Flash Review

“Who’s Your Daddy?”

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Bioshock 2
Length: 00:05:19

Clip Description: Video of your most important jobs as a Big Daddy, reclaiming Little Sisters and helping them gather. Video taken from the Xbox 360 version.


+ The Good - The Bad
+ Rapture
+ Story
+ Dual Wielding

- Hacking
– Multiplayer

Todd “…never slows down and will leave your jaw on the floor…”

 

The long awaited sequel to the 2007 VGA and BAVGA game of the year award is finally here. BioShock 2 is the return to Andrew Ryan’s dystopian city of Rapture as a Big Daddy. Waking up with no memory, you lumber through Rapture looking for clues and the little sister you should be paired with. The present leader of Rapture, Sofia Lamb, is out to stop you from reuniting with Eleanor. Stopping at nothing and fighting your way through hoards of Splicers, an army of Big Sisters, and everything Sofia Lamb has to throw at you, the game’s atmospheric story grips you in the beginning, never slows down and will leave your jaw on the floor at the end.

Graphically, BioShock 2 is a slight improvement from BioShock, which was already a beautiful game with its textures, water effects and 2K’s attention to detail. Enemies in BioShock 2 vary from all the Splicers you met in the first, the new Brute Splicers, Big Sisters, and Big Daddies, which all seem to pose a bigger threat since the first game. The soundtrack is a great collection of era-based music.  Combined with the game’s ambient sounds, you feel immersed in Rapture. I believe that while keeping the basic game mechanic and not changing the overall controls or feel of the game was a great idea. Making small changes like duel wielding your weapons and plasmids simultaneously, new plasmids (like Scout), and new gene tonics were a welcome addition and only made the game better. Hacking seemed to be dumbed down and made too easy. Personally, I liked hacking in the original BioShock, with its Pipe Mania feeling, better than the new iteration.

Overall, controls in BioShock 2 feel very tight, responsive, and well balanced. The single player campaign has a gripping story and will keep you captivated for hours. On the other hand, BioShock 2′s multiplayer just seems like another of the many games that have been coming out and adding multiplayer just for the novelty of it. Multiplayer controls work well but don’t feel as responsive as the controls for the single player game. Game types are generic and the only real excitement in multiplayer is when you get to control a Big Daddy, making you exceptionally stronger than other players, but prohibiting use of plasmids. Multiplayer may add replayability for some players and is not the worst I’ve seen, but in an already compelling and well-known game, it was not needed.

BioShock 2 is a well-rounded sequel that doesn’t disappoint. It is a great experience and leaves me hoping there will be a BioShock 3.

 


+ The Good - The Bad
+ Returning to Rapture
+ Gathering ADAM
+ Insect Swarm 3

- Single player ends
– Waterlogged Multiplayer

Aaron “…I literally could not stop playing…”

 

I’ll admit, being a huge fan of the original BioShock, I was a little worried when I heard gamers would be returning to the failed underwater utopia of Rapture. I mean, it’s been a mere 2 1/2 years since bringing the backstabbing Frank Fontaine (aka Atlas) to an agonizing defeat. Usually, a quick sequel winds up losing some of the appeal of the original. Thankfully for BioShock 2, this isn’t the case.

This is largely due to the new “Big Daddy” gameplay which has a few options. You can choose to harvest less ADAM by defeating Big Daddies, rescuing their Little Sisters, and simply returning the sisters to a hole in the wall – this is the easiest way to progress. But if you want every plasmid, and to take full advantage of the RPG elements, letting your little sister “gather” ADAM is the way to go. This in turn will summon splicers from every direction to attack. Luckily, setting up traps (mini turrets, bots) is incredibly fun. Since when has protecting any character in a video game been such a good time? I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Like the original, Bioshock 2 is completely drenched in style. Returning to Rapture feels just as fresh as it did the first time around, an experience I didn’t think 2K could duplicate, but am overjoyed they did. Every location, every enemy, and of course, every splash of water looks amazing and draws you deeper into Rapture lore.

As far as multiplayer is concerned, it definitely feels tacked on – as I expected. Gameplay is sluggish, levels are a little unimaginative, and Big Daddy suits appear out of nowhere giving anyone the chance to destroy all they come in contact with. It was mildly fun but I can’t see myself going back to play it, ever. For me, BioShock will always be a single player experience – which again, is nothing short of spectacular.

The final 1/3 of the story takes players on a thrill ride filled with non-stop excitement and surprises that only had me wanting more. From the end of the  ”Siren Alley” level on, I literally could not stop playing. After finishing, I immediately went back to start it over on the hardest difficulty. If you had any reservations on BioShock 2, wash them aside. The ticket for this ride is well worth your ADAM.

 


+ The Good - The Bad
+ Exceptional Story
+ Hack Gun
+ Multiple Attack Strategies

- Multiplayer
– Hack Bots are Nasty

Jason “..I don’t really associate the Bioshock series with multiplayer…”

 

Bioshock 2 was another title I delved into with some serious skepticism. As with most blockbuster followups, the story is almost never conceived before the fact and this is usually a recipe for disaster. So this time I dipped my feet, ever so tentatively, into the underwater realm of Rapture.

My return to this fallen utopia could not have been a better homecoming. Right from the onset, you are thrust into a living, breathing society deep below the ocean’s surface. The developers at 2K have once again given life to Rapture. This time you are not just a seemingly innocent traveler stumbling upon Rapture, but one of its’ original inhabitants. Taking on the role of one of the original Big Daddies, you must seek out and rescue your Little Sister, Eleanor. The story is almost perfectly paced, with just a little downtime before the amazing final third of the game. Once again, the story is told through recordings of Rapture’s former inhabitants and constant ramblings from the remaining citizens who are here to either help or destroy you. “Delta” must make his choices wisely as to who is friend or foe.

All the gameplay aspects from the first Bioshock are back, but with more emphasis on combat this time around. Many years have passed and the Splicers are now stronger and more evolved. Also, to make things even more difficult, Big Sisters now patrol Rapture and are none to happy with “Delta’s” return. To help combat these new foes, “Delta” can utilize plasmids, weapons, and traps to destroy the “Family”.

Being a Big Daddy means rescuing Little Sisters and protecting them while they gather ADAM. This is a new feature for Bioshock 2 and it couldn’t be better. Using the new traps, such as mini turrets and trap rivets, the player will need to set up a perimeter around the corpse the Little Sister needs to harvest from. This is a necessity, especially on the harder difficulties, because once she begins to gather ADAM, the Splicers come out in force. This really gets the player into the feeling of being a Big Daddy. Not much else has changed from the original other than the addition of multiplayer.

Multiplayer for me is a complete and utter disaster. I couldn’t help feel like I entered a time warp and was playing Goldeneye 64 again. All the game styles are pretty generic, other than using the motif of Bioshock for the backdrop. Team Deathmatch, Free for All, Capture the Flag (Little Sister), are all included. There are a few little mechanics I liked, such as researching the dead for damage bonuses and hacking bots and traps.  When the original Bioshock was released, many questioned the omission of multiplayer. The developers at 2K stated the gameplay wouldn’t transfer well to a multiplayer setting, and therefore wasn’t added. I wonder when this changed since Bioshock 2 is a relative clone of the original, gameplay-wise. 2K should have stood their ground on this one, multiplayer is embarrassing.

Thankfully, I don’t really associate the Bioshock series with multiplayer. The single player game is again excellent, giving us a psychological trip through a devastated utopian society that would mesmerize even the likes of Rod Serling. I just can’t help but wonder how amazing this game would have been if the time spent on the multiplayer was delegated to the single player game. To answer the almighty question; Is this game worth $60 bucks?…Does Jethro Tull have an Aqualung?

 

 










BioShock 2

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 2K Marin
Genre: FPS
Release Date: 02/09/10
ESRB: Mature