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Bioshock 2 Review

Bioshock 2 Review

Reviews - Xbox 360

(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Best Bits:

- Amazing graphics
- That Rapture atmosphere is back
- Intriguing, twisting storyline
- Some genuinely terrifying moments
Bad Bits:
- Not a huge leap forward from the first game
- Gathering Adam can become repetitive 









Bioshock was one of the greatest video games ever devised, fact. The sequel had a lot to live up to, already a hurdle down due to the loss of the original mastermind behind the project this time around, a whole new studio took on the challenge in fact. Does it float with the best of them or sink without a trace? Read on...

What we have here is you returning to Rapture, this time 10 years after the events of the first game, you also have a new protagonist, you are now a Big Daddy, the very first prototype Big Daddy nonetheless, and after an intro that shows us at the new years eve party from the first game, and then seemingly killing ourselves we awake 10 years later with little clue as to what has transpired in the time you've been 'asleep', that's where the game kicks in.


Once again you will be exploring Rapture with pretty much the same control over your character as the first game, if you thought controlling the Big Daddy might be slow and cumbersome like the sequence from the first game, fear not, you are just as agile as your character from that game, if they hadn't sorted that the game wouldn't have worked, period.

Again you are left pretty much on your own to venture through this weird and wonderful place, and fear not (again) if you thought you would be traversing the same areas from the first game, no, here we see another area of Rapture, this is a huge city remember so you get to explore many more places, and it has to be said each of them are almost as interesting as they were in the first game, almost because here its a bit 'seen it all before' now, sure the areas are new but they use the same decorations and furniture as we have seen in the last game so of course it won't hook you in that regard like its predecessor.


I don't want to spoil the story, that's what its all about after all, but suffice it to say that you get to meet lots of interesting characters again, some will help and some will hinder your progress and the story has you hooked again, you will want to find out why you are the Big Daddy and try and make it out alive.

Again the bulk of your enemies will be splicers and the new and noteworthy inclusion of Big Sisters, these agile bitches will show up whenever you are 'dealing' with a little sister, they also protect them now and can be a hell of a challenge to defeat, there are also brute splicers who take a hell of a spanking too, yes this game accounts for the fact that in the first game it might have got a bit too easy for you so they've thrown in some right thugs to the mix this time that can cause you serious headaches unless you strategize how to take them down.


While you're battling the bad guys and making your way through Rapture you'll also notice just how awesome it looks, there is some exquisite attention to detail going on and the atmosphere again is pretty much unrivalled, however an extra feature we have this time around is the inclusion of being able to walk around outside Rapture, some sections of the place can only be gained access by travelling along the sea bed to get to the next airlock, this was something that now you've experienced it, can't believe was missing from the first game, there is a great feeling of weightlessness and the particle effects of 'bits' in the water really stand out, these sections are fantastic fun, but never last that long that they become tiresome or too repetitive.

Another great feature is the fact that this time around there are no annoying 'Pipe-Mania' puzzles when you try and hack anything, yes! One of the biggest gripes for me from the first game was having to complete those damn puzzles for every... single.... hack, it was fun at first but got old fast, anyway they have now been replaced by a meter that pops up with a needle moving across it, hit the green zones, or blue for a bonus and job done, hack complete. Not only does it make much more sense it speeds up the game and lets you get back to doing the fun things within it, extra points for that.


On the down side though, and this only really applies if you go through your first run as a good guy, if you choose to adopt each little sister as opposed to harvesting them for their Adam, you then have to gather yet more Adam from 2 corpses per little sister, there are normally 3 little sisters per level, so that's 6 corpses, like the original 'Pipe-Mania' puzzles, this gets old fast. You see when you put the little girl down to harvest the Adam a whole shit storm rains down on you with every splicer in the place attracted to your position, they will try to take the little girl so these sections see you protecting both her and yourself until she's done, great fun the first 3 times, 15 times later, not so much...

Although this becomes a chore it is great the first few times because this is how the developer wanted you play through the game, defensively, its all about setting traps for your enemies both with conventional weapons like mines and trip wires to your plasmids that have had a whole new makeover, plus you now get to use both at the same time, not having to swap between plasmids and weapons is a godsend.

Your new plasmids include the old classics like Electro-Bolt and Incinerate, but we now have new ones like Cyclone that when upgraded can accept other plasmids, so stick a small whirlwind on the floor, inject Incinerate into it and watch the hapless splicers walk into it not only getting shot up into the air but setting on fire at the same time, priceless.

It should be noted that I found a few bugs in the game, getting trapped in a room with an unhackable door springs to mind and a looping piece of music that got stuck and prevented me from hearing audio diaries, that's as well as the obligatory texture load in issues that plague any game made with the Unreal engine, nothing really game breaking but I advise you to save often regardless.


The main additions therefore to this sequel are the new weapons and plasmids, and how you should prepare for each fight, something that was hinted at in the first game, but never actually thrust upon you to do so, here if you don't plan your battles you won't get very far. 

The multiplayer is surprising fun, but again won't have much lasting appeal, the game modes make some sense in that you have to protect a little sister from an opposing team, and then hunt her on the next round, and as the multiplayer was developed by a whole other team to the main game the setting is back 10 years to the first game whereby the civil war kicked off, so its great to see the Kashmir Restaurant and Fort Frolic and the like before it all went tits up and the place got vandalised. Its no Modern Warfare beater but is a welcome distraction.


All in all its great to be back in Rapture, but it won't have you hooked like the first game, you have been here before after all, also if you were waiting for that 'would you kindly' plot twist you will be very disappointed, it doesn't come.

There are some very scary bits, notably a segment when you enter a toilet that is reminiscent of the dentist popping up behind you in the first game, this made me scream, literally scream like a girl, but apart from that the scares come through slow building atmosphere, which is probably a good thing, but a couple more of those "look he's behind you" scenes wouldn't have gone amiss.

There is still atmosphere in spades with a great story and the new weapons are awesome fun to behold, to me it feels more like Bioshock 1.5 than a fully blown sequel but nevertheless it is still a fantastic gaming experience in its own right and begs to be played by anyone half serious about story driven video games.

Score: 4/5

Comments (2)
2 Thursday, 04 March 2010 22:27
Agreed in full, excellent review, however I feel the multiplayer is less than fun, for the single player though you nailed it, awesome job, couldnt have put it better my friend.
1 Thursday, 25 February 2010 01:26
Thorough review, I agree with the 1.5 thing, it was a bit too large for DLC but does feel like it and yes all the deco is the same so you have been here before its just a new storyline with extra areas but IS still Bioshock 1 with walking underwater and a couple new enemies.

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