Almost ten years after we first daddied and kindlied and golfed, BioShock has today returned in an apparently fancy-panted remastered version, aka Bioshock: The Collection [official site]. Sadly it’s not in the best of shape, in terms of what we PC folk tend to demand from our settings menus and whatnot, but perhaps a more overriding question is but how does it look?
I shall show you, in thirty different ways. A few thoughts of my own just beneath the cut too.
If you’ve not used one of our galleries before, these are the ropes: click yon arrows below each image to progress back and forth, or use cursor keys. You can also click on each image for a full HD version, which I highly recommend doing for these.
For your delightful information, these were captured at 3440×1440 then downscaled to 2560×1080 for sanity’s sake (and then again to 620 pixels wide for the non-fullscreen versions). I’ve also cropped a handful of the images purely to remove dead space or to focus on something interesting.
Unfortunately the majority of these shots do not have anti-aliasing turned on and have anistropic filtering limited to 4x, due to a bug that locks out ultrawide resolutions if one has the temerity to change any of its woefully limited other settings. That’s resolved in the last 10 or so pics though, once I’d worked out how to circumvent the problem by editing the ini file (as detailed here).
The game generally sat at my monitor’s native 75Hz / 75 frames per second on a Radeon R9 Nano, so no performance quibbles, mouse-smoothing aside. Does it look significantly better than the original? Well, yes and no. Textures are the main thing that jumps out at me – a whole lot sharper, on everything from character skins to posters on the wall.
Definitely makes Rapture more striking and the game more modern-looking – last time I played the original it was visibly dating. I’m not sure if much has been done beyond that, though. There was a feeling that shadows and lighting were amped up somewhat, but this may have been just a knock-on effect of the new textures seeming to augment detail throughout.
Sure, I could wish for shinier, and the giant squid in the underwater descent sequence at the start looks kinda boxy, but no real complaints. The art direction and the canny use of shadow makes it’s a great-looking game, particularly when running at a more cinematic 21:9 resolution. (Although sadly this remaster clearly hasn’t been made with that aspect ratio in mind: the outside of Jack’s shoulder is missing, leaving just a hole, when wielding some weapons, as the screen was originally designed to chop off way before that point. )
What strikes me most when playing the remaster is that its horror credentials have shot up. It looks/feels so much creepier now, as things flicker and mutter in the dark and faces don’t look quite so much like rice-pudding. BioShock’s atmosphere was always its true crown jewel, and I think it might just be hitting harder than ever before in that respect.
Anyway: scroll back up to the top then have a browse of the gallery to see what you think.