BioShock is one of the more famous series, with distinctive style, weighty themes, and gameplay well integrated with the stories it tells. Originated by the creators of System Shock 2, Irrational Games, it carries the legacy of this classic title to a new setting and a new set of problems for the player to deal with.

At the time of writing, there are three main games developed under the BioShock license, with the fourth reported to be in development. Let’s take a look at each of the released titles and see what they are about.

BioShock Trilogy Video Games


BioShock

Steam
PC
Linux
OS X
Xbox 360
Xbox One
PS3
PS4
Developer: 2K Boston (Irrational Games), 2K Australia
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release year: 2007
Location: Rapture
Additional Content: Challenge Rooms

BioShock takes place in the underwater city of Rapture founded by Andrew Ryan, a massively wealthy man who desired a Utopia free from governmental oversight, exploring ideas described or proposed by Aldous Huxley, Ayn Rand, or George Orwell.
BioShock 2

BioShock’s environment is claustrophobic, and shows an image of a city dilapidated and overrun by survivors of a civil war which had torn the place apart. The player interacts with the world like in any other first-person shooter, with weapons and weird powers unlocked through the use of a rare substance called ADAM, which is the cause for the current state of the city.


Key Features

  • A plot-twist which works on a level deeper than in other game
  • Unnatural abilities
  • Art deco aesthetic
  • A blend of a first-person shooter and survival horror


BioShock 2

Steam
PC
OS X
Xbox 360
PS3
Developer: 2K Marin
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release year: 2010
Location: Rapture
Additional Content: Minerva’s Den

Where BioShock 1 explored individualism and selfishness takes to the extreme, BioShock 2 explores the opposite extreme and deals with the ideas of collectivism and serving the ‘greater good’. It also put the player in the suit of a Big Daddy, one of the augmented creatures the player fought in the previous game.
BioShock 2

BS2 takes place 8 years after the event of the first game, and Rapture has changed since then. The players have access to new weapons, like Bid Daddy’s drill, as well as new plasmids and a Research Camera, which allows them to study enemies and gain abilities from them.


Key Features

  • You play as a Big Daddy
  • Interesting story with heavy themes
  • New weapons and tools to work with
  • The morality system of BioShock 1 is back and just as important


Bioshock Infinite

Steam
PC
Linux
OS X
Xbox 360
PS3
Developer: Irrational Games
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release year: 2013
Location: Columbia
Additional Content: Burial at Sea Part I / Part II

BioShock Infinite takes place in a city of Columbia, floating in the clouds of the early 20th century. As Booker DeWitt, the player needs to navigate not only the conflict between the ruling Founders and the rebellious Vox Populi, but also make sense of the intricately woven story about alternative realities and divergent timelines.
Bioshock Infinite

A first-person shooter like its predecessors, it put a heavy emphasis on weaving its characters’ stories and exploring the implications of infinite realities. Columbia has anachronistic elements thanks to the tears in space-time, which makes for interesting tools.


Key Features

  • Intricate storyline
  • Stunning and unique setting
  • Coherent take on time travel and alternate realities
  • Explores important themes like BS1 and 2


Conclusion

Bioshock as a series has never been afraid of talking about the difficult topics and used its excellent mechanics to create a series unlike any other. Thanks to visual improvements of the Remastered versions released in 2016 the first two games can be experienced without the risk of a visual shock one could expect from games which were 9 and 6 years old when the Remastered editions were released.