BioShock 2 - Xbox 360

By eyefire, Posted 23 Feb 2010


Release: February 9th, 2010

Console: Xbox 360

eyefire Rating - 8.5 /10


Welcome back... to Rapture that is.  It's been about 10 years since the events of the first BioShock and life in Rapture doesn't seem to be much better.  Splicers are still running rampant and the city is being run by a new face, Sofia Lamb.  Her intentions are unclear at the beginning of the game, but much is learned through your adventure.  Some familiar elements from the original game are present in the sequel.  There is also this constant feeling of nostalgia as you maneuver through the fallen underwater city of Rapture.   Perhaps a little too much.  Trust me, there is nothing I wanted more in this sequel than to have more BioShock goodness; however I was hoping for some new twists and turns and game play elements, which unfortunately appeared rarely.


While some new elements are introduced, BioShock 2 still plays and feels a lot like its predecessor.   And while this sense a familiarity may be comforting for returning players, I think in the end, it is one of the biggest fallbacks for this game.  As with its predecessor, you actions in the game decide the type of ending you will get.  Being morally good or evil play a big role on the outcome and not just on the level of a different cinematic ending.  Near the end of the game, your actions begin to show in more ways than one, which was a very special touch.

As the game begins you come to the realization that you are a one of those awesome, armored plated hulks known as Big Daddies.  Though not a slow and lumbering Big Daddy, but rather a slimmer and swifter one.  As it turns out, you were one of the first models of Big Daddies created that is referred to as subject Delta.  Although things are still foggy when you awake eventually one thing becomes clear... you must find a way
to re-unite with the Little Sister you were once paired with.  A familiar face making a return in the sequel is Tenebaum.  She contacts Delta at the beginning of the game to give him the rundown of what's happened and what he must do.  The games new antagonist is one Sofia Lamb.  Her story is told and comes to light via audio recordings that you find strewn throughout the leaking city and also from characters.  She was a psychiatrist who was involved in some suspect activities concerning her patients and its seems with her opposition to Raptures founder, Andrew Ryan, she spent a little time in lock up.  After building an army of followers in jail, she somehow managed to escape and start a rebellion.  The details of this and her eventual rise to power are slowly revealed throughout the game.  You, as subject Delta, must find Lamb because she is holding your Little Sister... who you eventually find out is Lamb's daughter, Eleanor. Expect to meet a few new faces this time around.  The most notable is the new protector of Rapture, Big Sister.  She is all the things you wish you were.  Her agility is amazing.  Her speed will make your head snap back and she is a talented plasmid wielder.   Your first encounter with her is pretty early in the game and the impression is
long-standing.   Although a formidable opponent, I feel like her fear inspiring presence was diminished a bit by making many of her and not just one re-occurring character.  As there are many Big Daddies marching
around Rapture, so it seems the same with Big Sisters as well.  This didn't feel right and honestly being able to kill her eventually only to find out later that you have to fight more of her somewhat took away from the feeling.  I would have been much happier with just random fights with her that are for the most part unwinnable until that last moment in the game where you strong enough finally to deal that death blow.  With
all said and done though, the Big Sisters are nice new element to the game and fresh face for the baddies of Rapture.

Of all the improvement, big and small, from the last game, I think the tweaks made to the combat system are the most notable.  Now you can dual wield your plasmid and weapon effectively allowing you to fire your grenade launcher at the same time your zapping the hell out of a splicer, which is a nice feeling.  Targeting with weapons and plasmids are a breeze now.  Instead of the melee wrench weapon from past, your character now has a drill.  Although this drill can be a nasty offensive  weapon for close range combat, I found myself not using very often. Mainly because the drill operates on fuel and it eats up the fuel at a ridiculous pace.  Though powerful, it seemed like a hassle to use it most of the time.  Between the varieties of other weapons mixed with the plasmids, relying on the drill was not an issue.  All the old favorites have returned with new tweaks.  Each weapon can receive an upgrade up to three times.  My personal favorite was the shotgun.  Maxing out the shotguns three upgrades make it a seriously lethal weapon.  There is no greater feeling that to catch an unsuspecting Splicer and shooting him point blank in the face with the fully upgraded shotgun.  Many of the plasmids are unlocked at a rewarding pace, however unfortunately, some of the strongest plasmids are only unlocked at the very end of the game. It would have been nice to have more time to play around with Telekinesis 3... which basically enables you to grab living Splicers and throw them around like rag dolls.  It is hilarious to grab one and throw him into air while they are kicking and screaming.  Overall many small tweaks have been made to make a significant improvement on the combat mechanics of the game.

 I am very pleased with the final product of BioShock 2.  There are some things that could have been done better, but overall, considering the enormous pressure to deliver on the sequel, the developing team did an
outstanding job.  Many small improvements were made and I think that these are extra important because it helps blend the game together and make the experience really enjoyable.  Whether you are a returning customer to the city of Rapture or new to the series, the game play and experience the story will be memorable.

Story - Your return to Rapture is a new one as you find yourself playing as one of the first Big Daddies of Rapture.  The story has a few really nice twists and turns that feel natural and not forced.  It does start off a bit slower, but does pick up significantly about the middle -middle/ending.  If the game had one flaw, I would say it was this.  It took just a little too long for the story to pick up the pace.

Graphics - The game looks beautiful.  Rapture is as horrifyingly beautiful as ever.  It seems like Rapture would be in a little more state of destruction considering that 10 years have passed since the events of the first game, but it has surprisingly held up well.  All the beautiful art and architecture from the first are improved on visually here.

Sound - It seems no expense was spared for the sound track.  Voice acting is top notch and the musical score is beautiful and haunting at the same time.  Tempo and rhythm all seem to be balanced perfectly
depending on the setting or action going on in the game.

Controls - Getting used the control scheme took a little while, but ultimately worked out for my likings.  The only issue I had was the reworking of how to use first aid kits.  Having to press down on the direction pad is a bit cumbersome especially during battle, but was not that bad once you got used to it.

Things I Loved –
Hacking turrets, security cams and security bots is changed up drastically this time around.  Instead of the old water/ pipe mini games from the first game, you know have a gauge where you have to stop the needle as it goes back in forth in between green and red zones.  It also must be done in real time so that means sometimes hacking during combat. Sounds complicated, but was a nice new edition.

The level 3 Telekinesis is FREAKING AWESOME.  Too bad you don't get it to nearly the end of the game.  With this plasmid unlocked, you can literally grab a living Splicer and fling him/her across the room.  You can even grab the big brute Splicers and give them a toss.  I cannot stress how fun it is to be able to do this.  Such a shame it only happens at the end of the game.

The music and voice acting.  Top notch on both fronts.  The musical score provide the excellent ambiance and tone for the entire game.

Things I Hated -
Not being able to return to a previously explored level.  You better get all you need to get and explore before leaving an area because unlike the previous entry, once you've moved on... there's no looking back.

Multiple Big Sisters instead of just one.  I would have much rather preferred to deal with one mean ass Big Sister throughout the game than to face multiple ones that I could kill.  Being able to kill her over and over kind of took away from the "Big Sister" effect.

Multiplayer.  To be fair, I didn't play much, but what I did play... I didn't enjoy at all.  I am so used to MW2, so migrating the way of playing to a new FPS was impossible.  While the multiplayer element didn't take away from the solo experience... I could have did completely without it.

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  • Excellent review. I still need to gather up some money to buy this game.

    Posted Feb 23, 2010

  • Very good review. Among other things, I need toi find time to complete the first one and put my hands on this one too, because something tells me I'm gonna have an incomplete picture if I play only this one.

    Posted Feb 24, 2010

  • Did you really like the Hacking thingy? I found it really annoying. Sometime when I start to hack something, it nearly kills me and whenever I try to hack something, there's always something to attack me. How scary!

    Posted Feb 26, 2010

  • @ Sleven - thanks.  i think it is a worthy game to purchase.

    @ ILIAS - thanks.  i would definitely recommend playing through the 1st one first.  it will make more sense and give a better picture for this sequel.

    @ Tanya - yeah at first it was a pain in the butt because you could be attacked during an active hack, but as the game progressed it didnt bother as much.  i got good at hacking, plus i liked the element of danger of being possibly attacked during the hacks.

    Posted Mar 04, 2010

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