BioShock is starting to show its age, but the advanced lighting effects of the Unreal Engine 4 make it look young again.
The first BioShock game came out seven years ago. In addition to making you feel old, that means that our first look at Rapture is pretty dated by the standards of today's graphics. Sure, it looked great at the time, but how much better could it look on a modern engine? A modder by the name of noodlespagoodle decided to find out, and managed to port a little slice of Rapture into Unreal Engine 4.
A few of you skeptics will probably say that it doesn't look very different from the original engine. Well... you may need to take off your rose-colored glasses; here's a screenshot from classic BioShock for comparison. The game used a modified version of Unreal Engine 2.5, so we've made some big advances since we set foot in Rapture in 2007. The lighting is a lot more dynamic in the modded video, with a few hiccups - that Big Daddy shines like a lamp, because modifying the model's original reflection variables would be far more difficult than simply dropping it into the new engine.
Yes, these are unmodified assets from 2007's BioShock. Unfortunately, converting the whole game to Unreal Engine 4 isn't exactly feasible. While bringing in the old models was simple enough, the animations and certain meshes didn't come with them. That's why the Big Daddies here are missing their iconic drill arms; the game's weapons aren't easily ported. Still, you get the idea of how gorgeous Rapture could look like on a next-gen engine - if only Irrational was still around to make it happen.