The Bioshock collection has finally been announced for current gen consoles. I for one could not be happier at this news. I regard the Bioshock series as some of the finest games I have ever played. They are a tour de force in environmental design and storytelling. So I thought I would share my own Bioshock journey…
It was a couple of years after it’s release that I first discovered Bioshock. I casually glanced at the discounted box in my local Game store. I think it was a pre-owned copy and cheap as chips. But I didn’t buy it. I must have bought something else that day, though I’ll never remember which game it was that actually stopped me spending my hard earned cash on Bioshock. I kept the game at the back of my mind though and over the coming months, Google searches proved that this game was considered to be something of a master piece. How on earth did I miss out??? But I still didn’t purchase it. For now I had seen that not only had Bioshock spawned a sequel, Bioshock 2, but Bioshock Inifinite had also been announced.
I was blown away by the Bioshock Infinite trailers and game-play demos.The game mechanics looked ridiculously fun, but it was the tone of the story that really interested me. A steam punk tale of parallel dimensions and a futuristic vision of America but somehow set in the past!? What the holy crap was this game about!? Now I had a dilemma, do I go back and play the original first, or dive straight in with Infinite? I chose the latter.
I’m not going to lie and say that I instantly loved Bioshock Infinite. At first I found the shooting mechanics a little clunky. While the world depicted in the game’s first act is absolutely beautiful and a joy to walk around, the actual game-play can be slightly hit and miss. Its no twitch shooter that’s for sure. There s no cover mechanics, no stealth game-play. Its fairly basic in that’s sense. I think I was veering towards the ‘Meh’ rating, then suddenly it all changed! Elizabeth entered my world. I’ve blogged before about my love of Elizabeth, so I’m not going to harp on about her too much. But she did do what few game characters have done for me before – made me have an emotional attachment. I was smitten with her.
In the end it wasn’t just Elizabeth that made me come to the realisation that Bioshock Infinite is one of the greatest games ever made – it’s the ending. I have probably watched the last 20 minutes of the game on YouTube around 100 times. I can quote it word for word.
“City at the bottom of the ocean? Ridiculous!”
So after finishing Infinite, I quickly moved on to experience the original Bioshock. The
tonal shift was startling. Not in story or themes, more in the aesthetic. Gone were the blue
skies and airy vistas. Now it was dark, dank corridors and slimy stab you in the back type of enemies around every corner. I have to say that it lessened the appeal for me. Infinite had a sense of the epic about it, whereas Bioshock was more claustrophobic. If I had to pick between the two styles, it would always be the hazy grandeur of Columbia.
For this reason, I chose not to play through Bioshock 2 straight away and I still havent
played it to this day. Yet! (That’s one of the things I’m excited about for the Bioshock
I did however play through the story DLC for Infinite – Burial at Sea. The first part was
standard stuff, nothing new really going on but fairly enjoyable. The second part was crazy. For the first time ever I got to control my beloved Elizabeth and I absolutely adored the stealth game-play mechanics. It was a great story and a really good ending to the series. My only minor gripe, was the fact that 80% of the Infinite DLC took place in Rapture instead of Columbia. I appreciate that I’m in the minority here – most players prefer Rapture and the original Bioshock to Infinite’s Columbia. That’s fine. But the DLC here was supposed to be for Infinite. It felt more like DLC for Bioshock 1 & 2 at times.
Ken Levine’s Bioshock Franchise is an amazing experience. The world his team has created, both Columbia and Rapture should be explored by everyone. But its the stories that the games tell which will always be remembered. The story for Infinite even had such a big effect on me that I have written a 100 page treatment for a Bioshock Infinite movie (I know that kind of goes against my previous post – please no hate!)
If someone was to ever ask me what game from the past 10 years should they go back and play. My response would be simple:
“Would you kindly play Bioshock”