hide (toilet cubicles are the living worst for it).

Here is a professional photograph of Jack’s first weapon.

I will motor on with playing the collection even though I have many other things I have started already (The Witcher 3 being the longest). After all the first BioShock clocks in at twelve to twenty one hours depending on how thorough you want to be. It is also October. What better way to spend this spooky month than fighting off murderous addicts to Perry Como’s “Papa Loves Mambo” (also a real thing in these games)?

BioShock The Collection is out now on PS4 ,Xbox One and PC. I would definitely recommend even buying a cheap second hand copy of the individual games for the PS3 or Xbox 360 if you have not sold your soul to current gen just yet.

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