All Bioshock Games, Ranked Best to Worst
Which is the Best Bioshock Game in the series?
When a great series is made, there are many, many different opinions on what makes it so perfect. Sometimes, you're late to the party and there's already three games out. It can be tempting to just pick up the latest title and have at it, but, that's just not a good idea. Can you just pick up Bioshock Infinite and call it day? Well, that's a "yes" and a "no". The third entry can arguably be played first, but to get a real appreciation of the whole series, it doesn't hurt to blow through them all. Just so you get an idea of if it is worth it or not, here's a rating of each game from best to worst.
1) BioShock Infinite
BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock game series. The years is 1912, and players take control private investigator Booker DeWitt who is an ex-soldier and former agent of the Pinkertons. He is is taken to a lighthouse by enigmatic pair Rosalind and Robert Lutece by rowboat. His task is to reach Columbia, a city in the sky created by Father Comstock, to retrieve a girl to erase an old debt.
The opening harks back to the previous two BioShock titles. It's dark, claustrophobic, and the story is told by the desperate messages and scattered items. That all changes shortly after as DeWitt is brought to Columbia and has to undergo a baptism of sorts. When DeWitt awakens, the player is treated to possibly one of the most serene sections of the game. Perhaps mirroring BioShock's rapture in some way, the player awakens submerged in water, alone. The room is solely lit by candles that reflect beautifully off the water. The environment is glowing warmly. When DeWitt emerges, his eyes fight the radiance of the sun, and all around him are the pristine buildings of Columbia.
It's an amazing opening sequence. It provides a strong contrast between the previous two BioShock entries, showcasing a world that is far more open and vividly colored. This also stands in contrast with what lies at the heart of Columbia. When Jack, the protagonist of the first BioShock game, first enters Rapture, the world has fallen apart, and its inhabitants have nearly lost all of their humanity. DeWitt enters a world that is at the edge of destruction as two sides battle against one another for control of the city. There is violence and barely controlled rage hiding beneath Columbia's supposed beauty. Some critics have said that the violence of the game play is out of character with the rest of the narrative, and that it hurts the story. However, both DeWitt and Columbia are trying to hide their violent nature and past. DeWitt's actions bring both out to the surface. Violence is a part of the narrative.
Another thing stands out from other BioShock games is the companionship. While Jack and Delta (of BioShock 2) had a radio voice moving them forward, DeWitt has Elizabeth traveling along side him. Elizabeth finds errant coins, health, salts (for using Vigors), and ammunition. She also has a few unique abilities that assist you greatly in battle and also progress the story, but those will be left out to prevent spoilers. Elizabeth and DeWitt's interactions drive the story on a different emotional level as the two VA's providing the voice work do an excellent job at creating chemistry between the two. It feels real and natural, and it creates a deeper sense of immersion.
It's difficult to pick the top spot between the two BioShock games, as the original and Infinite do a fine job of doing what they set out to do. The atmosphere of both is fitting for the narrative, and the game play style fits the locale of both. The original BioShock beats down on the player with its sense of isolation as Jack explores the ruined Rapture, its walls literally closing down on him. Infinite offers a beautiful environment to explore that is pockmarked by its corruption. I rate this game 4.5/5.
This kicked off the BioShock game trilogy back in 2007. It was released for PC and Xbox 360. The year is 1960, and players assume the role of Jack whose plane has gone down near a lighthouse. Inside, he finds a bathysphere terminal that leads to the underwater city of Rapture. Rapture was built by businessman Andrew Ryan as a sort of utopia for the very well-to-do. However, some sort of schism broke out, and Jack comes to a city left in ruins. Jack finds a radio, and he is contacted by Atlas just as he is about to be attacked by maddened denizens labeled as Splicers. The discovery of special sea slugs on the ocean floor allowed scientists to create ADAM that would allow users to alter their DNA, giving them incredible powers. This tore the city apart, and Jack is here for the aftermath. All he can do is help Atlas find his family, and hopefully a way out.
While the game play is part of the fun, the main draw of BioShock is the unique environment of Rapture and the story-telling. Despite how broken and terrifying the atmosphere can be, the player can't help but be sucked into the design of the city and the various moods that the lighting can elicit. Staring out into the vast ocean and seeing Rapture trailing off into the distance gives a huge sense of scale. Rapture looks like a place that could have been lived in, and it fills the player's imagination with what life could have been like here before it fell apart. The costuming of the Splicers and the environment they roam around in tells a much larger back story than any note or audio tidbit the player can find.
As Jack progresses through the story, he upgrades his arsenal with various weapons and plasmids (ADAM infused abilities) that lets him battle through Splicers, Rapture's security, and also hulking Big Daddies that guard Little Sisters. Little Sisters harvest and also produce ADAM, so Big Daddies were created to protect them as they do their valuable work. With Rapture fallen, the duos roam about and have chance encounters with Jack. Jack is presented with a moral choice on how to deal with the Little Sisters.
With an excellent story, a great environment, and tight game play, I rate this game a 4.5/5
3) BioShock 2
Calling this the worst BioShock game in the series is a much harsher title than it deserves. It is still very much a fantastic game in its own right, and it is not by that much of a margin that it sits below the other two in the series.
BioShock 2 is set 8 years after the events of the first BioShock game. The player assumes the role of Subject Delta who is the fourth Big Daddy prototype. He is brought back to life and is sent to recover the Little Sister he was bonded to before his death. Rapture at this point is now under the leadership of Sofia Lamb. She was chief opposition for Andrew Ryans, but Ryans found a way to have her jailed and kept away. Following the events of the first Bioshock, she finally had the opportunity to move about freely and put forward actions that lead to the present in the game. Her aims have been to create a truly altruistic society, and as the player goes through the game, they learn what this all entailed.
The first BioShock had the Little Sisters play a key role throughout, but the second in the series gives a much deeper back story to the creation of the Little Sisters, their fate, and also their role in the fall of Rapture. The story is just as well written as the first entry in the series, and the environment is just as deadly as it is beautiful. The combat has been updated now, with plasmids returning from the first game and new ones being showcased as well. Players now wield plasmids in their left hand, and in their right are the various weapons we see Big Daddies wield in the first game. The sense of sheer power is immense to say the least. Another welcome addition is that we are able to take advantage of the deep-sea diving suit that Delta wears. Delta occasionally steps outside the walls of Rapture out into the ocean, and it is strangely haunting. There is also a multiplayer mode that is story driven in which players select a splicer as their avatar. The main meat of the game, however, is the single player experience.
All in all, still a great game. It starts off feeling like a bit of the same ol', same ol', but quickly picks up and becomes its own thing. The first BioShock game is amazing, and is an incredibly tough act to follow. With all the hype and buzz of a second entry coming out, Irrational Games had some pretty big shoes to fill. BioShock 2 is still an amazing entry regardless, and Infinite rounded out the trilogy excellently. All in all, I give BioShock 2 a 4/5.
So, readers, what do you think? How would you rate the BioShock games? What are your thoughts on the 2nd entry? Do you think that the combat in Infinite detracted from the story? Tell us what you think in the comments!