Bioshock is a huge name in gaming, and when the first came busting onto the scene in 2007 it had a profound effect on the way video games would change over the following years.
A deep narrative, phenomenal environmental storytelling and brutal, tactically proactive combat made it something truly special to behold. And now we have a long awaited remastered edition of both the first game and the hugely underrated sequel.
We don’t need to cover quality of the games themselves, as they are for the most part the same and worth playing exclusivity for that reason. However, the package is far from perfect where the whole ‘remastered’ part comes in.
Bioshock: Remastered is sadly a huge disappointment. The PC edition, that is. The original 2007 release was plagued with numerous bugs, graphical glitches and performance problems, which bafflingly still exist in this updated release. Wonky mouse controls, 30FPS locked physics and bare bones graphical options sour what could have been an excellent return to form.
There is no option to adjust texture, shadow or FOV quality, or to change the horrible mouse smoothing, which makes every slight movement overshoot drastically. All physics within the game are locked to a specific frame rate, which means ragdolls and movable objects seem to skip a number of frames in movement, an issue which has been improved upon but in no way fixed.
But by far the worst offence is the ‘updated’ visuals, which range from unnoticeable to worse than the original seemingly at random. This is almost immediately clear when you boot up the game, where you quickly find many atmospheric effects like fog and sea water drenched surfaces have been thrown out. The jaw dropping plane crash that begins the first game suddenly feels so much less immersive, and the walk up the previously drenched and sparking steps to Raputre’s entrance is now replaced with a dull slog up a flatly textured surface that lacks none of the subtle visual thrills seen before.
It is clear that the PC version of the game is a direct port of the console edition, which for console exclusive players will certainly seem like an upgrade. However, to an experienced PC Bioshock fan, it is obvious the remaster is little more than a slightly downgraded PC port from 2007. It isn’t fun to be a graphics snob, but when the original looks so much better it become hard to keep positive about this remaster.
Only character models seem to have had a slight improvement, which do certainly look better, but not enough to justify calling this game a complete remaster. The much touted improved lighting is equally as forgettable, simply because the game preciously impresses with the default settings. Also, Andrew Ryan’s infamous imposing statue as seen in the intro now has wonky eyes, which produces some mixed emotional responses.
Bioshock 2, an already lovely looking game, hasn’t received so much attention and is very much the same as it was upon the first release. However, the extensive visual options have also been gutted to provide a lackluster menu.
Okay, so this isn’t great remaster for PC owners, but it does come free if you’ve already purchased the game on Steam. Because of this we can’t be too down on it. But it is a disappointment to see such an anticipated re-release simply turn out to be a waste of time.
If you’ve never played the games and own a PS4 and Xbox One, you absolutely should buy the collection simply to experience two of the best FPS games outs there. But for those on PC, stick with the originals for a much more enjoyable time.