The Digest: I’d like to note right away that I won’t be talking about the game at all in this review – one of our other team members is taking care of that soon. This review is specifically about the contents of the Collector’s Edition set for Bioshock 2 and whether or not it justifies the additional $40 price tag.
In short, the answer is yes. Read on to find out what all it includes, how it is packaged and see photos of the items. This isn’t your normal junky bunch of plastic action figures and gimmick items, but quality stuff perfect for any hardcore, spliced-up Bioshock junkie.
THE FACT SHEET
RELEASE DATE: Feb 9, 2010
ESRB RATING: “M” for Mature
At first glance, the Collector’s Edition will encourage one response: “Wow, that’s big.” It’s a large square package over a foot wide and tall. There’s a reason for this, and it’s made clear once you flip the package over and read about its contents. They are exactly what you’d hope and expect them to be for a Bioshock set.
The original Game of the Year-winning Bioshock’s major appeal was its artistry. The world in which it took place was like nothing else and offered gamers a journey into a volatile, insane, beautiful world filled with terror and ingenuity. The characters were designed without flaw, the voice acting was tops, and the storytelling was deeper and more involved as any FPS ever has been. Not to mention all that, but the score was a haunting, twisted take on 1950s orchestral music that totally kept the mood and flow of the entire game alive. With that said, it’s no surprise the collector’s edition of Bioshock 2 would represent the things that served as highlights from the first title. Here are the contents:
- Vinyl 180g LP with Bioshock 1 orchestral score
- Audio CD with Bioshock 2 orchestral score
- 3 vintage Rapture advertisements
- Bioshock 2 Art Book – Deco Devolution – Hardcover, 164 pages
- Bioshock 2 software
A BOX OF GOODIES:
After removing the Bioshock 2 sleeve, you find all the goodies are packaged in a very solid, hard-topped black box that feels like it has a bit of a rubberized coating on it. The box depicts a butterfly made out of handprints and the Bioshock 2 logo. Butterflies weren’t important in Bioshock, so the box already raises questions as to what the importance of this image will be in the game.
Taking off its lid, we’re hit with the LP of the Bioshock 1 score – the reason the overall package is shaped the way it is. Including this score, which is an amazing bit of music, in the collection as an LP was an ingenious idea that not only reflects something that was awesome about the first Bioshock, but represents the time period in which Rapture is stuck. There is also a great message from the composer of the score on the back of the record sleeve. I can see some gamers possibly liking this idea but not finding it practical, as LP record players are in short supply these days, but for those who have one it’s a really swell idea. The music sounds great on an LP. I plan to put mine on and play the Fort Frolic/Sander Cohen music while dancing with my wife in the living room. Where did I put my masquerade masks…
Under the LP lies the rest of the items.
The art book, Deco Devolution, is a must-have for any true Bioshock fan. It is 164 pages of original hand drawings, prototypes, artistic evolutions and comments from the designers on how they go about creating everything in the world, their thought processes, and the reasons behind the designs. It’s a super tight hardcover-bound book that, if it didn’t come in this package, would be worth buying as a standalone product. Art is a primary element in Rapture, so hearing from the artists that created it is pretty special.
The CD of the Bioshock 2 score is lovely as well. I haven’t played through the whole game yet and didn’t want to listen to the full score until I have game content to relate it to, so it hasn’t been listened to entirely. But since it’s in the hands of the same composer, I’d venture to say it will be just as captivating as the first. As far as I’ve played in Bioshock 2 to this point, I’ve quite enjoyed the music – and it’s all there on that CD.
The ad posters are full-color 8.5″x11″ sheets that are very tightly rolled and encased next to the book. They’re really nice propaganda to adorn the walls of your game room or wherever you hang your nerd materials, but they’ll definitely take some effort to get un-rolled. For the sake of the pictures, I had to tuck one end of each sheet in the crack of my desk chair and hold the other end with my hand. Reverse rolling and sitting them between some heavy books is required. They’re very, very rolled up. Cool though.
Under all the above, in the very depths of the package, you finally get to the game itself.
Conclusion: I find this to be a very nice, comprehensive package that dutifully pays tribute to some of the components that make Bioshock what it is. There have been plenty worse collector’s edition packages (think Arkham Asylum, for example). Honestly, there are very, very few things for which I’d shell out the extra cash for a collector set. But with this, everything included in the kit is created with high quality in mind, and nothing feels thrown in for the sake of padding the collection. This certainly isn’t a game with a bunch of silly, useless junk or trinkets. This is a very nice package, and I’d consider it a great investment for any die-hard Bioshock fan.
|- Very creative LP of the Bioshock 1 score
- Wonderful hardback book
- Overall designed and packaged well
|- If you don’t have a record player, you’re out of luck with the LP|