The Bioshock trilogy has finally arrived on a Nintendo system with the launch of Bioshock: The Collection for Nintendo Switch. The collection brings together Bioshock (2007), Bioshock 2 (2010), and Bioshock Infinite (2013), with all their respective DLC and expansions (except some online content for the second game). Each game can be purchased separately for £15.99 / €19.99 or as part of the collection, which costs £39.99 / €49.99. I think it's a fair price considering the quality of the games and the quality of the job that has been done when adapting them to Nintendo's hybrid console.
The games themselves are well known, first-person shooters that motivate players to explore their worlds, themes, and mind-bending narratives. Thus, it is assumed that the greatest curiosity of these versions is to understand how these games behave on the Nintendo Switch, but just in case, allow me to share with you a quick summary of each of the three games.
The spiritual successor to System Shock impressed players with a first-person adventure filled with memorable moments, a fantastic setting, and several advanced gameplay mechanics. Set in Rapture, a city built underwater during the 1940s and '50s to escape the restrictions of society, Bioshock presented gameplay that mixed gun-based combat with special abilities, but more than that, it introduced players to characters and situations that endured in their imagination, including the enigmatic Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Bioshock was also responsible for one of the biggest twists in the history of video games, leaving countless players kindly in shock with its mindblowing revelation.
While Ken Levine, creator of Bioshock, worked on Bioshock Infinite, another team developed this sequel, which is seen as the black sheep in the trilogy. We think it's a little unfair, as while it is not quite at the level of the other two games, Bioshock 2 is still a game with a lot to offer that deserves to be experienced. Although the narrative lacked the same impact as that of its predecessor, Bioshock 2 stood out for putting the player in the role of a Big Daddy, which allowed the team to create a series of game situations involving water. Although it repeated the style and various themes of the first game, Bioshock 2 also introduced us to the Big Sister, which generated an interesting conflict between protagonist and antagonist.
Even by today's standards, Bioshock Infinite is a phenomenal game. Ken Levine took the concept of the first adventure and turned it literally upside down, throwing the player into Columbia, a city in the clouds where everything was colourful and grand. As Booker DeWitt - the first talking protagonist in the saga - the player was tasked with finding and rescuing Elizabeth, a mysterious girl with exceptional powers. What follows is an adventure that addresses issues such as racism, religious fundamentalism, and American exceptionalism, all of which are brilliantly personified in the game's antagonist, Father Comstock. Packed with shocking twists, and two expansions that connect the saga as a whole, Bioshock Infinite remains one of the most impressive and memorable games of the past decade.
Now that you've got a short summary of the trilogy, how does the Bioshock: The Collection perform on Nintendo Switch? Well, the simplest way to classify them would be to describe them as slightly superior versions of the Xbox 360 and PS3 editions. While the PS4 and Xbox One remasters run at 60 frames per second, the Switch version is limited to 30 frames per second, and sometimes it can't even keep that steady. The three games - but in particular Bioshock Infinite - also present a noticeable visual downgrade from PS4 and Xbox One, which honestly is to be expected.
Although not quite at the same level as it is on other current consoles, this adaptation is still a positive addition to the Switch's library in the sense that it's a perfectly adequate and functional collection of three excellent games. The Joy-Cons might not be the best option for first-person action games, and the portable format would have benefited from a more effective adaptation in terms of font size and interface layout, but this isn't much more than nitpicking that doesn't really affect the gaming experience, which remains as fantastic as ever. If you've never played Bioshock before, do yourself a favour and get this amazing trilogy.
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