BioShock 2

BioShock 2

Overview

Bioshock was a key game in the forward movement of the First Person Shooter genre for a number of reasons. It introduced the notion that atmosphere can be a very effective storytelling device and create a world that really comes alive. It also helped to usher in an age of moralistic choice based stories that really helped gaming evolve a little more. The sequel was developed by a different team and not really a continuation of the last game’s events. Is it as bad as it sounds? Or does 2K Marin still craft a great title? Read our full review to find out.

Gameplay

Bioshock 2 is sort of a redheaded stepchild for a lot of gamers because many think that it will do nothing but pale in comparison to the original. In many ways they are right, but nonetheless Bioshock 2 is a solid FPS that takes what the first built upon and elevates it, if only slightly in some areas.

One area in which the game definitely improves upon its predecessor is in the gameplay department. Not only is it a more functional shooter, but it also improves upon aspects that make it quite a bit more fun. Dual wielding a gun and a plasmid is a very fun improvement that helps players adapt to the much more frantic fights they will come across. The action has definitely been scaled up with more enemies and a few new types of splicers other than the general fare we saw in the original. The most notable of which, is the new brute splicers that effectively serve as another kind of mini-boss for the game to throw at you at certain points.

Another great change the game makes is the addition of Big Sister enemies, who serve not really as a replacement to the Big Daddies(because they still pretty much serve the same purpose as the first), but instead another formidable adversary at certain points in the game. The Big Daddies are pretty much identical to the first, which is quite a big disappointment, but the Big Sisters are a good enough to make up for it.

As much as the game improves on the first, it’s still extremely similar to the first in a lot of troubling ways. Although you play as a Big Daddy and your array of weaponry is slightly changed, there isn’t really a healthy enough addition to the plasmids or weapons. This is a problem because the game pretty much makes you repeat the same order of plasmid retrieval (especially in the beginning of the game), and too many feel like they have been implemented in the same exact way as the first game. This could have easily been a way for the developers to set themselves apart, but this opportunity is squandered, possibly due to a hesitance to mess it up.

Story is obviously a very large part of the game, and the story is pretty much told in the same way as the first game. Atmosphere is still a very important aspect of the game, and they do a great job of picking up where the first game left off in that respect. Without risking much in the way of spoilers the game’s story is good, but definitely not up to the extremely high standards of the first game. There are twists and turns, but none really compare to the kinds of things experienced in Bioshock. This is to be expected, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing in the end. It does provide a worthy story, but it doesn’t really separate itself in any noteworthy way.

The Multiplayer was an aspect that I wasn’t expecting at all, and although quite ambitious, it hardly translated into something that would take anyone away from the games they already played online. At the time of review, the servers were almost empty (even days after release, and also really laggy) and the game did not play very well in other respects as well. This could improve with time, but check it out yourself if you’d like and maybe you will find something to spend some time with.

Graphics

The visuals for Bioshock 2 are one of the most disappointing aspects of the title. It definitely relies a lot on atmosphere just like the first game, but given that the game also takes place in Rapture, it’s really hard to create an atmosphere unlike the first. They try their hardest, and in some set-pieces their work really shows, but in other places it really has a hard time competing. The environments continue to be the best part of the visuals, and a lot of the environmental based effects really help us go back to the Rapture we knew and loved.

The graphics themselves also rely very heavily on what Bioshock gave us, and in a lot of aspects the graphics almost look identical to the 2007 title’s, which is very disappointing. This is not to say Bioshock 2 is a bad looking game, but a lot of the models haven’t really been updated in a way that is noticeable. For example, Big Daddies look almost exactly the same as the first along with most of the enemies that we have seen before. It is possible that they did not want to mess up their image, but it’s hard to see why they could not have been updated a little.

The sound in the game has also been improved and the voice diaries that help tell the story really work well with a lot of great voice actors new and old. We meet new characters that really help flesh out the story in new and interesting ways. Sound effects themselves are also very well designed and implemented.

Fun Factor

This one is tough to decide. The game itself is quite a lot of fun with its new gameplay developments and faster paced action. If you were a big fan of the first game then you will likely be right at home with the new game and have a great time, and if you haven’t played the first then it would be extremely beneficial to start out with it first. A lot of the sections of the game are extremely fun, and worth checking out, but I honestly expected a little bit more out of such a high profile game.

Overall

As many of you may have expected, it doesn’t fully live up to the pedigree of the first title. It does not completely ruin its good name, and definitely adds some cool new features to the title including an ambitious yet buggy online aspect. It definitely could have been a bigger departure from the first, but given that they game is still quite a good game, it deserves to be praised and played. If you enjoyed the first game, you will most likely enjoy this game because it’s very