The Nintendo Switch sees a steady stream of games that are ported from other more powerful, platforms like PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. But, because the Switch lacks the graphical horsepower of those other platforms, concessions must frequently be made to get the game running. Because of these concessions, a great game on another platform might be an absolute disaster on the Nintendo Switch. Or, in the best scenarios, the core strengths of the game are able to transfer over, even if it means taking a graphical hit.
Today we’re looking at BioShock: The Collection on Nintendo Switch.
What is BioShock: The Collection?
This collection includes the three main BioShock releases: BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite. All three are first-person shooters with role-playing elements and character building that encourage players to find their own solutions to various problems. They’re also some of the most narratively ambitious games ever designed, and if you’ve never had the chance to play them, you’re in for a treat.
The collection also includes all of the post-launch DLC packs, including BioShock 2’s Minerva’s Den, an experience that is easily one of the peaks of the franchise.
What’s the biggest difference between the Switch version and other platforms?
Outside of the price — the collection is dramatically more expensive on Switch compared to other platforms that have offered the compilation for years — there are some noteworthy differences in the Switch version.
The PS4, Windows PC, and Xbox One versions of the BioShock collection run at 60 fps, whereas the Switch is locked to 30 fps.
That said, the ports of these games are incredibly clean, with minimal performance hitches and mostly stable frame rates, save for extremely hectic combat moments. That’s saying a lot, considering that the games look absolutely stunning, even when playing in handheld mode.
BioShock Infinite is the most recent of these releases, and the Switch port includes many of the visual details — such as real-time reflections — that made the original release look so nice on PC. While the first two games are older, they also hold their own, thanks to stellar art and level design that doesn’t require a beefy video card.
One omission to note is the lack of gyroscopic aiming, a feature that we’re seeing more and more in first-person Switch games. If you struggle with shooters on the platform, there’s no shame in dropping the difficulty down a notch, making the games easier to play without precise aiming.
Is the Nintendo Switch version worth your time?
You’re better off buying the PS4 or Xbox One version of BioShock: The Collection if you’re planning on playing these games on your TV and you own another console; you’ll save money and get a better-looking version of each game.
But Switch is your only option if you’re looking to play these games on the go. Thankfully, these ports do their jobs admirably well, and do justice to three remarkable games.
BioShock: The Collection was released June 1 on Nintendo Switch. It is also available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One. Impressions were based on final “retail” Switch download code provided by 2K Games. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.