Ever since Irrational Games introduced us to the world of Rapture in 2008 with Bioshock, the series has come forth as a standout not only once, but three times with the additions of Bioshock 2 and Infinite. Each game, while very similar, has its own standouts that make each entry its own piece of critical acclaimation. Having just recently played through all three of the games through The Bioshock collection this past month or so, I wanted to pick each piece of the series apart to see which ones I enjoyed more than others. “Enjoyed” is a loose word that I’m throwing in here. Each game is great in its own way, and I’d being willing to go back and enthrall myself in each story I partook in (except one in particular, are not for the wrong reasons). It really came to the tiniest of details for this one, but this is my personal ranking of the current line up of Bioshock games:
#3 Bioshock 2
It should be noted that while Bioshock 2 sits at the bottom of the list isn’t due to any outstanding negatives, but rather the lack to branch out and create its own identity in the series. Some would say that this iteration is merely a continuation of the first. While this is true, the additions made do stand out. The end of Bioshock 1 gave us a glimpse inside the shoes of a Big Daddy. In Bioshock 2, that appetizer is turned into a full course meal spending the entire campaign as one of Rapture’s “Guardians”. With an antagonist in Sophia Lamb, whose purpose while opposed, feels genuine.
#2 Bioshock Infinite
Even though Bioshock Infinite has many elements similar to the first two games, it takes enough different turns to steer it in a different direction entirely. What kept me driven to the story of Infinite was the depiction of what times were like in the early 20th century. Social issues revolving around gender and race are at the forefront of this science fiction themed Columbia. Add in the incredible way the multiple branches of the story come back together and create a strong sense of closure at the end, and Bioshock Infinite is great even without any previous knowle dgeof the previous two entries. It’s one of the few times where a story ended so well for me in a game that I stopped, took the disk out of the console, and never touched it again. Why? Because I already knew that any attempt of reexperiencing the campaign wouldn’t resonate as well as the first time around, and I refused to give myself that disservice.
I remember descending into Rapture for the first time, with no context and less than a handful of unknown allies to “help” me unravel the mystery behind this underwater dystopia. The narrative triangle between yourself, Frank Fontaine, and Andrew Ryan is one of the most unpredictable experiences I’ve ever had in a game. Not to mention that great twist in the second half of the story. Despite a lackluster final boss fight, it hardly takes away from what the rest of the lore has to offer. From the Big Daddys to the Little Sisters, plasmid and tonics, the first installment of Bioshock is what got most people (and myself) hungry for more and of course paved the path for the next two games.