- Developer: Ghost Story Games (formerly 2K Boston)
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Release Date: 29/05/2020
- Price: £15.99 / $19.99
- Review copy provided by 2K Games
Introducing: Bioshock Remastered Nintendo Switch review
Bioshock launched all the way back in 2007 to critical acclaim and now, thanks to the self-titled collection, it arrives on a Nintendo system for the first time ever. How does this title hold up on Nintendo’s hybrid and does it stand the test of time?
With all that being said, would you kindly read my review to see if Bioshock Remastered sinks to the bottom of the ocean or en(Rapture)s.
Bioshock Remastered is a FPS – First Person Shooter – but it’s more than just another shooty-bang-bang, and triumphs in two areas. Bioshock is an edgily atmospheric adventure that weaves a narrative quite unlike any game I’ve experienced in some time. Despite only meeting a handful of NPCs throughout the twelve hours of playtime, the story is propelled via conversations over a walkie-talkie, as well as through audio recordings found hidden in Rapture. The end result is a tale that feels adequately fleshed out on its own, but given the time to explore every nook and cranny of Rapure, will be padded and enriched tenfold.
Our tale begins with a plane crash as we are introduced to our protagonist. After waking up in the ocean, the flaming wreck creates a barrier, a pathway of sorts that leads us to a lighthouse. Once inside the lighthouse, we are led to the underground city of Rapture, and introduced to Atlus, an Irishman keen to save his family, but who unfortunately is unable to get to them. That’s where you come in. Help Atlus save his family and he’ll see you safely through Rapture, acting as your guide, advisor and essentially your tutorial in the process. In the solitude of Rapture, Atlus’s Irish brogue and likeable character provides a delicate balance to proceedings, given the dreary nature of the underground dystopia.
Would you ADAM and Eve it?
Shortly after taking control of your character, you’re injected with a luminous blue substance known as Eve, and with it, develop the ability to shoot electricity from your fingertips – a la Palpatine!! As you progress through the Rapture you’ll unlock more abilities, known in-game as Plasmids, allowing the wanton use of fire and ice, as well as some much more technological nifty skills to boot.
You encounter a Little Sister and her accompanying Big Daddy early in the game, although you don’t have to fight them. Instead, you just witness the devastating, destructive power of the Big Daddy and the sadistic sister’s ADAM harvesting. When you ultimately do have to face off against one and subsequently defeat it, you’re offered the choice to either harvest the ADAM from the Little Sister, or rescue her. The parent in me couldn’t bring myself to do anything but save them, and in doing so I was regularly provided with gifts from them, which aided me throughout my adventure. If you choose to harvest them for their ADAM, you’ll receive a larger initial amount but no perks in-game later. ADAM is used to upgrade your character, with everything from health upgrades to new abilities purchased with ADAM.
The weapon variety in Bioshock Remastered is varied enough, and although I found a friend early on with the machine gun, the sheer sadistic delight of letting loose with napalm and the chemical thrower is not to be taken lightly. Again, perhaps due to its age, but not being able to use a Plasmid (assigned to left trigger) and a weapon (assigned to right trigger) at the same time felt a little cumbersome mechanically and could, at times, overcomplicate combat, especially when attempting to hack a turret and fight a swathe of approaching foes.
Egg fried Splice
The main enemies that you’ll encounter in Bioshock Remastered are Splicers; humans who have become over reliant on Eve, and the abilities that it provides them. There are five types of splicers; Thuggish, Leadhead, Spider, Nitro and Houdini.
Aside from two memorable boss fights, there isn’t much in the way of variety past this. Honestly, this was one of my biggest points of contention. That being said, there are technological challenges that provide depth. Security cameras and machine gun turrets are commonplace in Rapture and if you’re spotted, you’ll either be fired upon, or have drones sent after you. You can choose to destroy turrets and cameras, but you can also hack them and make them work for you. Hacked cameras will send drones after any enemies that happen to end in their field of view and turrets will mercilessly fire round after round upon your foes.
Bioshock Remastered would often see you backtracking to previously explored areas and I found having hacked cameras and turrets in place would often prove beneficial later in certain levels.
Hacking isn’t just assigned to turrets and cameras though. Vending machines, ammo depots and first aid stations can all be hacked too, which lowers prices and provides more choice in certain instances. Also, safes can be hacked, often revealing hidden treasures.
Hacking happens by guiding green fluid across a grid and by arranging various pieces of pipe all the while avoiding alarm tiles. As the game progresses, the hacks can get increasingly more difficult. If you’re flush with cash, you can simply choose to buy out the hack, or if you’ve been collecting scraps and crafting, you might well have an auto hack or two to use up.
Aesthetically, Bioshock Remastered holds up reasonably well, despite being a 13-year-old game at this point. Its blend of winding, dark corridors juxtaposed against luminescent neon hues sprinkled throughout in a calculated way provides a simplistic elegance, one that really elevates Bioshock Remastered. The city of Rapture was once an utopia, and glimpses of this subaqueous city from occasional windows that you pass really can, at times, make you marvel at the grandeur, both in terms of scope and execution.
Due in part to its age, Bioshock Remastered runs absolutely flawlessly in handheld mode. It’s not the most taxing port, but one that has been lovingly handled, nonetheless. Thanks to the stunning, and at times awe inspiring, sound design, a pair of good quality headphones are recommended when playing. Not only will it ensure that you don’t miss a moment of the excellent dialogue that threads the overarching narrative, it will provide the very best platform for experiencing the blend of atmospheric soundscapes, musical arrangements and perhaps more importantly, will keep you fully aware of any enemies present in the near vicinity.
Would you kindly take a look at these extras?
While Bioshock continuously offers the player all the tools to play how they want, the gameplay loop doesn’t really deviate from the path it lays out.
Until the final chapter that is, when it brings in not one, not two, but THREE brand new gameplay elements. This felt a little off and made me think that perhaps the game was rushed to completion. Perhaps the new gameplay styles introduced in what was originally released as DLC (but for the sake of the Remastered edition is readily available) were meant to be included in the campaign? Or perhaps I’m overthinking things. Regardless, the three game modes all provide additional playability, as does the museum mode, which see you traverse a fully-realized 3D environment complete with 3D models.
Bioshock Remastered is more than just a great experience, it’s a quintessential title that is deserving of its place in the Nintendo Switch’s library of games. Much like Dark Souls before it, this is a title that initially slipped through my Nintendo fondling fingers, and again, like Dark Souls, I am delighted that it found a home on Nintendo’s hybrid. The final Dark Souls comparison I will make is this: like Darks Souls, the port of Bioshock Remastered is flawless and offers the best way to experience this dark, unaccommodating trip into the depths of the Rapture.
- Inimitable story telling
- Compelling game world
- Wonderfully ported
- Mechanically a little dated
- Enemies lack variety
- End-game pacing
Bioshock Remastered is an essential entry that everyone should add to their Nintendo Switch repertoire.