Review: Bioshock Ultra-Geek Edition

By Alec Meer on August 23rd, 2007 at 11:47 am.

Woo – my big box o’Bioshock just arrived. Circumstances have conspired to ensure I won’t actually get to play the game until the weekend (I was going to take a quick look-see this morning anyway, but the activation servers are down, infuriatingly. It’s HL2 release day all over again) but what I can do is review the various junk in the Collector’s Edition. When I say ‘review’ I do, of course, mean ‘complain.’

Firstly, the soundtrack. I was quite excited about this, given the atmospheric gramophone music heard throughout the demo. Turns out it’s just three tracks, all of which are by Moby. Moby. So instead of Bobby Darin’s stately take on Beyond the Sea, we get a hideous mobile phone advert-style plinky-plonky boom-boom-boom remix. Franky, if you told any DJ to remix Beyond the Sea but they only had 20 minutes to do it in, it would sound just like this. The other two tracks sound like lazy Orbital b-sides, and contain what I’m guessing is voice samples from the game. [Edit - I'm snidely informed that the second track, God Bless The Child, is quite well known, making it one of my many cultural blindspots. If I'd managed to listen to all of it without clicking next in disgust, it's possible I'd have recognised the original song Moby's slaughtered]. This EP (only referred to as such once you get to the disc itself – the packaging refers to it throughout as ‘soundtrack CD’) is a real missed opportunity. Ken Levine’s list of Irrational’s creative inspirations for Bioshock states under music simply “1950s-era jazz.” That would have pleased me enormously. That would have made me think ‘Bioshock.’ The three awful pieces of irrelevant lift music I’ve actually got make me eye the nice metal box the game comes in with distaste.

Flicking quickly through the 40-minute Making Of DVD (which I don’t want to watch properly until I’ve finished the game), it seems rather more interesting, though seems to predominantly consist of sniggering, poorly-shaven men badly superimposed onto Rapture backgrounds. It’s all talking heads stuff – there’s no look into earlier art or the tools used to build the game. It does expand on Ken Levine’s claims that the Little Sisters were initially insectoid – apparently they were formerly slugs that you could stomp on. There was also talk of including a ‘squirrel-man’, a dog in a wheelchair and monkeys at some point. Personally, I’d have gone for a squirrel-man in wheelchair being pushed around by a monkey. The video certainly isn’t anything that requires a seperate DVD, as opposed to a 100Mb DIVX file on the game disc, anyway. Pah.

Piece de resistance is, of course, the Big Daddy figurine. I’m happy to report that, yes, you could unquestionably kill a man with it if you swung it hard enough. It’s heavy, and that drill-arm is just made for a-blindin’. Unfortunately it’s not poseable at all and the paint job’s pretty sloppy (the whole box reeks of spray paint fumes, in fact). I’ve got a Warhammer miniatures-obsessed mate I might ask to repaint it – the dilemma is whether I ask for him to make the helmet bubble-lights green for the Daddy’s patrol mode, or red for ANGRY. Oh, and it’s also got a very tacky Made in China sticker on its foot.

Anyway, here’s Big Daddy versus Optimus Prime. Optimus Prime would win, of course, because he’s a giant robot, but Daddy would probably manage to break one of his windows first or something.

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28 Comments »

  1. John P says:

    Hmm, disappointing news! I’d pre-ordered the collector’s edition from GAME in the high-street on the basis of the soundtrack cd, but it sounds naff. Wish i’d ordered the 25 quid one from Play now. I wonder if I ordered it TODAY it would come tomorrow. Probably not. Oh well.

  2. ShaunCG says:

    Harsh. I don’t feel so bad about plumping for the Play.com standard edition + faceplate, now.

  3. Keith says:

    The fact it says “game soundtrack CD” on the side of the box is surely grounds for what used to be known as the Trades Descriptions Act. It’s not even like the remixes are in keeping with the mood of the game. Disgraceful.

  4. Solario says:

    You just saved me from completely ruining my credit account. Thanks.

  5. Daniel Puzey says:

    My standard edition box smelled quite a bit of spraypaint fumes, too. I think it was actually the manual, though I have no idea why.

  6. Keith says:

    Oh yes, the manual did smell lovely *sniffffff*

  7. Miles says:

    Am I the only one who suspects the buggers might release the soundtrack proper seperatley and have people, y’know, pay for it?

  8. Krupo says:

    You know what would be nice? If they indicated you’re supposed to *INCLUDE* the dashes when typing your activation code.

    I had a momentary scare before realizing that was the case.

  9. Donna says:

    I bought my collector’s edition based solely on the figure. I didn’t pre-order, I got lucky. I thought the paint job was pretty good, but that might be a hit or miss from figure to figure.

    Not bothered about the EP as I like Moby. I would like some of the music out of the game though.

  10. Jonathan says:

    You can hear the orchestral stuff here but I guess the copyright for the dozen or so proper songs were too damn complicated for it to be released. http://www.gamemusicjukebox.com/?id=117

    I have to admit to not liking orchestral music usually, but Cohen’s masterpiece does sound surprisingly unhinged. I’m tempted to call it schizophrenic or bi-polar. The rest is nice enough but without a game around it I keep getting distracted by things instead of listening.