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Atlas Sighs: BioShock Remastered PC Is A Bit Of A Mess

Bioshock: The Collection [official site] is out today (and free to owners of the originals), which from a PC point of view is most exciting because it gives a big old spit’n’polish to the first two games in the series (Infinite is unaffected on PC, being relatively contemporaneous as it is). Unfortunately it seems that BioShock 1 Remastered particularly has not been as well-loved on PC as it perhaps should have been. It has only the barest-boned of graphical settings, it’s saddled with particularly nasty mouse-smoothing that can only be turned off via ini file hacking, and there are various minor screwy graphical boo-boos too. History is repeating itself: remember the FOV and DRM drama of 2007?

Details – and some fixes – below.

The major problem is simply the lack of any options beyond resolution, anti-aliasing, vysync and anisotropic filtering. Even the original release had a raft of settings for shadows and textures and whatnot. Industrious sorts can experiment with manually editing the Bioshock.ini file in C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\BioShockHD\BioShock to pump options up or down, but it’s a fiddle, it’s opaque and there’s no guarantee that any of it will work well. It rather looks like we’ve just been pumped a relatively direct port of the PS4 and Xbone collection.

Furthermore, options for 5.1 surround are missing. You can fix that specifically by going to the file above, finding SpeakerMode=
and changing that line to SpeakerMode=SM_5_1. You then need to add SpeakerModeValue=5 as a new line underneath that. If you have an EAX sound card you can also find bEAXEnabled= and change it to bEAXEnabled=True.

Then there’s the mouse smoothing issue, which will affect more of us. I don’t always pick up on this stuff even when half the internet seems to be baying about it, but playing through BS1R I was acutely aware that my mouse felt like it was trying to skate through jelly. The fix there is, again in the BioShock.ini file mentioned above, to set ReduceMouseLag and DoubleBufferMouseLag both to =False. Save the file, then back out, open user.ini instead, and add MouseAccelThreshold=0 to the bottom of the file.

Speaking as a member of a niche, an additional problem I’ve had is that, if I alter any of BS’s scant graphical options, it knocks the game out of my ultrawide monitor’s native 3440×1440 and will then only allow me to set it as high as 1920×1200. Apparently the same is true for folk with 2560×1080 ultrawides. The solution is either to just accept the default settings’ lack of anti-aliasing and v-sync and anistropic filtering at a low 4x, or to whack those things as high as you want then return once more to the BioShock.ini file. Find the section marked [WinDrv.WindowsClient] then change FullscreenViewportX to your monitor’s width (so FullscreenViewportX=3440 in my case) and FullscreenViewportY to the height (FullscreenViewportY=1440 in my case).

I believe most of these will work on BioShock 2 Remastered too, though I’m yet to give that a spin myself.

Many people on the Steam forums are reporting startup crashes too, especially on Windows 10, but there seems to be no specific fix for that as yet. Would you kindly release a patch, 2K?

Even despite all these woes, I’m finding that the remastered game looks rather lovely. I’ll run a screenshot gallery a little later today to show you.

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Who am I?

Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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