Bioshock: The Collection Switch Review – This Is How You Port A Game

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: First-Person Shooter
 
Rating: MA15+
 
Release Date: 29/05/2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


 

Positives


- Stories of all three games are still interesting
- Environmental and world design is still amazing
- Games largely look great and all run fantastically

Negatives


- Acceleration of camera controls makes first two games feel unwieldy
- Bioshock 1 can look a little chunky at points


Posted June 11, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

It seems that with the end of May we have moved from the year of the remake/remaster into the year of the Switch Port. In the space of a week we received three 2K collections on the Switch (Bioshock, Borderlands and XCOM 2), as well as a port of Private Division/Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds. The quality of these ports was hit and miss with both XCOM 2 and The Outer Worlds, but that isn’t the case with Bioshock: The Collection’s Switch port, which is exactly what I’d hoped for: A good looking, well-running portable collection of all three Bioshock games released so far.

As advertised Bioshock: The Collection’s Switch port brings together all three previously released Bioshock games along with their respective DLC: 2007’s Bioshock, 2010’s Bioshock 2 and 2013’s Bioshock Infinite. Each game’s story has been well-tread at this point, but if you’re a Nintendo gamer coming to the series for the first time, let me give you a quick rundown on the general themes of the series. Each game deals with the moral conundrums and ambiguities that come when science is allowed to run wild without moral or legal checks, as well as the implications of class systems and how they both interweave to affect societies. Every single one of the Bioshock games has interesting twists and turns, with the first game having some specific moral choices with clear checks and balances that make you stop and think. The writing across all three is generally exceptional, both in explicit and environmental storytelling, although the story of Infinite does get a bit convoluted at points. If you’re looking for well written, interesting stories, then this is the collection for you.

Bioshock Screenshots

Where Bioshock: The Collection’s Switch port starts to feel a little dated is in its gameplay. This isn’t a big surprise, given we’re talking about games that were released between seven and twelve years ago. This is particularly true of Bioshock and Bioshock 2, which have acceleration-based camera controls that feel unwieldy compared to games today. Despite messing around with settings extensively, there was no way for me to get the controls to a point where I felt truly comfortable playing them. This isn’t the case in Bioshock Infinite however, which feels much closer to current generation games. The controls in that game feel fluid and responsive, making combat feel much better than in the previous two. Throughout all three games, the guns and powers (called Plasmids in the first two and Vigors in Infinite) all feel fantastic as you pull the trigger or throw your flames, with appropriately visceral and staggered responses from enemies. Powers in particular are also wonderfully integrated into the world and level design, giving you a variety of ways to complete combat encounters as you progress. It might be a little dated at points but playing all three Bioshock games is still enjoyable.

Bioshock 2 Screenshots

We’ve covered to other Switch ports of games recently, with both XCOM 2 and The Outer Worlds performing less than favourably on the system, but the same cannot be said about Bioshock: The Collection’s Switch port. Throughout my time with all three games I never once dealt with noticeable framerate drops or hitches. Part of this is likely due to the fact that all three games in this collection were originally last-generation games, but they also look great visually as well. Bioshock got a bit chunky looking at a couple of points as I played it, but that seemed to be with background assets that hadn’t been upgraded since the original’s release. Bioshock Infinite in particular looked absolutely fantastic, with realistic reflections in the game’s water and plenty of detailed and interesting textures and effects. The world design across the entire series still holds up incredibly well today, with upgraded lighting since the original releases of the first two games really adding to the games. In no way, shape or form do any of the three Bioshock games look out of place on the Switch.

Bioshock Infinite Screenshots

Overall, Bioshock: The Collection’s Switch port is exactly what I hoped it would be: a great looking and fantastic running comprehensive series collection. The gameplay can feel a bit dated at points, but it was never a big enough issue to drag me out of the experience too much. All three stories are still fantastic and the worlds of Rapture and Columbia hold up in both designs and visuals. If you’re at all interested in checking out the Bioshock series for the first time or looking for a new way to play it, the Switch port is easy to recommend.

Bioshock: The Collection was reviewed on a regular Nintendo Switch, with a review copy provided by 2K.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.