Bioshock 2 Review

February 11, 2010 at 1:14 am 2 comments

When Rapture speaks of you, it says only this: sleep now, your day is done.

This unlucky splicer is gonna get PWND

After an epic first game we find ourselves back underwater in Rapture, 10 years after the player (Jack) left it. Boy, what a mess it’s still in. In Bioshock 2, you play as a prototype Big Daddy, Subject Delta, who isn’t the type of cumbersome and cuddly iron ogre we saw in the original game. Not only does he have free will, he can also control plasmids. Nifty.

Smile for the camera!

With Andrew Ryan deceased, a new figure has emerged as top dog: Dr Sofia Lamb. Totally opposite to Ryan, she believes in the power of the collective, rather than of the individual. Appropriately, her followers of splicers are called the Family, represented by a the symbol of a butterfly (which also brings notions of rebirth). When you wake up, you find yourself missing your Little Sister Eleanor, not to forget Lamb’s cronies and Big Sister after your spliced guts.

Big Sister - her scream is as badass as her looks

Graphically nothing obvious has changed. The PC version of Bioshock 2 definitely looks more polished than the PS3 version, but the latter still handles itself very well. The water effects are still great as ever, and Rapture looks good with Lamb’s new taste in decor, butterflies and candles and all.

Take that, metal man!

"Just look what they've DONE to the place!"

The first Bioshock had an amazing soundtrack to boot, and excellent voice acting. Ryan’s arrogance was clearly perceived, and Fontaine’s accent was well done. The sequel continues these traditions, having a very atmospheric score and appropriate voice acting. A medal goes to Lamb’s voice actor, who conveys her ‘teacher/sensei’-type status very well. Unfortunately the minor sound effects that came with using vending machines in Bioshock 1 have been removed.

It's time for your half-yearly check up and clean!

So what’s new? For starters, the player will dual-wields plasmids and more ‘conventional’ weaponry. This is a great addition, although I found it very awkward to get used to on the PS3. Even now I still get buttons mixed up, and unfortunately it often happens in the more critical parts of the game. Nevertheless, the ability to dual-wield opens up a lot more gameplay options. For instance, you can shock/stun enemy splicers with electrocute, then finish them off with your trusty rivet gun.

Indian cricketers - they came to Rapture too~

Remember the pipe-game from Bioshock 1 which you had to play when hacking. It’s gone! In its stead is a simple game where you click when a pointer points at green/blue. This also must be done in real time, so it makes hacking a lot more different compared to Bioshock 1 when you’re fighting at the same time.

I want that plushy!

Splicers. Don’t we love to hate them. In Bioshock 2, you will hate them more because they’re noticeably more aggressive. They also attack in groups more often, which results in some very hectic firefights. 10 years after Jack came, they’ve become smarter as they’ll duck for cover and go to healing stations when damaged. There are also new types of Big Daddies, rather than your typical brutes, such as Rumblers, which set up turrets and RPG rounds.

Under the sea...

Big Sister. She’s pretty much been the marketing tool of the sequel, so does she live up to her hype? In my opinion, while she is definitely a new type of boss that you’ll be facing randomly from time to time, her presence in Bioshock 2 isn’t incredibly awesome. In essence she’s just a damn fast brute who can not only use plasmids, but scream like hell as well. What’s more interesting is her backstory, and the fact that there are *spoiler alert* several Big Sisters.

Who's your daddy?!

And Little Sisters? The fact that you can adopt them is a new option, allowing the player to harvest ADAM from specific corpses. However, if you do choose to harvest ADAM from corpses, be prepared for a big firefight as you’ll need to protect that fatass syringe-wielding demon girl from marauding splicers. This is a solid albeit rather repetitive addition in the sequel. Unfortunately the linearity of the first Bioshock is present in the sequel.

FIREBLAST!

While character design and setting are still positive points, Bioshock 2 lacked the oomph and impact that the original had. Dr Lamb is a great character, but compared to Ryan and Fontaine, she lacks the sheer charisma that made the latter two so memorable. She just pales in comparision to these two. Bioshock 2 still has fantastic locations such as Ryan Amusements, a wanktarded version of Disneyland, Ryan-style. However the problem is that we’ve seen it all before in the first game.

Boom. Headshot.

Online multiplayer is a cool addition in Bioshock 2. It gives a new Rapture-styled approach to the typical fps multiplayer seen in games like Modern Warfare 2 and Killzone 2. Set a year before the events of Bioshock 1, the player plays as a splicer during Rapture’s civil war. As experience is gained, more weapons and plasmids are unlocked etc. etc….  In most modes a Big Daddy suit will spawn, allowing one player in the map to don it when found. I found this to be a double-edged sword as while you obviously become overpowered, you’ll quickly find that most, if not all of the enemy ganging up on you.

Multiplayer shenanigans~Doin' it from behind...

On the whole, Bioshock 2 didn’t impress me as much as Bioshock 1, which brought a fresh and original concept to life. Rules dictate that a sequel follows in the footsteps of its original and Bioshock 2 is no different. I feel it always walks in the shadows of its predecessor as the new gameplay options aren’t enough to bring a certain freshness to the game. What made the first game amazing were its locales and characters, rather than gameplay. 2K Marin and Irrational Games seemed to have overlooked that and placed more emphasis on gameplay, which is what I didn’t want. At least multiplayer and the 3 possible endings will keep me occupied for quite a while.

Story/setting: 8.5/10

Graphics: 8.75/10

Sound: 9.5/10

Gameplay: 9.25/10

Lasting value: 9/10

Overall: 9/10

Well he ain't gonna be in Bioshock 3

Bioshock 2 is out now for PC, PS3 and the XBox 360

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Entry filed under: Videogames.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Ninja  |  February 11, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Oh rivet gun, how do I loveth you? Let me count the ways…

    Sounds like a repeat of the Deus Ex 1 and 2 transformation from storyline-based to more mechanics-oriented.

    Reply
  • 2. Baka!  |  February 11, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Having played it for a few hours my main qualm is remembering what key does what. The degree of complexity in the controls somewhat makes it annoying at times.

    Reply

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