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Review – Bioshock 2

February 23, 2010

Available on: Xbox 360, PC, PS3

Version Reviewed: PC

2K Marin have also done the PS3 version of Bioshock.

A great scholar once said, “Right here on the ocean floor, Such wonderful things surround you, What more is you lookin’ for?” What more indeed, many people will come to Bioshock 2 launching criticism like a juiced up splicer hurling bees, ‘Rapture doesn’t feel new’ they’ll scream, ‘I’m not squashing people under my size thirteen’s’ others will moan, ‘Buying this game didn’t get Sarah to notice me at lunchtime’ Timothy from Massachusetts will strangely allege.

Final absurd point aside these ‘complaints’ aren’t without reason, but did you expect Rapture to feel all that new? An invitation back to one of modern entertainments more interesting locales should be embraced not dismissed as for all its similarities the team at 2K Marin have re-created and expanded Rapture beautifully without losing any of its unique charms, What more is you lookin’ for?

Daddy Issues

Filling the oversized boots of Prototype Big Daddy ‘Delta’ the game’s opening sees you rudely separated from your Little Sister companion by the game’s villainous figure, Sophia Lamb. It turns out that Lamb was one of Andrew Ryan’s main figures of opposition and a key figure in the downfall of Rapture, an addition that may irk some fans however Lamb’s morally ambiguous objectives and soulless delivery create a character that only serves to foster questions throughout the game as you struggle to reclaim the sister she took from you, moulding a story that manages to holds its own against the first game’s Pulitzer Prize quality scribe.

Rapture is in an even worse state than the previous game.

Progression through the game is linear to a degree, you’re free to explore each individual area though roughly until you decide to progress the plot, which is for all intents and purposes the same system as the first game. This new system works to the game’s advantage however, walls will come crashing down on your face, forcing you to plod along the sea bed to a new area or you’ll have to fight your way out of a flood that threatens to seal you in a watery grave, the frequency and impact of setpieces has been turned up to eleven.

The Gameplay has also been improved greatly through the simple addition of dual wielding a gun and plasmid power at once, no longer must you sacrifice playing around with telekinesis for the sake of having a firearm at the ready. The weapons unfortunately feel like Big Daddy ‘versions’ of standard armaments and many of the plasmids are returning favourites however a few of the late additions to your arsenal are well worth waiting for.

Aside from you being able to shoot better, those that want to plug some bullets in you tend to come in a larger array of flavours, normal and Houdini (invisible) splicer opponents return alongside the hulking Big Daddies but they are accompanied by the unwieldy Brute who will happily throw the nearest heavy object your way, and the frightfully nimble and screamy Big Sister who will act unkindly to anyone who tampers with the Little Sisters roaming a level, these fights alone are worth the entry fee.

n'yaw, innit cute?

It’s not all praise however, the initial hours will feel like a re-tread of Bioshock; plasmid introduction and progression will cause Déjà vu moments a-plenty for all but the most forgetful of players and Little Sister protection can become an exercise in monotony. That said the game only manages to improve itself throughout with the final hours offering an arguably better experience than anything in Bioshock, you can live in confidence that while the first game peaked early the second is always accelerating to its nuclear explosion of a final act.

Under the Sea

It’s plot isn’t as intelligent as Bioshock, and the location won’t re-introduce your jaw to the floor like it’s 2007 again, but as a return to Rapture it improves itself as a video game; your moral decisions have a larger impact, the tweaks to gameplay make it simply more fun to play, and having more nooks and crannies than a Parisian back street means the investigative player will double, perhaps even triple their playtime over a straight six hour run.

Add to this brilliantly realised single player a surprisingly interesting and unique multiplayer, plasmid powers and tight interior fighting helps it stand out from the modern warfare seen elsewhere, and 2K Marin have created a more complete package than the first game offered. It’s not the bravest of sequels to come out recently but, as that great scholar once said, “Darling it’s better, Down where it’s wetter, Take it from me.”

9

For your consideration – Download-tastic! 2K have already announced an incoming multiplayer expansion that sounds a touch dubious but there is single player content promised, and with Delta’s story all but done here’s looking forward to some interesting ‘episodes’ in Rapture’s future.

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One comment

  1. I agree with most points the only problem i found that the texture and animation needed work especially the ps3 version which i played, the multiplayer works better than i hoped as well.



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