When it was first released in 2007, the original BioShock was a revolutionary idea that influenced the gaming world. Nobody thought of the title solely as a game. No, it was regarded as art, a sci-fi thriller film, or even something you would expect out of a fictional book. It's what prompted the series' developers to release three games and three pieces of DLC based on the concept. Nonetheless, because the BioShock series was one of the most influential video game franchises of its time, we thought it only fair to rank all of the BioShock games and DLC.
6. BioShock 2: Minerva's Den
BioShock 2: Minerva's Den comes in last place among all BioShock games and DLC. That's not to say it's a bad game; it's just that the other BioShock games set a pretty high standard. And Minerva's Den doesn't deliver as much in terms of story and gameplay as those titles, which is why it's ranked last.
What's more, although we were able to play as a Big Daddy, the DLC was limited to a single district rather than the entire underwater world of Rapture. And one of the best things about the BioShock series is the unnerving feeling you get as explore more of Rapture. So, although this DLC did have glimpses of that feeling, its gameplay and narrative were not as complete or as impactful as the other games in the series.
5. BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1
You may be questioning why we don't have this DLC higher up on the list. While we do have its sequel up there, we're leaving BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea – Episode 1 in fifth place. This DLC was not bad by any means, but it was more of a setup episode than anything else. It gave players what they wanted after BioShock Infinite: more Rapture. As a result, it was the ideal DLC to inject some much-needed nostalgia following the conclusion of the series with Infinite. However, it is ultimately the more engaging gameplay and events of the other BioShock games and DLC that push this entry down the list.
4. BioShock Infinite
BioShock Infinite was an excellent conclusion to the franchise. It took a bold step to move the series' setting from the depths of the ocean in Rapture to high above the clouds in the city-state of Columbia. This opened up an entirely new world for us. And, while that foreign feeling is exciting, it's also intimidating and unnerving. That's why developers made sure to tie in certain elements and pieces of lore from the original two game's settings to prevent Infinite from feeling like it's entirely new and not tied to the previous titles. Throughout the game's story, BioShock Infinite draws parallels between Rapture and Columbia, and they do an excellent job of it.
The only criticism we have is that it doesn't feel as dark and ominous as the first two games. The first two BioShock games, and even the Burial at Sea DLC for Infinite, put an emphasis on making their atmosphere as deranged as possible, which at its core is what we love about Bioshock. However, the atmosphere in BioShock Infinite was more patriotic. The concept of “Big Daddy” and “Little Sisters” is absent, and the names of Plasmids and EVE have been changed. It still resulted in a great finale, and if we hadn't had such a strong preference for the setting of the other games, this entry would most likely be higher on the list.
3. BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2
The second installment of BioShock Infinite's Burial At Sea DLC was hands down the best DLC for the franchise. It begins and ends with a twist, just like the original BioShock. Even better, after experiencing the likes of Columbia, it transports us back to Rapture. Somehow, the developers just knew that the franchise wouldn't feel complete without visiting Rapture once more. Plus, they did it in a very sinister way by having us play through the eyes of Elizabeth. We're more observant of our surroundings and the world that's taking place around us playing as this protagonist.
All in all, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2 was a great sign-off DLC for the franchise. It brought players back to the game's roots, and as a result, made us appreciate the atmosphere in the first two games all over again.
4. BioShock 2
BioShock 2 is the least favorite entry among all the BioShock games and DLC for a lot of people, but we're not entirely sure why. It may have not lived up to its predecessor's standards, but that game was a home run-through and through. So, following that up with another 10/10 is unlikely. Having said that, we believe BioShock 2 is a worthy successor to the original game. The sequel is dark and grungy and takes us on a more detailed and in-depth journey through Rapture than we've seen before.
We also got a different point of view in BioShock 2, that being through the eyes of the Big Daddy. It was a significant shift in the story to switch the protagonist from Jack Jack to the original Big Daddy. However, we found it quite refreshing. And, unbeknownst to us, the Big Daddy we play as, “Subject Delta,” has important ties to the story. So overall, we thought BioShock 2 was a great sequel and a stand-out game in its own right.
Of course, the title that started it all, the original BioShock, takes the top spot among all BioShock games and DLC. But, as we said at the start, this was one of the most influential games of all time, particularly for RPG and action-adventure games. The setting, characters, and plot were unlike anything we'd seen before. Even if the original title was released today (which we wish was the case), we're confident it would have the same impact. You just don't find games as innovative as the original BioShock anymore, and its legacy will live on in our hearts forever.