BioShock 2 Review

Down where it’s wetter, still where it’s better… Rupert gives the verdict on the Xbox 360 version of 2K Marin’s return to Rapture.

By Rupert Higham, February 12, 2010

BioShock was lauded for its sophisticated approach to storytelling, with a strong emphasis on moral choices, and while the latter question rarely progressed beyond comic book good versus evil, the player’s choice to be evil rewarded them with slightly larger quantities of Adam, the game’s superpower imbuing currency. BioShock 2 follows a similar path, though the gap between moral paths is wider, magnifying the effects of your choices. Further to this there are completely optional instances where you are free to exercise your judgement to show clemency or callousness in a set of morally dubious encounters.

Character designs are as wonderfully outlandish as ever.

Character designs are as wonderfully outlandish as ever.

The harvesting or rescue of little sisters has an additional dimension: Bioshock 2 allows you to adopt your own endearing little leech to gather even more Adam before choosing to save or slaughter her, making room for some serious abuses of trust and guardianship. All of these choices unfold at the game’s climax, with the ramifications being felt in a massive way that leaves you in no doubt as to your responsibility. It is powerful, effective and makes you immediately want to jump back in for a second playthrough to see the alternate path.

An unparalleled success in storytelling terms, the original game did come under fire for a number of gameplay choices, and BioShock 2 goes some way towards addressing these issues. It’s now possible to dual-wield guns and plasmids, and there are more varieties of them, with upgrades granting access to completely new abilities rather than simply stat increases. The enticing prospect of using the famous Big Daddy drill arm is something of a let-down however, failing to be as effective or viscerally satisfying as it should be.

Though the original game’s inventory contained a range of traps, there were only a few situations where their use was exploited. The adoption and gathering mechanic of BioShock 2 however demands that you use them to prepare for coordinated splicer attacks, promoting devious planning. The research aspect has also been upgraded from simple picture-taking to recording short videos of your encounters with new enemies, with creative use of plasmids and weaponry producing better research and thus new powers. It’s a brilliant touch and rewards innovative and destructive play.

The Big Daddy might have more muscles than a Splicer, but they have the advantage of numbers.

The Big Daddy might have more muscles than a Splicer, but they have the advantage of numbers.

The issue of multiplayer was divisive among BioShock fans. We wouldn’t have wanted any development time rerouted from the grand ambitions of the single player campaign, but the game’s tool set and art direction would have made for a unique competitive experience. In out-sourcing the sequel’s multiplayer component to the tried and tested talent at Digital Extremes, 2K Marin have managed to avoid compromising the main game, and the results are surprisingly impressive.

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One Response to “BioShock 2 Review”

  1. dody says:

    hello jetlli#


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