BioShock: The Collection brings together one of the most well-regarded trilogies of the last decade onto one disc, including all the single-player DLC created for the series over the years.
Bioshock begins as your plane plummets into icy and uncharted waters and you are forced to enter a lighthouse oddly located in the middle of the ocean. Discovering a primitive diving bell inside the structure, you board it and travel to the bottom of the ocean and into the haunting world of `The Rapture'.
You discover that `The Rapture' was once a utopian society created shortly after The Second World war for only the best scientists, doctors and artists but has been ravaged after a war over `Adam', a genetic enhancement that gives people almost superhuman powers.
Arriving after the great genetic war, the player finds the civilisation battered and blood-soaked, home only to those humans who were mutated beyond imagination by the very weapons they used in their great war. As the player proceeds through the dark and violent society, they will encounter many of the mutated beings left over from the conflict, from small girls who feed off the dead to create `Adam', to the `Big daddies'- huge biomechanical creatures armed with deadly weapons.
The player will pass through the underwater buildings and harness `Adam' to mutate themselves like the residents of `The Rapture' to gain control of new weapons ranging from telekinesis to the ability to produce fire from your hands.
'The Rapture' itself is rusting and decaying, creating a city of fear without light, smeared with blood and filled the screams of its former citizens. As the game progresses, the player must employ new tactics to defeat some of the more heavily armoured members of the nightmarish underwater colony. The `Big daddies' will not go down easily and you will have to take advantage of your environment as well as your mutations to finish them off once and for all.
You will be met with the most important of choices: save the civilisation or exploit them to allow yourself to escape their hellish world.
Big Daddies were perhaps the most iconic creatures in the first BioShock game. In the second, you get to play as the very first prototype. Big Daddies were never too far away from the Little Sisters that would accompany them. Set ten years after the events of the original game, girls are being snatched above water by a monster and then dumped in the city of Rapture. While surviving the threats of the now fallen and destroyed city, you wander the underwater halls in search of answers.
Just as in the first game, BioShock 2 involves genetic modification via Plasmids to overcome your foes and various obstacles. This time around, you get to dual-wield standard weapons and Plasmid powers, while you get to use your own powerful abilities as a Big Daddy to pulverise your enemies.
In BioShock, your nameless character dived thousands of leagues under the sea to an abandoned underwater city once ruled by capitalism and science. Here, in BioShock Infinite, you're shot skywards to a heavily-populated floating North American state, governed by cult religion and superstition. Rather than solving the mystery of an already-destroyed wonderworld, in BioShock Infinite you participate in events that could lead to its destruction.
For as visually stunning and serene Columbia is when you arrive, there exists a dark side to its governance. Civilians who first visit the floating world are required to undertake some form of baptism to accept the word of the kingdom's `Prophet' - a bearded chap who claims to see the future, called Father Comstock. As you'd expect, because of his powers he is revered throughout the land - save for a pocket of resistance fighters known as the Vox Populi.
As private investigator Booker Dewitt, you end up arriving at Columbia via rocket-powered lighthouse (don't ask) to complete an as-yet unexplained `job'. This job involves finding Comstock's daughter, Elizabeth, and escaping with her alive. As Booker experiences frequent flashbacks throughout the course of the game, you start to understand the `debt' he has to repay and why he isn't necessarily keen on doing the job in the first place.
Gameplay (particularly combat) still relies on a combination of aggressive and tactical abilities (Plasmids now come in the form of Vigors) along with traditional gunplay. Various vending machines are peppered throughout Columbia that offer upgrades as well as health packs and salts (which are needed to perform Vigors).
BioShock Infinite expands on its predecessors by taking advantage of the vast open space that Columbia offers. Battle arenas and set-pieces are multi-tiered, with enemies appearing at various heights to ensure that you stay on your toes. To get around quickly and efficiently, Dewitt has a tool called the Skyhook which allows him to cling onto floating rails and move along them at great speed.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, adds a new dimension to an otherwise solitary gameplay experience. She offers virtual companionship inbetween battles as any NPC buddy would, but she isn't completely useless - she can find ammo, health, money and other items whilst you're shooting at enemies, and can also pick locks when you're stuck in a room.
Elizabeth can also aid you in battle through the use of Tears. With her strange, almost psychic powers, she can open a `window' to another dimension or time space, resulting in the placement of helpful environments or objects that normally would not be in Columbia. There are offensive and defensive Tears that you can use, although only one Tear can be made at any one time.BioShock Infinite might have taken the tested series formula and transferred it to the clouds, but it's far more than a retread of old ground.