Bioshock 2 Review

I thought Bioshock was a very nice game, other than the save system that encouraged you to try and try again with no consequences for messing up other than a load screen. How it included revitalizing chambers in case you do not use the save system. The pointless morality system, and a crappy ending. So the sequel took into account to not improve most of those things, and just creating plot holes and a product that lacks was filled with one of the first big gaming controversies that I saw within the medium. But this is a place for my opinions, so let’s do it with Bioshock 2.

Bioshock 2 (Single Player) Review
Release Date: 09/2/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360(Reviewed), Playstation 3, PC, Mac OSX
Developer: 2K Marin and 2K China
Publisher: 2K Games

Let me just say that there are next to no clues that characters new to this game were even existent, even though one starts a revolution, one’s the first Big Daddy, and one’s the first little sister. Bioshock was tightly sealed, and to me, it is preferable to think of this plot as one that revolves around an alternate timeline where Jack died trying to save the little sisters and the big bad destroyed most of the escape pods. Because if you want to buy this game, Rapture lived on through the several thousand leaks it had. Seriously, wasn’t everyone crazy, how was this fixed? There might be a real explanation, yet it sure is not very clear. I know these are new areas, but a city getting destroyed is rarely an isolated thing.

RIghto, moving onto the game’s plot. You play as Subject Delta, the first Big Daddy. Big Daddies are the protectors of Little Sisters, mutated children whose bodies can produce Adam. Which is basically stem cells except it can let you levitate cats, fix robots, and turn invisible through things known as Plasmids. Delta’s little sister is taken from him while he is killed, a plot point that, I’ll admit, is fixed in a way that’s kind of clever and addresses my problem with respawning enemies. That was 10 years ago, and now it is 8 years after the first Bioshock, no real reason why they chose that, a month to a year would be more plausible.

When you wake up, you are Rapture’s last hope, again, and you need to save, or murder, a ton of little girls. Although,Lamb, a character who, let’s be honest right now, should have been revealed to be a robot, wants you to die for being an abomination by not letting her get things her way. Or maybe just because he has free-ish will, which is a lie the game should have addressed knowing what, since Bioshock had something similar. Seriously, Delta is a human who has been reduced to a single functioning protector of one individual, and all the others who followed. His objective is to protect and save the first little sister, Eleanor, and all the other little sisters, since they have some of her DNA in them.

If I had to say something nice about the narrative, the audio diaries are still a delight and I like the characters. The businessman SInclair helps you get out of here, even though he could’ve left 8 years ago. I can hardly remember his personality although I think he was suppose to be a slimebag near the end, I just remember that he was somewhat morally ambiguous, called you kid, and had a smooth voice. However, I struggle to recall certain shows a week after I watch them, so this might just be me. Your Little Sister, who is oddly your “Daughter”, Eleanor has some very odd mood swings that I want to consider as a result from her being locked in a bubble for ten years and had her entire body and mind reworked several times over.

Then there is Lamb, a cold emotionally dead woman who believes that one shouldn’t care about personal gain, and humans should be remade to work as a single unit in order to get as close to utopia as we can get. In other words? She’s a Red, ya silly Bonker. I’m sorry, but the idea of communism being the natural human order is a good idea for a story, yet there is never any kind of debate, and I get the impression that she wouldn’t even listen to criticism, and would just turn you into a mindless automaton for questioning her. Oh, and she doesn’t get her Kamuffins, at all. She gets her society destroyed, however it was in ruins when you got there, you just kicked the half broken support beat of a termite infested rotting wooden cabin.

Although, you do get to get “revenge” on certain people. One who was manipulated and later assists you if you spare them. One who is a scumbag, but is the reason you can shoot bess out of your hands! And one who is in constant pain as they continue to live, and provided you with my favorite level of the game, yetbegs to die. Now, the game’s structure makes stealth hard, so you’ll kill every psychopath who took too many drugs that it ruined their mind. If you spare all three of these normal people, who all probably end up drowning, you are rewarded. Yes, disobey a man’s final wish to kill his psychotic, constantly suffering self, and you are not considered to be a true “Savior”… Really? You are bringing up a morality choice like that without thinking about it? I mean, the evil option is, at best, short term gain over long term gain, but that is just lazy thinking! Oh, and the whole harvesting or saving the Little Sisters, I had more Adam than I needed by the halfway mark, and I chose the Saint playthrough.

Okay, over 900 words in, and just getting to the gameplay. Throughout many of my reviews, I have stated how I prefer an FPS that doesn’t force you to move, encourages exploration, and has many upgrades. And Bioshock was one of the best examples of that. Meanwhile, Bioshock 2 is a slightly more action focused take on the matter and still results in being pretty damn good. Like with the first game, you start out with next to nothing, and need to gradually get better supplies in order to end up feeling a bit too empowered by the end. And as I stated earlier, this happens far sooner in this game, namely once I got two flying turrets that I hacked and repaired, a machine gun that could pierce through armor, and when I took down a Big Daddy without taking any damage. Or about the 50-60% mark.

Rummaging around the divided levels of the city in search for a thing to get you to the ultimate goal, hacking machines in order to get better prices or an ally, and finding cakes and sodas to eat, they’re all back. Well, the hacking minigame is now a literal reflex test, rather than a quick thinking puzzle minigame, but you get the idea. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it feels like an expansion pack more than a sequel. It took me half as long, had areas that could be interspersed throughout. Features only a handful of new abilities, with some streamlining, yet are clearly made from different designers.

For example, instead of having a pistol and crossbow, you have this thing called a rivet gun, and a spear gun. Instead of a tommy gun, you have a full on machine gun. Instead of a wrench, you have a drill. The out of place final muscle bound, oversized baddy from the first game has been converted into a mini-boss with a British accent. Despite starting with far less health than you did in the first game, it still feels like it wants to be as combat heavy it can get away with without losing the first game’s great atmosphere. I think these changes were for the single player to feel more like the multiplayer, but I am not saying that there are necessarily bad. However, I am saying that it does feel a bit out of place.

I mean, the most evolved mechanic is how once you kill a Big Daddy, you must have his Little Sister harvest Adam from two individuals before you put her back into the hidey hole. Yet as she is harvesting Adam, the psychopaths who grow mad due to brain damage, or Spicers as the game calls them, try to eat the Little Sister. So you need to spend a little over a minute trying to protect her from several waves of foes.

Now, this was done in the first game as its pre-Climax, and I thought it was a great idea, having you struggle to protect these individuals while things get relentless and you have limited time. But here, you are in complete control of the situation, and it is done about 20 bite sized times, rather than a single long one. Oh, and after you deal with 3 of them, a Big Sister, which is like a Big Daddy yet more of a pain to fight, comes out to attack you. Even though I freed their bodies of a disease that would have prevented them from living a remotely normal life, at the cost of my own. Even though they were fun, so I guess that I can’t complain except for when I had to fight 3 of them at once.

Even with that, the game is made pretty damn easy. Let me give you a scenario, after capturing some “creative kills” on a certain type of enemy, because you now have a video camera with infinite film, you get the ability to become invisible by standing still. You then stand in front of a vending machine, turning invisible, purposefully fail and summon some security drones, and start a hack as they whiz past you, unable to see you. Now I have two hacked flying machine gun turrets, which I can also repair using some of my Plasmid power, which I only use to befriend Big Daddies and other enemies so they can let me sit back during combat, as my foes kill each other with help from my turrets, while I heal my health and Plasmid power by standing in knee high water.

Okay, that only happened a few times, but combine any number of those mechanics into every situation, and your game gets to be a complete cakewalk once I have everything. However, I still had too much Adam, and bought fully powered Plasmids that I never used. The rest of my Adam went towards buying all 18 slots for the passive abilities in this game. The sheer number of good minor buffs I found, compared to the active ones, is a bit humiliating. They didn’t need to let me repair turrets, or turn invisible, or even let me heal by getting my diving suit wet. Wait, how can Delta eat canned fruit with a diving helmet for a face? Oh forget it. I will not deny that I had a lot more traditional bam, pow, boom, fun with this game. Although,I tend to appreciate the more isolated feel of the original. It doesn’t make this game bad, just shallow compared to a title that is is following up according to the title.

However, as a very surprising twist, the areas look, sound, and feel like the original to a near fault. I have no idea how this happened, yet it results in Bioshock 2 really feeling like it does not belong anywhere. More than anything, just looking at it minus the HUD, I could not tell the difference at all. The whole steampunkish post WWII vibe still holds strong, even with the occasional silly bit when you break down just how banasa this plot and these situations can be. You are a genetically altered scuba diver who is protected a little girl who is gathering sea slug ooze from a corpse, as men with hooks leap across the walls try to gouge her, now normal looking, eyes out. It is just weird to see something that is trying to both be Bioshock, but reject that idea at the same time. Although, I did find the models to be clearer, as opposed the the more grimy looking enemies from the first title

If I had to summarize this game up, it feel like it was stitched together by people who wanted to just remake the first title, turn it into a different genre, and create a worthy successor, and they all fail in some shape or form. It feels like a mod that was picked up and put down several times, by several teams. However, is it good? I must reply with a resounding yes. The atmosphere is still lovely, and the combat does feel very tense. I still love rushing, and there is really nothing wrong with feeling like a badass when you start out as a man with foil for skin. I was able to break it in the same way, and it didn’t evolve that much, yet it is at least a good time, even if it feels like it was stitched together. As a sequel, it does kind of drop the ball, but as its own game, it is fun, and that’s good enough for me.

It’s held back by certain flaws, it manages to be a competently executed and fun product that is worth playing.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it’s the only way I’ll improve.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Voltech

    You know, it’s the weirdest thing — I played (and enjoyed) the original Bioshock, and it’s one of the few shooters I’ve ever managed to finish, mostly because of my embarrassingly bad aim. But Bioshock 2? Never touched it. My brother did, and beat it, and argued it was inferior to the original, and traded it in not long after. Sooooooooooo…blessing in disguise, maybe?

    Well, whatever. Like you said, I’m sure it’s a good game in its own right — plus my memory of the original game is hazy, so I can play this one without issue, right? Maybe the next time I go to GameStop, I’ll grab a cheap copy.

    Or one of the Yakuza games. Reeeeeeeeeeeeally need to finish one of those.

    1. Electnigma

      Yeah, my aiming skills are pretty crap as well. I still thought the game was worth playing, but only if you’ve got a pretty clean backlog otherwise. And as I said, or at least implied, in my Minerva’s Den review, I find the DLC to be the overall better package, even if it costs about $20 in total. Yet for a good few hours, I’d say that it is worth buying Bioshock 2 as well.

      Also, thanks a bunch for commenting on my stuff. Would return the favor, but I’ll be honest and say that your stuff does not interest me. Not due to quality, just that nothing on it really catches my eye.