Reader Review: BioShock 2

Reader Review: BioShock 2

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Raph does, as he finds just the tonic he needs.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

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.


  • How high were your expectations if you didnt like Bioshock 1. 2K are damned if they do and damned if they dont. If they changed gameplay people would complain it didnt live up to BS1 and if they changed the plasmids fans would have complained they didnt stay true to the original.

    People shouldnt review BS2 on the basis on how popular the original was. Plus what were you expecting, BS2 being the best game to be released. It is very rare that a sequel is as good or better then the original game.

    I liked BS2. but it seems like i am the only one.

    • Not at all Luke, I love(d) Bioshock 2.

      Also a couple of things on the review, you said there were no new plasmids, that’s wrong (Scout for one?) as well as there being no connection to your Little Sister in the original Bioshock.

      Why on Earth would the protagonist from Bioshock have any connection to a goddamn Little Sister? He was an unrepentant murderer charged with killing the creator of Rapture: he clearly needs no moral compass.

    • they did change gameplay and i still believe that tha ability to use plasmids and guns at the same time makes the game way to easy

      As for setting sure its in rapture but none of the places intrigued me as they did in the first

      like sasha cohens fort frolic and the amazing garden area, this game was straightforward with a pretty obvious plot although if they were gonna make us fight sinclair it woulda been nice if it actually amounted to a real boss fight not another minor big daddy one

      it also was a let down of the theres something in the sea i expected that it would try and resolve that whole thing except im sure theres still more big sisters and there still gonna be abducting little girls

      And then you have tenenbaums voice for all of 2 seconds sure she was somehow important in resurecting you but im sure they could have had anyone play that part

      they added the gathering section in but to me that was never extremely difficult

      oh and WTF was up with the cinematics they were poor quality in comparison to the game save for the part with elanor on the surface and even then it seemed like the ingame engine couldve done a better job of everything but her face

  • Finished it last night and loved it. The game was fun and and i loved every minute of it. I agree there could have been more deviation from the original and still keeping with the original themes but I really liked it.

  • As a big fan of Bioshock, both 1 and 2, the biggest thing that disappointed me about the sequel, which carried from the original was a sense of urgency or consequence. When dying simply moves you a short distance from where you die and gives you health it seems strange that dying is only a slight inconvenience and in a way, be a tactical advantage (saves you from using medi-gel or eve hypos). Sure you can turn off the respawn chambers (and i recommend this to anyone for a more intense experience) but having unlimited respawns as the status quo drains something from the experince.

    Also I thought that taking the role of a Big Daddy in this game gave the developers a real chance to push the feeling of being a protector; when you little sisters is “hurt” during the gather she simply stops extracting, it would have been extremely powerful if the sister could be hurt or even killed. I believe this would have given the game tremendous weight and “gathers” would be approached much less haphazardly. It would also have been great if Splicers instead of just trying to hurt the little sisters, tried to kidnap them, imagine fighting off dozens of splicers to hear your little sister scream “Mr Bubbles!” as she was carried of by Splicers, would be pretty intense and great fun chasing them to get her back. It just seems in so many games we’re asked to protect/escort someone and I personally find it so annoying because they are typically weak or easily killed but by Bioshock’s 2 context it puts you in a situation where you are meant to protect something fragile and weak, that is your purpose and I guess could have turned a great game into a very powerful experience.

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