BioShock: The Collection Performance and Technical Analysis

Digital Foundry has published a comprehensive analysis of the performance and the technological makeup of the BioShock remasters that 2K has recently published. The overall conclusions are a mixed bag, due to uneven performance and other technical issues, and also because the new developers made a number of choices that altered the overall look of the games. From the article:

Coming out of this one, it’s clear that PC owners get the best deal here. If you own BioShock and its sequel, you get immediate access to the remasters, effectively giving you a choice between two visions of the game. You can sample the new work and see if it’s for you, or just drop back to the original releases if you feel that the changes go a little too far. Additionally, PC hardware can push beyond the limitations of the consoles and deliver the locked 60fps experience we want. On top of that, BioShock Infinite may not be perfect in its PC incarnation, but it’s light on CPU and GPU resources, highly scalable and looks better than the console versions, running better on a wide range of hardware. Finally, the fact that all of the games are of a certain age means that picking up Steam keys for each shouldn’t cost that much.

The console remasters are a mixed bag. Performance is an issue on the first two titles – we really shouldn’t be seeing frame-rate drops and tearing on titles as basic as this – but it really comes to the fore in BioShock Infinite, where it’s much more impactful to the game’s visual consistency and basic playability. But if there’s a sense of disappointment with Infinite, at least the remasters for the older titles shows an attempt to update and improve the assets for the modern console era. We aren’t entirely sure if the right artistic decisions were made, but these are not ‘lazy’ remasters – clearly a lot of effort has gone into them. They just lack a certain degree of polish, a common complaint with software these days, it seems.

We’ve concentrated on PC comparisons in our coverage thus far, but the state of play versus the original console releases is worth touching upon. BioShock and its immediate sequel are clearly hugely improved over both Xbox 360 and especially PS3, and the move up to 1080p60 adds significantly to the playability of titles. Meanwhile, BioShock Infinite had performance issues of its own back in the day, so there is an improvement here. But overall, there’s the sense that all three titles lack the required polish, and we hope that the upcoming patches can resolve the key issues here.

All in all, I recommend you check the full article and the videos embedded within it to get an idea of whether these remasters sound appealing to you or not. At least, if you’re on PC, you’ll get them for free with the older versions, so you can always make a choice to go to the original ports.

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