All Bioshock Games In Order (And A Review Of Each)

Bioshock Games In Order
Gamers fall for every adaptation of Bioshock

Far beyond the clouds in the sky and fish in the sea, Bioshock is a video game series created by Ken Levine. The games were a revolution of first-person shooters combined with the element of horror. Despite the different settings and time periods of each game, they connect together in a surprising twist of time-travel and universe jumping. It applies decision making that makes players question their own morals and values, while also doing what they can to survive. Bioshock cannot be described in any single category or adjective, making it one of the best video game series of all time and highly regarded by its fans. 

Bioshock happens to be my favorite video game. Its exploratory style, yet story-driven narrative makes it incredibly unique. Despite the love for the franchise, there are many arguments within the community on which game is the best. Having played every game multiple times, I have analyzed each game for its pros and cons and am here to deliver the answer. 

We will be viewing the games by their release date and I will provide a review of each game. Again, this is my opinion and a rather passionate one at that. All that being said, let’s dive into the depths and analyze Bioshock.


1. Bioshock - 2007 (Best)

Bioshock Launch Trailer

The journey begins in 1960 as the player sinks to the depths of the Atlantic ocean. In an underwater city named Rapture, they must defend their lives with wrenches, machine guns, and anything else they pick up on the way. The most memorable element of Bioshock is the use of ‘Adam’. Adam can be used by players to unlock powers like “lighting fire with the snap of your finger” or summoning a swarm of bees. The use of fantasy with steampunk and realism made the game such a revolution of its time. 

I would argue this game is the best in the entire series. The atmosphere of the game is incredible, allowing the player to feel the fear of survival in entirely new territories all while being led by a mysterious voice that goes by the name of “Atlas”. The game also has reputable enemies as you move from place to place in the city. Like a power-hungry surgeon named Dr. Steinman or a starving artist like Sander Cohen. Not to mention the incredible creatures the ‘Big Daddies’ that are giant mutants in diver suits who protect little girls in the underwater city. 

The most known of the characters would be Andrew Ryan, the creator of the city and essentially its dictator. The players go through the game as Jack Ryan and to avoid spoilers I won't say anything more about him. Through use of Andrew Ryan’s character and audio files found around the map, the game portrays an allegory of objectivism. Showcasing to players exactly what can happen when power gets out of hand.

The storyline of the game is among the best in video game history, and that plot twist of reaching Andrew Ryan’s office makes the game entirely. I remember being in utter shock the first time I played it in 2010. The game also supplies players with a good and bad ending that allows players to question their own morality in contrast to their survival. 

Despite its heavy meaning and story, the game is also extremely fun to play, making it great for replays. The enemies are challenging, without being frustratingly so and the mechanics of the game are great. Not to mention it has fantastic graphics for such an early game. With just a single remaster, Bioshock can still compete with games being released today.

Don't mess with Big Daddy.


2. Bioshock 2 - 2010 (Good)

Bioshock 2 Launch Trailer

Returning to the city of Rapture, the player takes on the role of a big daddy named subject Delta in a quest to find his lost ‘daughter’, Eleanor Lamb (she isn’t his real daughter). The second Bioshock game is a direct sequel to the first that showcases a new antagonist, Sophia Lamb, who takes over the city after Andrew Ryan. She attempts to sever the bond between her actual daughter and subject delta, providing the difficulties along the way. 

With better graphics and tweaks to the initial gameplay of the first Bioshock, the second game is a good addition, but isn’t all that different. There are new mechanics for hacking machines and weaponry, plus the initial option of playing as a big daddy makes the game fun. The story is simple with many different options for an ending and more choices to be made. There are also new characters to provide a new experience for the players, but it lacked freshness. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I thought it was entertaining, while still having those “OMG!” moments, just not at the scale the first game displayed. I loved the character of subject Delta and especially the new choices the game supplied. The gut-wrenching ending left fans full of emotion and the hauntingly beautiful city of Rapture didn’t fall short either. There are still secrets to uncover and hidden audio files that add to the new story, so it’s not like the developers didn’t try with this game. 

There are also new installments to the game like a DLC (that many fans argue has a better storyline than the original game) and a multiplayer mode that allows players to play together in combat. The DLC (downloadable content) has an amazing twist, despite quick completion, and the multiplayer also features a story-based gameplay where players work to test experimental weapons during the war of Andrew Ryan and Atlas. 

Bioshock 2 was a good game, but it left me and many fans longing for something more. It lacked the groundbreaking innovation and depth of the first game and left a lingering sense of undeveloped potential.

Big Sister's about to get grounded


3. Bioshock Infinite - 2013 (Great)

Bioshock Infinite - Save Elizabeth - Trailer

Bioshock Infinite completely deviates from the storyline of the first two games. No longer in the city of Rapture, but instead far above the clouds in a city called Columbia. The game once again features the lesson in the political agenda, but this time the city is ruled in theocracy with one dictator named Comstock. The city shadows the American Dream with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington robots instead of big daddies. The players go through the city as a character named Booker Dewitt in an attempt to rescue a girl named Elizabeth Comstock (daughter to the dictator, sound familiar?). 

This game is the first in the series to have the player character actually talk, rather than just being spoken to through a radio. Most of the mechanics from the first game are the same, like ADAM is similar, but called ‘vigors’ instead. There’s also a guardian that watches over Elizabeth in her tower called the Songbird, which I think is the coolest enemy in the game. Infinite definitely feels more on the steampunk side and offers an alternate universe to the original game, while still having those parallels. 

In all, Bioshock Infinite is a fantastic game. It’s extremely fun and the storyline isn’t completed too quickly, adding more of a challenge. Not only this, but it provides a fresh new look on the series. The developers really did a great job with this game. However, I still think the first game is the best in the series, and while this game is great, it still has its own flaws. 

Combat is taken back a step, rather than forward, as players have to switch between vigors and weapons like the first game, but luckily you're never short of ammo as Elizabeth keeps Booker well supplied. Which, in a way, is a flaw of the game. It takes away the survival element and the player no longer has the choice options that affect the ending like the first two games. It’s a straight narrative. However, the twist at the end of the game is equal to that of the original game. It's jaw-dropping and really makes players question every action they’ve made up to that point. Not many stories can sneak a plot-twist like that and make it work, and I commend it. 

An interesting element of the game is the fantastic character, Elizabeth Comstock. Learning more about her as the players go, she can open portals called ‘tears’ that touch into other universes and can help the players along the way. She dreams of seeing Paris, while the player is ultimately leading her to imprisonment. But besides her, Booker, and Comstock himself, the other characters lack their depth. There isn’t a lore-hunt for audio files anymore. The atmosphere doesn’t feel as dark or heavy.

The best part of the game is the DLC that was released shortly after the original campaign. It’s titled Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea.  It works as a bridge between all the games, almost acting as a love letter to fans from the developers.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1 Trailer

The DLC begins when Elizabeth opens a portal to a separate universe, one where herself and Booker were in the city of Rapture instead of Columbia. The end of the story shows the beginning of the first game, making a complete circle between the trilogy. Which is ironic considering the song that plays in the beginning of Infinite: will the circle be unbroken? Everything in each game had been set up for this moment, and I almost wish the DLC would have been a part of the original game. 

That DLC made up for everything players had been expecting in Infinite and even answered questions players had in the first game. Overall, Bioshock Infinite is a great game and shadows only short of the original Bioshock. With a new game on the way and an unexpected movie, the Bioshock franchise has a lot in store for its future. These games will always be held in high regard by me and many gamers and will always be some of the best in gaming history.

We aren't in Rapture anymore...


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Despite my origins in southern Georgia, I have adventured the deepest oceans and soared above the highest clouds. With my pencil as my guide, my eyes have never seen the same place twice.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Bioshock (again)
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Assassin's Creed 2 , Resident Evil HD Remaster

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