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BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) artwork

BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) review


"The first Bioshock was a game that either made you ‘wow’ or ‘growl’. Despite the rave reviews, I avoided the first game as it looked a little silly, but after some convincing I eventually rented it and once completed my foot was firmly placed in the ‘wow’ camp. The setting and the story was gripping as any I had played and I really felt I had accomplished something by ending Atlas and saving all those little girls. Now 2K have decided that Bioshock was worthy of a sequel, so have thrust you this..."



The first Bioshock was a game that either made you ‘wow’ or ‘growl’. Despite the rave reviews, I avoided the first game as it looked a little silly, but after some convincing I eventually rented it and once completed my foot was firmly placed in the ‘wow’ camp. The setting and the story was gripping as any I had played and I really felt I had accomplished something by ending Atlas and saving all those little girls. Now 2K have decided that Bioshock was worthy of a sequel, so have thrust you this time into the boots of one of the famed Big Daddys for Bioshock 2. And that’s possibly where the trouble starts…

Now I like to think I’m kinda good at games, so in order to provide myself more of a challenge with games I always try to play a game on the hardest setting straight off. So as I did with this game, I loaded up on Hard thinking, “well I’m a Big Daddy aren’t I”, which means I should be able to take a bullet or two. Ahem. Maybe not... So yes you are one of “the first” Big Daddys, a specimen called Delta and you have the drill-arm and all but really it feels you are just as weak as your character in the first game. Was it because I was on Hard? Quite possibly, but still it would have been nice to see myself take a few hits before keeling over. I didn’t have much to fear though as the (again this is a wow or growl moment) Vita-Chambers are back to fling you back into the fray should you in-fact, die. You could say the Chambers are more of a necessity this time around, as the new foes that you face (that being the huge Brute Splicers and the Big Sisters) are crazily hard but I know for some this was a major sticking point of the first game, so you may feel a bit cheated and like you haven’t accomplished anything because you can constantly re-spawn.

Putting that aside though, I was eager to get stuck into the story. Rapture still looks as messed up as it does in the first game and the decal looks awesome. It really feels like an underwater ghost town, with the only survivors being those who want to kill you. You get the standard type of FPS guns (shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher) and you get the Big Daddy drill which is awesome to use close-up. You can also now dual-wield Plasmids, rather than switch between like in the first game. This makes killing things a lot easier, for example a common tactic of mine was use Winter Blast to freeze something huge, and then mow it down with whatever weapon was most effective. Very handy for taking down those larger enemies. The moral choices from the first game return as there are still Little Sisters to save and you have other non-Sister characters you can either save or kill during the game. All these decisions affect the ending that you get. The main protagonist this time, I felt, didn’t have the presence of Atlas in the first. Here, you’re nemesis is simply a voice that likes to send waves of Splicers after you. Personally, I felt this was a bit of a let down and didn’t really feel like I was liberating anything.

This version of Bioshock comes with a fleshed out multiplayer part and rather than just being a tacked on after-thought, 2K have come up with the ingenious idea of setting it during the Fall of Rapture, that being the civil war where everything went to shit. You get to run around maps based on the first game, playing the usual deathmatch, team death match etc. There’s a novel twist on the usual CTF mode called Capture the Sister. So yes, instead of a flag you get to pick-up an ADAM-filled girl and shove her into a dark hole. Not as weird as it sounds, when you consider the game. There are also trials you can do during the games, like killing with a certain gun or plasmid. At some point during the game, you can become the Rosie variant of the Big Daddy by collecting a suit that just happens to be lying around. Its then you become a bit of a monster. You don’t get the drill arm, but you get a rivet gun and proximity mines and a nice stomp attack. You can’t replenish your health so once your dead you go back to being a Splicer again, but hell its fun just mowing people down with the rivet and setting traps with the mines! The MP found here isn’t as hardcore like something in MW2 but it was a good change of pace and showed that some thought had been put into it.

Reading back this review you may think I don’t like this game. I did enjoy it, that’s for sure. The SP wasn’t as engaging as the first and the MP was surprisingly enjoyable. The game looks fantastic and the music/voice-work really sets the tone. You get the feeling that really all those who lived in Rapture were just completely narcissistic, so no wonder it all went to pot! I would recommend this to people who have played the first and enjoyed it. If you didn’t enjoy the first, you probably won’t want to play this one. I doubt this game is worth another sequel, really I cannot see where the story would go from here, but then that’s not for people like you or me to decide. Overall though, if you like your FPS games to be something a little different and are tired of “real-life” shooters like Battlefield or the constant elitism of MW2, then you wont be too sad if you picked up and played Bioshock 2.

Rating: 7/10

Rating: 7/10

eviltb's avatar
Community review by eviltb (February 17, 2010)

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aschultz posted February 24, 2010:

First, welcome! This is a good first effort--yes, I cringe when people tell *me* that, but I guess there's always the standard disclaimer that when you start things, you're going to make "good" mistakes that help you nail things down. I see a lot of that here. This is an involving review and I like the narrative style.

The first few paragraphs come off as a bit colloquial: "Rapture still looks as messed up as it does in the first game and the decal looks awesome." is one of those sentences. I'd be more interested in hearing about hte moral choices first, since they affect the story, and then the graphics part can come next. Perhaps "Playing on hard killed me too quickly, even though I got to use dualplasmids. It got in the way of the story and moral choices in rescuing Little Sisters. Rapture is still the same ghost town, but [new graphic details] enhance the story." (Note that "makes killing things a lot easier" also semi-contradicts the "hard" setting, and perhaps you should clarify. Were you able to replay on hard later? Did it add to the story?)

And there's an overuse of the verb "feels"...in this case, it's better to give examples of why something feels the way it does than saying it. Or "Not as weird as it sounds, when you consider the game." drops the reader before moving along.

Also I think I mentioned this in other reviews but a line like "Reading back this review you may think I don’t like this game. I did enjoy it, that’s for sure." suggests that maybe you should have balanced things towards your final conclusion/score more in the review.

There are also some proofreading issues that throwing your writing into Microsoft Word or some online grammar checker will fix. It's an annoying last step to take, but it has to be done. One of the toughest things to do is reread your work and often I need a 2-hour break from writing before I get back to it. There's definitely enough in your review that revising it could make for something pretty cool.
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eviltb posted February 25, 2010:

Thanks for the feedback :) I wrote this assuming most would have played the first one (as I have) so I left out a lot about moral choices etc, as I wanted to be as spoiler-free as possible. I guess you could summarise my review as "For fans of the series its 'more of the same' with the addition of some properly thought-out multiplayer, however if you didnt play the first game this one wont do much to drag you in". Which fits with my 'wow' or 'growl' statement at the beginning. I'll keep your tips in mind though for when I write something new!
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aschultz posted February 25, 2010:

Hello...glad you found what I said interesting/helpful! I have to admit I'm very retro-oriented, and I needed to research what made BioShock special and worthy of a sequel. Especially since 3 people wrote a review on it. Guess I didn't do everything.

I agree you shouldn't have to spoon-feed people, and I think it's tricky (but the best of both worlds) when you can touch on what made game A great while its sequel worked well too because it (did more of the same/provided a different angle.)

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