Game Title: Bioshock 2
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 2K Marin
Genre(s): Action, Horror, FPS
ESRB Rated: M
Release Date: 2/9/2010
Review Rating: :4.5stars:
For those of you unfamiliar with the original Bioshock, let me briefly recap. In the first game you played as a man named Jack who discovers an underwater city when his plane goes down in the middle of the ocean. The city is Rapture and it is inhabited by several different types of characters including ‘Splicers’ which are crazies that are running around killing everything in sight. ‘Big Daddy’s’ which are men in giant metal suits protecting ‘Little Sisters’ which are little girls sent out to extract ‘ADAM’, a fluid/blood plasma extracted from dead bodies that is used to enhance the DNA of the person using it. Now the overall story of Bioshock is much larger and needs to be experienced by any fan of shooters or action horror games.
Bioshock 2 picks up 10 years after the first game and Jack is gone. In this game you play as a ‘Big Daddy’ named 'Project Delta', usually referred to simply as 'Delta', that is searching for a Little Sister named Eleanor. The reason for your search eventually unfolds as the story progresses and it doesn’t take long before the player is presented with another trip through the bowels of ‘Rapture’. All of our old foes from the first game are back from ‘Splicers’ to ‘Big Daddy’s’ as well as some new and much more menacing ones like the ‘Brute Splicer’ and the dreaded ‘Big Sisters’. As in the first game, you are presented with moral choices such as do you ‘Save’ the little sisters or ‘Harvest’ them for more ADAM. Personally, I could never bring myself to harvest even one of them in the first game or in this one. The thought of it absolutely sickens me; I guess that’s why I am always a hero in these types of games. The missions are similar but in this game you actually assist the Little Sisters in gathering the ADAM by protecting them from an onslaught of psychopaths while they extract the ADAM. The big problem here is that before you can assist the little sisters you must first defeat their Big Daddy and then ‘Adopt’ the little sister; unlike the first game when you were just rescuing the little sisters from the Big Daddy.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3618&w=o[/img]As the story unfolds we meet several other characters that assist as well as try to hamper your efforts. Sofia Lamb is the one running the show and will react differently based on your decisions throughout the game. Eleanor Lamb is Sofia’s daughter and your main objective through most of the game is to find her. Other characters come and go but at the center of the story are Sofia, Eleanor and you and the ending you receive is based on your actions throughout the game.
I thought the story of Bioshock 2 was actually a little better than the first and here is my reason. In the first game you play as a guy named Jack who’s plane happened to crash in the ocean right near the entrance to an underwater city. In Bioshock 2 you play as a Big Daddy who was part of Rapture’s past that has been in a coma in the city for 10 years. Even though the thought of an underwater city such as Rapture is absurd, placing the character there is a little more believable in Bioshock 2. That being said, the originality of the first game still surpasses Bioshock 2.
This game is rated ‘M’ for Mature and rightfully so. This is an extremely violent game with blood, mutilations, references to drugs, alcohol, language, smoking and plenty of other no-no’s for younger audiences. Parents be warned.
This game is an action-horror, first person shooter (FPS). There are small role-playing elements but they are mostly centered on the moral decisions. There is some openness to the game that allows you to roam and explore Rapture and find all of the recorded messages as well as plasmid upgrades, tonic upgrades and weapon upgrades. The only thing that I have to say that might sound negative about the game just can’t be helped. In the first game Rapture was a new and exciting world to explore, in Bioshock 2 it is more of the same so, been there, done that. Now, with that being said, 2K Marin did an absolutely outstanding job of bringing in enough new elements to make this game exciting, tense and even a bit frustrating at times; and I mean that in a good way. Additionally, the ability to dual wield plasmas and guns that has been introduced in Bioshock 2 is absolutley awesome.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3621&w=o[/img]Gameplay is very solid. I didn’t notice any frame rate issues and the pace of the game ping-pongs between slow and creepy to fast and frantic. The controls are typical FPS controls and do not have a huge learning curve unless you are unfamiliar with FPS in general. The inventory system is setup well for easy access to all of your weapons and plasmids. Save points are the same ‘Vita-Chambers’ from the first game however, if you die during an ADAM extraction, your little sister is waiting for you outside the vita-chamber and you must restart the extraction from the beginning with whatever ammunition, hypo and health you had when you died so, if you were out of all of them, it is highly suggested that you go on a side quest to regain supplies.
I thought the multi-player element was unique in that it gives the players a bit of a backstory. The multi-player is actually set before the events of the first Bioshock in an all out war amongst the inhabitants of the city. This offers players the opportunity to be a part of the history that got Rapture to where it is now which I think is pretty cool. The multi-player allows you to build ranks and offers a host of new weapons and plasmids. Fortunately this does not at all feel like the typical “last minute” “tacked on because we have to” multi-player that befalls so many story driven games. 2K Marin did a fine job in providing countless hours of entertainment once the main story has been finished. Multi-player modes include: Survival of the Fittest, Civil War, Last Splicer Standing, Capture the Sister, ADAM Grab, Team ADAM Grab and Turf War
The graphics in the game are beautiful though they do have a bit more animated look than say a Modern Warfare but they are beautiful none the less. The level of detail in Rapture, inside and out, is amazing. It was quite a treat to be able to step outside onto the ocean floor and really look around instead of looking through a window. Though the game takes place in 1968, it has a real 40's-50's vibe to it. The colors are wonderfully contrast to the dark and ominous feeling of hopelessness that is inherent in the underwater city.
The sound is really top notch. The explosions are loud and rude and the creaks and groans can give your anxiety level a boost. The screech of the ‘Big Sisters’ can be painful if you have the volume too high but it will also get the blood pressure up. The music playing on the radios thoughout Rapture has that 40's swing to it and that plays well into the chaos all around. The overall sound design is just awesome and really brings out the haunting atmosphere of Rapture. I found myself several times getting "the creeps" walking around the Rapture.
There weren’t really any extras worth mentioning however; I plan to update this section once some of the down loadable content starts showing up.
Gamers are a very cautiously optimistic group and at times bordering on pessimistic. We have been jaded by publishers that are anxious to slap a number behind the name of an outstanding game and get it out the door to cash in on the franchise. They often do not give the developers adequate time to make sure the job is done right and that is unfortunate. I can't tell you how many times I've played games that could have been outstanding if only given another 6 months to develop but end up with one that has wonky controls or some other minor annoyonce that could have been flushed out. Luckily in Bioshock 2, 2K has hit another home run and now I must sit and patiently wait for Bioshock 3 which I will happily do…… Don’t screw it up!