• Review: BioShock 2

    Posted by Mike Yawney on February 10th, 2010 View Comments

    It’s time. Time to return to Rapture. 10 years after leaving the once glorious city you find yourself visiting the underwater “utopia” once again. Only this time you don’t play Jack, oh no. You play as a Big Daddy. “Subject Delta” to be exact, a prototype of the Big Daddy from which all other versions were modeled after.

    Personally I hated playing as the Big Daddy in the first BioShock game. When you finally got to wear a Big Daddy suit I couldn’t wait to get it off. It was slow, cumbersome and you couldn’t see a thing. So imagine playing an entire game trapped in the suit. Well to my delight the experience is very different than the Big Daddy experiment in the first title. Very different indeed. After all you’re no longer the big fish in the small pond anymore. No, that place is reserved for the Big Sister.

    The Story

    As mentioned the game takes place 10 years after the first BioShock. Jack is out and you play as a Big Daddy, a being who has had his skin and organs directly grafted into atmospheric diving suit. You have no clue as to the events over the past decade, although audio tapes scattered across the city will begin to fill in the details.

    You are on the search for a Little Sister. Each Big Daddy is paired with a Little Sister, and you’re trying to find yours. The only problem is that Little Sister just so happens to be the daughter of Sophia Lamb, the new head of Rapture. She would rather see you die in a watery grave than give her up to you.

    The Gameplay

    If you’ve played BioShock 1, you will feel right at home with this follow up title. Everything seems very familiar. In fact, I felt like I was playing BioShock 1 for the longest time. It almost seemed like a homecoming, which is not a bad thing as BioShock 1 was an amazing game.

    Your journey will take you through Rapture once again. The city is still in ruins. In fact some areas are in worse shape then ever before. Time has taken a toll on the city. Walls have crumbled, leaks have sprung, some areas are entirely submersed in water which adds a new element to gameplay. Since you’re wearing a diving suit, you can now go underwater. You have the ability to leave buildings, walk on the ocean floor and then enter new areas. Gameplay is limited in these new underwater areas as you can shoot. It merely adds an exploration aspect to the game.

    Weapons are key if you’re going to fend off all the Splicers in Rapture. These corrupt residents can be taken down with a myriad of guns, grenades and mines, but if you want to have some real fun you’ll load up on special skills known as Plasmids. These special abilities can be purchased through Plasmid vending machines strewn throughout Rapture. However you’ll need plenty of ADAM to obtain these powers. ADAM is a raw form of the unstable stem cells which can grant the body special powers. It must be extracted from dead bodies, and that’s where the Little Sisters come into the picture.

    Little Sisters are known for their ADAM extraction capabilities. Once you find a Little Sister, you must defeat the Big Daddy who protects her then capture her for yourself. In the first game you had two choices, harvest the Little Sisters for lots of ADAM , or rescue her which would give you a smaller amount ADAM. This time around you have a new option, adopt her. Once you adopt a Little Sister, she will ride on your back and point you to bodies that are full of ADAM. You can get the Little Sister to extract ADAM from 2 bodies then you must either harvest her for additional ADAM or Rescue her (release her). You’ll spend a lot of time searching for ADAM as there are many more plasmids in this sequel than the original BioShock. Gene Tonics (another form of body enhancing upgrade) are also present and can be purchase through vending machines as can additional items and ammo.

    If you thought fighting Big Daddies in the first game was tough, wait until you meet the Big Sisters. They seem to look over the Little Sisters and every so often show up out of nowhere to try and put an end to your mission. Unlike the larger cumbersome Big Daddies, Big Sisters move fast and can take a lot of damage. The fights are long and difficult, which is why you must max out your plasmids, Eve and of course ammo to succeed

    The Graphics

    BioShock has a very unique look and feel. The buildings and environments all take on a wonderful art deco feel. Rooms are dark and gloomy with water pouring in from every nook and crevasse. The game looks great, especially the Little Sisters. So creepy, so cute. If only all games had a unique look like BioShock 2.

    If you thought the Big Daddies were tough to kill, wait till you meet a Big Sister

    The same goes for the game’s soundtrack. Old music which sounds like it should be playing through a gramophone echos through the corridors. The music itself adds to the tension as you wander the hallways and leaking rooms of Rapture, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Add this to the stellar graphics and you have one kick ass package.

    The Downsides

    I know I will draw criticism for this comment, but I will say my one complaint felt like this game was too similar to the first. As I mentioned earlier in my review, I felt like I was playing BioShock 1 for the longest time. The game mechanics are so similar, as is the goal. But I guess if it ain’t broke why fix it. I only wish there were a few more aspects of this game that stood out as different from the first installment of this series.

    The Bottom Line

    If you enjoyed the first BioShock there is no doubt you’ll love the sequel. The game feels so familiar. The graphics, the music, the controls, you feel like you’re returning home to Rapture. My only complaint would be that it may be too similar. Those looking for innovation may be disappointed as 2K Games played it safe, creating a game using a formula with a proven track record. Still the game is solid and is an absolute blast to play, making the return trip to Rapture worth every penny.

    The Good

    Same control scheme as original game
    Great graphics
    Stellar Music
    Little Sisters just as creepy as ever!

    The Bad

    The game may feel a bit too much like the first for some

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