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This review was submitted by Raph Byrne. If you’ve played BioShock 2, or just want to ask Raph more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
BioShock 2 (360, PS3, PC)
Let me just start of by saying I was extremely disappointed by the first Bioshock. Sadly I fell into the hype rather early and as such the game never quite did live up to my expectations which were admittedly rather high. Also, I have not played the multiplayer because Bioshock 1 managed to stand on single player alone and as such I believe so should 2.
Rapture Lives On: The atmosphere created by the first game by the games wonderful artwork, details and sound design is still there for the most part and I think the developers have done a good job presenting the player with a new side of Rapture and a variety of different environments. The voice acting is also fantastic with each new big player giving a very convincing performance.
Splicin' and Dicin': The combat system has been greatly improved making it much easier to switch between plasmids and standard combat allowing for faster, more inventive combos. The new hacking tool provides an option for those less plasmid inclinded to still effectively hack anything they wish. The only problem for me was switching between plasmids was very tedious and would occasionally glitch and freeze up meaning I couldn't use or switch plasmids.
Being a Tin Daddy: The drill arm was a brilliant idea and a fun mechanic, it really makes you feel like a Big Daddy and adds diversity to the combat. Also the Little Sister protector missions were probably my favourite part of the game as for me a major failing of the first game was the "moral choice" involving said sisters. I just so often found myself not caring, this time around however I felt much more attached to my Little Sister.
Same Ol' Same Ol': Whilst it is nice that they've managed to keep the feel of Rapture alive in the setting and characters, too much of the gameplay is virtually the same. There are no new plasmids except for upgraded version of previous one that augment their abilities in various ways and whilst they're still fun to combine and play around with they could've tried to add something new. The gene tonics that are actually new are similar to their Bioshock 1 counterparts but with different names. There are really only 2 new enemy types, the Brute and Big Sister, which means that most of your strategies from the first game will still work out great. Also, even the weapons fit into the major categories from the first game.
Tales of Rapture: Honestly I think the story is far worse in this sequel than the original. Whilst I had problems in both games really identifying with any of the characters or even caring about their fates the general story of this game just didn't quite grip me as much as the first. Maybe it's that the motivator in the first was mystery but in this it was more love. I just wasn't as interested in even the individual stories of each level as I was in Bioshock 1. Also, I don't know if it's that it's sequel but the game failed to keep the wow factor from the first game, the setting is still complete but too familiar.
Ultimately the only thing Bioshock 2 did wrong (and 1 for that matter) is not being as good as it could've been. It's fun, complete and relative glitch free but for a game that occasionally tackles rather heavy themes it could've been so much more and that's all I found myself wanting once I had finished, something more.
Reviewed by: Raph Byrne
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.