Reader Review: BioShock 2

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This review was submitted by Gregory Calacouris. If you’ve played BioShock 2, or just want to ask Gregory more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

BioShock 2 (Xbox 360)

The dystopian world of Rapture makes a stunning return. Filled with moral choices of binary opposition, BioShock 2 manages to make your inner self feel solitary in a reborn Rapture family. But it all felt a little too similar.

Loved

Drill Daddy: Having a drill for an arm? Why thankyou. The inclusion of the drill is a kindly switch from the wrench. Despite the great mix of plasmids and weapons, the drill is just irresistible in giving splicers a real battering up close and personal. The “one-two punch” from the first game is supercharged with the Electro Bolt + Drill Dash combo!

“Here’s an angel daddy”: The relationship between the Little Sisters and Big Daddies is a morbidly thrilling aspect of BioShock 2. Protecting (or harvesting) Little Sisters was better developed than the first game. Having splicers hunt your little sister allowed creativity from the full arsenal of attacks available.

Symphonic Score: The score to BioShock 2 is simply perfect. Garry Schyman does a great job of following on from his efforts in the original game. The music manages to possess the same themes and leitmotifs of the original game and still create its own unique sound that fits in with the new areas of Rapture.

Hated

Once a nightmare: The game’s biggest falling is the unavoidable issue that it simply is a sequel. Returning to Rapture felt like returning home. Living up to the original BioShock was a tough ask, but it just felt like 2K were playing it a little bit too safe by sticking too close to the first game.

Multiplayer Madness: The introduction of multiplayer to BioShock was a ridiculous decision. Ignoring the gameplay bugs and issues, the multiplayer ruins the entire atmosphere of the BioShock games. The multiplayer removed all aspects of feeling alone (from single player) and converts them into a bizarre circus of brawling.

Hacking: Before you start calling me crazy, I did love how hacking was ‘live’ and left you open to attacks. But it felt too easy. I loved the challenge of the pipe minigame in the original game. The needle just felt like old FIFA games where striking the green zone gave a top corner goal. But I’m not suggesting a ‘live’ pipe game – that would just be absurd.

Glitches: Whilst the game was relatively glitch free. There were two that kept bugging me: the zoom and focus of the map kept playing up and was actually quite confusing; and where was the great “Welcome to the circus of value!” from the original BioShock?

Overall, BioShock 2 is a surprisingly excellent sequel to a difficult act to follow. The gameplay is diverse and fun, allowing as much or little depth as you choose. However where the game falls short is that it does not try anything radically bold like the original and it left me feeling too prepared in a game that should have offered more.

Reviewed by: Gregory Calacouris

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Comments

    Pretty much agree with everything here, well done. I would've mentioned that the game doesn't really have any iconic "golf-club" moments like the original, but having said that its consistently good. The audio diaries are excellent again, too.

    I was a massive fan of the first, but I have not tried the second... from what you and a lot of people have said, it seems like a Doom 2 situation... not necessarily a bad game, but more of the same. And you're right about multiplayer too, it seems like a decision from waaaay higher up that was forced on the development team and implemented half assedly. And same with the fact that you play as a big daddy now, kind of ruins the mystery IMO... I don't really feel like I'm missing out on much, and that's stupid considering how much I liked Bioshock 1.

    Good review!

    I personally think that not "trying anything radically bold" like the moment(s) we know and love from the first one is almost a plus for me.

    They got those right the first time around, the second game was like "Ok, let's go look at this amazing place again".

    It might not be enough some people just to visit Rapture again, and that's ok, I can totally understand it. For me, that was enough though :)

    Bioshock2 didn't exceed the original, but it did add a few things here and there that make it stand apart, if only slightly.

    - Dual wielding weapons and plasmids, along with charging up traps and introducing a couple new enemy types, made the combat feel fresh again.

    - Being able to take a stroll outside on occasion, certainly added a little more feeling to Rapture being a city built underwater. And Bioshock2 uses more elaborate water effects far more frequently than the first game.

    - There are additional story elements that expand on the world of Rapture and it's inhabitants, along with the evolution of this underwater distopia.

    - Although there's no Andrew Ryan golf-club reveal moment, Bioshock2 does have a nice switch in perspective moment that paints Rapture in a different light. That was fun.

    - Finally where the endings in Bioshock were a little weak. I found the endings of Bioshock2 to be a little more satisfying. Although not necessarily epic.

      IMO

      Dual wielding took the tactics out of the game later on you just shock/flame while shooting whick made it nearly impossible to get hit

      The strolling outside wouldve been nice if there was something more to it
      Like where was the fight where 4 of your 6 plasmids wouldnt work because of the ocean or something
      as one of my mates put it it felt like it was a loading screen out of mass effect or somesuch

      yeah the whole perspective shift was interesting but in a way it didnt feel necessary much like putting on the BD suit in the original

      The endings simply sucked, no boss battle and all of them would allow you to play Bioshock 3 without having played 2

    Finally! Someone else noticed!

    I missed that "Welcome to the circus of value" so much! Very disappointed!

    Same applies to the Ammo Bandit vending machines. I dunno what the hell he says but I love trying to mimic it. "SQUEESSSAMIOSSSSAAAAAA!"

    Solid review Greg.

    I personally have been avoiding the drill at all costs. Instead, I use the same combo of Winter Freeze + the Rail Gun, to kill 90% of the splicers I encounter. I freeze them, then fire off 1 or 2 headshots, then it's on to the next one. It's so easy, even on Hard difficulty.

    You know what's a waste of time? That spear gun. Seriously, it's the most useless weapon in BioShock.

    I also can't believe you didn't mention the Big Sisters. These chicks are crazy!

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