Posts Tagged ‘Bioshock 2’

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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.”

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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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Bioshock 2 Multiplayer Impressions.

February 9, 2010

Whilst everyone and their sisters are enjoying Bioshock 2’s brilliant single player I have taken it upon myself to get to grips with the less enthused about portion of the game, the multiplayer, and you know what? It’s good.

First thing you have to get over is the chunk-o-riffic presentation, everything feels big from the guns to the gigantic crosshairs and of course, the hulking Big Daddies. The game is a million miles from the elegant sheen of Call of Duty or Bad Company, Bioshock is the warthog to their cheater, but The Lion King showed us just how charismatic a warthog can be….

Hakuna Matata

Secondly you won’t be securing many cheap kills with throwaway headshots, combat in Bioshock demands you to be on your toes, ballerina style. Due to the nature of the game you don’t know who’s hacked a turret or if there is a booby trap somewhere, or what plasmid or weapon the next goon is going to run around a corner brandishing unless you’re paying attention.

And that’s arguably the strangest thing many people will find about Bioshock’s multiplayer; corners. As to be presumed of a game set in an underwater dystopia there aren’t many fields to do battle over. The levels and hectic gameplay more echoes the claustrophobic gun fights of Goldeneye or Unreal Tournament than it does Halo, all the more so because you need to secure additional plasmid ammo dropped around the level to keep yourself fighting fit, but ultimately it always feels like Bioshock.

Look at the size of that Shotgun! at that height the kickback should blind you.

As with all modern multiplayer FPS games Bioshock has a leveling system, traveling up the ranks secures new guns to blast people with, new tonics to buff yourself with, and new plasmids to royally screw other people over with, and of these three it’s those gene altering magic powers that help Bioshock feel unique.

Some plasmids work well in conjunction, some will help you escape quickly with a Little Sister, some simply deal huge damage. Knowing which plasmids to equip and when can make the difference in every situations, but more importantly they breed experimentation and you’ll amaze yourself time and again at your burgeoning combat creativity. Fights just aren’t this dynamic with C4 and a UAV.

And then there’s playing as the Big Daddy, not since twatting four survivors off a roof in Left 4 Dead has a multiplayer filled you with a feeling of such dominance, armed with obscenely powerful proximity mines, a crippling stun stomp, and a gun that launches rivets the size of your face an effective Big Daddy can dominate both offensively and defensively. All that and you make brilliant stompy sounds as you walk.

The game has a great sense of character without feeling forced.

So whilst the initial levels are quite a task to get through Bioshock 2’s multiplayer evolves into a surprisingly creative, if somewhat manic multiplayer mode that is different enough to the norm to be worth checking out, you may just find a new favourite online time waster. It’s a shame there’s not more to your ‘apartment’, but perhaps there will be some tasty story messages from Sinclaire at the higher ranks? Back to Rapture for me!

Whilst everyone and their sisters are enjoying Bioshock 2’s brilliant single player I have taken it upon myself to get to grips with the less enthused about portion of the game, the multiplayer, and you know what? It’s good…

First thing you have to get over is the chunk-o-riffic presentation, everything feels big from the guns to the gigantic crosshairs and of course, the hulking Big Daddies, the game is a million miles from the elegant head up display of Call of Duty or Bad Company, Bioshock is the warthog to their cheater, but The Lion King showed us just how charismatic a warthog can be….

Secondly you won’t be securing many cheap kills with throwaway headshots, combat in Bioshock demands you to be on your toes, ballerina style. Due to the nature of the game you don’t know who’s hacked a turret or if there is a booby trap somewhere, or what plasmid or weapon the next goon is going to run around a corner brandishing unless you’re paying attention.

And that’s arguably the strangest thing many people will find about Bioshock’s multiplayer; corners. As to be presumed of a game set in an underwater dystopia there aren’t many fields to do battle over. The levels and hectic gameplay more echoes the claustrophobic gun fights of Goldeneye or Unreal Tournament than it does Halo, all the more so because you need to secure additional plasmid ammo dropped around the level to keep yourself fighting fit, but ultimately it always feels like Bioshock.

As with all modern multiplayer FPS games Bioshock has a leveling system, traveling up the ranks secures new guns to blast people with, new tonics to buff yourself with, and new plasmids to royally screw other people over with, and of these three it’s those gene altering magic powers that help Bioshock feel unique.

Some plasmids work well in conjunction, some will help you escape quickly with a Little Sister, some simply deal huge damage. Knowing which plasmids to equip and when can make the difference in every situations, but more importantly they breed experimentation and you’ll amaze yourself time and again at your burgeoning combat creativity. Fights just aren’t this dynamic with C4 and a UAV.

And then there’s playing as the Big Daddy, not since twatting four survivors off a roof in Left 4 Dead has a multiplayer filled you with a feeling of such dominance, armed with obscenely powerful proximity mines, a crippling stun stomp, and a gun that launches rivets the size of your face an effective Big Daddy can dominate both offensively and defensively. All that and you make brilliant stompy sounds as you walk.

So whilst the initial levels are quite a task to get through Bioshock 2’s multiplayer evolves into a surprisingly creative, if somewhat manic multiplayer mode that is different enough to the norm to be worth checking out, you may just find a new favourite online time waster.

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The Hype Train – Bioshock 2

January 25, 2010

With only a few weeks to go and pre-orders set in place, it’s about time I hoped on, choo choo!

Bioshock is a tender subject for me. The various promises of intelligent elemental power use and pretty art decor  was intriguing enough that I got absorbed into the games monumental hype hurricane even though I’d not touched a ‘shock game previously and whilst the majority of the game was a class act, well the first half was at least, its closing chapters were such an embarrassing plummet in quality that it felt like the game falling rapidly down a thirty story flight of stairs and impaling itself on a carpet of electrocuted porcupines.

Spoiler alert

All the locations and revelations after you jam that golf club into Ryan’s face are dull and drab in comparison to the endlessly creative tapestry woven in those opening hours, plot points appear and flop around like suicidal flying fish leaping onto a fisherman’s deck whilst the big event, being transformed into a Big Daddy, was the gaming equivalent of a Big Mac, sounds amazing but a soul crushing disappointment when it arrives.

Spoilers over

It's only art, but I've already filled my pants just looking at it.

So the end of Bioshock left me with a bad taste in my mouth, again just like a Big Mac, so my initial reaction to Bioshock 2 was ‘hmph, that’s nice’, until I found out that Jordan Thomas was to be the game’s creative director.

That may not sound like a hype generating device to the uninitiated but Thomas is a brilliant designer, creator of the half mental institute half orphanage all bloody terrifying ‘Asylum’ level in Thief 3 and also the mastermind of the best section of the first Bioshock, Fort Frolic.

So Thomas knows his Big Daddies from his Splicers, which was enough to get me on board, but he’s also a game design genius and that’s the key point, a genius is in charge of the creative direction of Bioshock 2, worries gone.

And then there are the Big Sisters, mutated splicers and mechanics such as babysitting the kids from the shining, sorry, the Little Sisters. The direction of the game whilst arguably more linear seems focused on delivering Rapture as a more tangible place to the player, taking the role of a big daddy and taking part in Rapture’s eco system rather than in the first game when everything was new, the team at 2K Marin know players will be returning for a second time so rather than give them another amateur role we’re now playing as certified citizens of Rapture. 2K know we’ve earned our citizenship, and we’re going to see an even uglier side of the town.

They were creepy enough when you didn't have to give them piggy backs.

And what about that multiplayer, interesting no? If it wasn’t being born of the Splash Damage lineage I probably wouldn’t give it a second glance but the idea of it being designed by people who actually know how to make a multiplayer game fills me with hope, and improvements on the combat side such as dual wielding a gun and a plasmid coupled with the prospect of drilling my friends faces off as a Big Daddy fills me with glee, it’s been a long time since a multiplayer shooter has come along set in a world with such a vivid sense of creativity and I think it will develop a dedicated cult following with little trouble.

So for me it’s all down to a strong creative director, a brilliant backdrop, and a unique sounding multiplayer, but that’s more than enough to ensure I’m on board this hype train.

With only a few weeks to go and pre-orders set in place, it’s about time I hoped on the hype train, choo choo!

Bioshock is a tender subject for me. The majority of the game was a class act, the first half to be precise, and the various promises of intelligent power use and what not was intriguing enough that I got absorbed into the games monumental hype hurricane even though I’d not touched a ‘shock’ game previously. What ensued was about seven hours of brilliant gaming, followed by an in game plummet down a thirty story flight of stairs.

Spoiler alert

All the locations and revelations after you jam that golf club into Ryan’s face are dull and drab in comparison to the endlessly creative tapestry woven in those opening hours, plot points appear and flop like around like suicidal flying fish leaping onto a fisherman’s deck whilst the big event, being transformed into a Big Daddy, was the gaming equivalent of a Big Mac, sounds amazing but a soul crushing disappointment when it arrives.

Spoilers over

So the end of Bioshock left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Again just like a Big Mac. So my initial reaction to Bioshock two was ‘hmph, that’s nice’ until I found out that Jordan Thomas was to be the game’s creative director.

That may not sound like a hype generating device to the uninitiated but Thomas is a brilliant designer, creator of the half mental institute half orphanage all bloody terrifying ‘Asylum’ level in Thief 3 and also the mastermind of the best section of the first Bioshock, Fort Frolic.

So Thomas knows his Big Daddies from his Splicers, which was enough to get me on board, but he’s also a game design genius and that’s the key point, a genius is in charge of the creative direction of Bioshock 2, worries gone.

And then there are the Big Sisters, mutated splicers and mechanics such as babysitting the kids from the shining, sorry, the Little Sisters. The direction of the game whilst arguably more linear seems focused on delivering Rapture as a more tangible place to the player, taking the role of a big daddy and taking part in Rapture’s eco system rather than in the first game when everything was new, the team at 2K Marin know players will be returning for a second time so rather than give them another amateur role we’re now playing as certified citizens of Rapture. 2K know we’ve earned our citizenship, and we’re going to see an even uglier side of the town.

And what about that multiplayer, interesting no? If it wasn’t being born of the Splash Damage lineage I probably wouldn’t give it a second glance but the idea of it being designed by people who actually know how to make a multiplayer game fills me with hope, and improvements on the combat side such as dual wielding a gun and a plasmid coupled with the prospect of drilling my friends faces off as a Big Daddy fills me with glee, it’s been a long time since a multiplayer shooter has come along set in a world with such a vivid sense of creativity and I think it will develop a dedicated cult following with little trouble.

So for me it’s all down to a strong creative director, a brilliant backdrop, and a unique sounding multiplayer, but that’s more than enough to ensure I’m on board this hype train.