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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2010
Let me start off by saying that this game was in a very rough spot when it was being developed. The first Bioshock was and still is one of the greatest games ever made, and seeing as video games are a rare medium where the sequel is almost always better, the bar was set high. I pretty much had my hopes set rather low, as I knew it could never live up to the near-flawless first installment.

So how accurate was I? Its about as good as I thought it would be.

Bioshock 2 is by no means a bad game. Its still Bioshock, you're still in Rapture, and the gameplay is the same with improvements made here and there. But, as my previous statement said, there are things that hold this installment back.

-The Pros-

Even though this isn't the first time we've stepped foot in Rapture - and some of the mystery is gone due to that fact - it is still full of the same great atmosphere and art design that made the original so great. There are still flickering lights, leaky walls and ceilings, art deco goodness, and a general sense of a lost utopia in every area. There is still the same feeling of nervous excitement and slight fear around every corner.

The gameplay is more or less unchanged, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The shooting is still pretty tight, as is the use of plasmids. You have your standard plasmids and gene tonics from the first game, with a few tweaks here and there such as the ability to use plasmids and weapons at the same time.

There are also some small things that I took notice of and really enjoyed:

- Subject Delta (your character) grew on me for some reason. I always found the Big Daddies to be oddly lovable, and this guy is no different.

- The drill arm is a great addition to the weapon selection. I found myself using it even late in the game and upgrading it before upgrading my guns.

- Guarding the Little Sisters wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I hate escort type missions, and thought I would hate this mechanic, but I wound up loving it. You can also just down the other Daddies and return the Sisters to the vents, without doing the ADAM harvesting part. The Little Sisters are also cute and sometimes funny in what they say, and it was a good choice to allow the player to interact with them more this time around.

- (!!SPOILER!!) Later on in the game, you are able to see the world of Rapture as the Little Sisters see it, which is incredibly interesting. During this section, the real decayed Rapture is juxtaposed with the imagined Little Sister-vision Rapture, and it is very powerful when it happens.

- (!!SPOILER!!) The Subject Delta/Eleanor relationship was well told, despite the fact that I have several complaints regarding the story.

- The opening cinematic gives you a very brief glimpse of life in Rapture before its fall. I found it very interesting even though it barely lasts a minute.

- The Cons -

Before I go into the cons, just know that despite everything I say, this game is still good, and still worth playing. When writing reviews, I tend to focus on the negative too much, and the game is not as bad as these cons will make it out to be.

While the fact that the gameplay is unchanged isn't really that bad, it also strikes me as a missed chance to really improve on it. There are really no new weapons or plasmids that strike you as being really "new", as most of them are either unchanged or rehashed versions of other weapons or plasmids from the first game. The fact that you're a Big Daddy also doesn't make that much of a difference. I found my health being depleted rapidly by average splicers, and my blows with weapons or the drill arm not being as effective as they should be. The game tries to write this off as the splicers growing stronger in the ten years since the first game, but it still made a bad impression on me.

Music has seemed to have taken a backseat in this game. The first Bioshock used music to such great effect that I bought the soundtrack. Music is more or less absent in this game. I remember hearing music maybe 4 or 5 times throughout the entire game, compared to the literal dozens of songs heard throughout Rapture in Bioshock 1.

The hacking mechanic being changed is a smaller annoyance I had, as I love the original games hacking minigame a lot more compared to the color/needle game you play in this game.

Something that really confuses me is the graphics. They seem to have gotten worse since Bioshock 1. Low-res textures make several appearances, the water isn't as impressive, and the particle effects are rather pixelated. Graphics aren't really that big of a deal to me, but the obvious downgrade from the first game just confuses me.

The areas explored throughout the game are also relatively lacking. There are no Welcome to Rapture Centers or Fort Frolics in this game.


My absolute biggest complaint about Bioshock 2 is the story. While I wasn't expecting something of Bioshock 1 quality, I was expecting something more than what was presented.

Sofia Lamb, while being a decent antagonist, falls very very short of filling Andrew Ryan's shoes.
Her speeches aren't as fascinating, her motives aren't as clear, and her malevolence isn't as convincing. She tries to be the omniscient voice of Ryan and the villain of Fontaine all at once, and fails.

This is indicative of another problem: the characters. While the characters are still deeper than 95% of characters in other games, the first Bioshock still reigns supreme in this area. Sinclair is a likable character, but pales in comparison to Atlas (Sinclair more or less fills Atlas' role in this game). Grace Holloway plays the role of fallen artist in this game, but never lives up to the mad genius of Sander Cohen. Even the audio logs are lacking due to the characters not being as strong.

The big reveal around the 75% complete mark in this game was also unremarkable. Expect no "Would you kindly?" or "Atlas is Fontaine". I didn't even understand the significance of the twist in this game. I was unaffected by it completely.

There is also no final boss fight, no satisfying explanation for the Big Sisters, and no sense of closure that approaches the first games'.

My last complaint story-wise is about Tenenbaum. Despite being the only character from the first game in this game, she makes one appearance and then COMPLETELY disappears from the game. You aren't even told what becomes of her. This really frustrated me.

Despite all of my complaints, this is still a very solid game and worth playing. Especially if you've played the amazing first game. However, if you're new to this series, I highly recommend playing the first one to see if you like this type of game.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 11, 2010
I loved Bioshock; I became immediately immersed in it and spent well over 20 hours completing it during my first playthrough because there was so much to explore in the game. Bioshock 2 is no different. What a cool game Bioshock 2 is so far. Let me say up front that I haven't finished it, and I don't want to be finished. I have played for over 6 hours and I don't get the impression that I'm remotely close to finishing.

After 6 hours, I'm sure that I could have gotten a lot farther in the game than I am a lot faster, but you can prolong the game by exploring areas that may not be the most direct route to your goal. And I spend a lot of time exploring. These little explorations are usually fruitful, because hidden throughout the expansive game are all kinds of weapons, perks and information about where you've once again suddenly found yourself captive: In the underwater city of Rapture. (Edit 3/1/10: Finished the game and the game is as good as the rest of this review suggests. Spent, I'd say, well over 15 hours playing. Extensive searching kept my ammo and "Eve" full at all times.)

The game begins with a flashback cutscene with you as a Big Daddy protecting a Little Sister apparently just before the events of the first game. The cutscene ends badly for you, but you are suddenly "reactivated" about 10 years later within Andrew Ryan's utopian city of Rapture now under the control of a woman named Sofia Lamb, and Lamb is not happy to see you. Did I say utopian city? Well, that may have been the original idea, but the Rapture you ultimately find yourself in is the antithesis of a utopia and in even worse shape than in the first Bioshock. I believe the term is dystopia. Anyway, a familiar name contacts you and helps guide you, a Big Daddy, to your goals.

The good news is that in Bioshock 2, unlike Bioshock 1, your peripheral vision isn't limited like it was by the Big Daddy helmet. Remember that part in Bioshock 1 where you became the Big Daddy and you had to escort the Little Sister? That was one of the tougher parts on the game, no? Well, it looks like we're in for a lot of that in Bioshock 2.

You are given goals and roadblocks o'plenty to prevent you from easily reaching your goals. The few people (called Splicers) left in Rapture that you run into have all gone (are still) stark raving mad, and they'll ruin your day or the Little Sister's day that you're trying to protect if you let them get too close. And don't trip a security alarm; it'll summon armed drones and more Splicers. At the beginning of the first level you get a quick glimpse of something that looks a lot worse than a Splicer, and it becomes clear that the gene altering that was going on in the first one has been taken to the next level in this one.

At least it's easier to hack everything from security cameras to drones to vending machines to safes in Bioshock 2. Not only can you hack from a distance by firing a "hack dart" at a machine like a gun turret, the hacking itself is a new timed system that is based on stopping a needle that moves back in forth over a color coded grid versus the first game's complete the puzzle before time runs out system.

You get all kinds of weapons and occasional opportunities to upgrade your weapons. You're well equipped. And this time not only do you get the Big Daddy's Rivet Gun, but also his oversize drill. The drill is quite effective so far on Splicers and saves on precious ammo; there's a new melee attack added to your defense system and a melee with the drill equipped is almost as effective as the drill itself. You get the a camera again too to take pictures that allow you to conduct research on your foes to increase the damage you can inflict on them and lessen the damage that they inflict on you (don't worry...all you have to do is take the dang picture; the research is done automatically).

In addition to the corpses strewn throughout the game that can be searched for goodies, so is ammo, money and other knick-knacks that will help you progress. Just be sure to search everything if you want to maximize your strength. And speaking of maximizing your strength, one of the first things you get are, just like the first game, Plasmids...or put another way...special abilities. Telekinesis. Pyrokinesis. And a bunch of other Plasmid "kinesises" are unlocked pending your ability to find or buy them. Try picking something heavy up with your telekinesis and throwing it at your enemy...better yet, plant a few Trap Rivets on that thing before you toss it! You're also granted "tonics" to customize your character with. Stuff like armor, various strengths, first aid boosts, and secondary damage on your enemies from your weapons or from just plain old being attacked. Really cool stuff.

Unlike most games, but just like Bioshock 1, the game lets you save at any time, and when you restart play it starts you at the exact place you last saved...not at the last checkpoint. Nice. Very nice. So right before you get to what you think might be a tough! Cuz if you play "poorly", you can just quit and try again.

Like any game with redundant enemies (think RE4's ganados or Uncharted's pirates), the Splicers become quite annoying, but I suppose that's the idea. And yup, you even need to battle with other Big Daddies again. And as tough as they are, wait until you have to battle your newest foe, the Big Sister. My first battle with one of these didn't go so well. Thank goodness for the save anywhere feature! You have GOT to remember to hit that first aid button before your health runs out. You reload automatically, and your Plasmids will recharge automatically (if you've got some Eve), but you don't heal automatically.

Your goals change all the time. Just when you think you've attained a critical backfires or you're immediately given another that requires backtracking...and then backtracking again. But rest assured it never gets boring. The eerie atmospheres and creepy environments that Bioshock's creators have put together are more than effective. Some areas are really creepy, and there's nothing worse than not being able to find your way out of those which isn't always easy. But that's the fun! Oh yeah, and now that you're in the Big Daddy suit, you're even required to make it through some underwater (or should I say in the water) adventures.

If you like shooters or survival / horror games...Bioshock 2 is for you. The first game is really cheap here at Amazon, and I'd highly recommend that you play it first for chronology's sake. But chronology is completely unnecessary for Bioshock 2. Come to think of Bioshock 2 first then play Bioshock 1 as a prequel!

Because one thing that Bioshock 2 has that Bioshock 1 doesn't is Multiplayer mode. This is really fun. Ya know how Modern Warfare 2 was really a multiplayer game with a bonus single player campaign? Well, Bioshock 2 is a single player game with a bonus multiplayer mode. Think Modern Warfare 2 combined with World at War Zombie mode combined with, well, Bioshock. I tried Multiplayer last night and in my first sitting got almost all of the Trophies (for anyone that cares about that). I really bought Bioshock 2 for the single player mode. But the addition of Multiplayer only adds to the hours of good times to be had with this game. Multiplayer is an interesting story driven mode where the player takes on the role of a citizen of Rapture before the events of the first Bioshock.

So is there anything bad about Bioshock 2 so far. Well, if I had to come up with something it'd be that the graphics seem to have received no upgrade whatsoever. After games like Uncharted, you'd think that 2K would have made some improvements in this department, but I'm not seeing it. The Splicers look as cartoonish as it gets. And my only other complaint would be the familiarity that Bioshock 2 has with the original. But that's the idea, right? You are "reborn" into Rapture.

I've heard some talk about how Bioshock 2 is a carbon copy of the first game. And that talk is just ridiculous. Again, take my review for what it's worth since I'm only just getting into it. But after 6 hours I'd say that there's no question here...add this to your cart. This is a 5-star game...whether you've played the first already or not.

(P.S.--I know that video game to big screen conversions mostly seem to fail, but have you heard that there's a movie adaptation of Bioshock with the 28 Weeks Later Director at the helm?)
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2010
I loved BioShock 1 so much I actually bought it for both my 360 & PS3, this time around I only will review the PS3 version.

Yes the game installs to the hard drive. Now I personally like games that install to the HDD as they run faster during game play. It's a bit longer than 10 minutes for the initial setup, I didn't time it with a stop watch, but the DualShock had turned off, which it does after 10 minutes.

I waited on ordering this until I saw at least 3 reviews on reputable gaming sites. They had some big shoes to fill after BioShock 1, and so far I think they've done an awesome job. I really enjoy exploring the maps making sure I've covered every inch. Most of the enemies are the same so far, with two new additional Boss type monsters that I've encountered so far.

The graphics and sound effects are great, only a few glitches here and there, but nothing worth even really mentioning. No crashes so far, and I've played at least 12 hours, collecting as many trophies as I can.

I'm very much enjoying this, maybe not as much as the first, only because BioShock was so unique at the time. If you liked BioShock 1 you should love 2. There are many new weapon enhancements, and the great plasmid system is still intact.

I've not yet tried the multiplayer, or really have any desire to, and sometimes wish developers would just forget about it and make a longer single player experience.

This will be one of the few "shooters" that gets 3 or more playthroughs. 95% of shooters I play once and move on, so for me it's that good.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2010
Note: This review does contain some spoilers. However, they largely pertain to the first game and the spoilers for Bio 2 are stuff you'd find out at the very beginning. Also, I'm writing this under the assumption that people are familiar with the basics of Bioshock and Rapture even if they didn't play the 1st one. Finally, I have not played multiplayer, so I can't vouch for it. With that, on to the review...

Story: Bioshock had one of the best stories in modern gaming, as it took Ayn Rand and ran with it, putting extreme Objectivism in a horror setting Rob Zombie would enjoy and sprinkling on some "Manchurian Candidate" for good measure. It also produced extremely interesting characters. Andrew Ryan is one of the better villains in modern gaming because he has hubris. He truly believes mankind will evolve and thrive with religious morality and all but the bare minimum of government authority absent; he just doesn't understand there is something inherently selfish and evil about humans and that without at least some regulation humanity will descend into chaos, with horrific consequences. Dr. Tenenbaum, the creator of the Little Sisters, is another interesting character, so guilt-ridden by what she's done that by the time the main character, Jack, has stumbled into Rapture she's hard at work trying to restore the Little Sisters to their human form and get them out of Rapture. And then there's Atlas/Fontaine. 'Nuf said. However, I just wasn't really invested in Jack. It wasn't that his character was uninteresting (the Fight Club-esque revelation sees to that); it's just that you're not overly concerned about what happens to him or to the Little Sisters. Also, the ending was abrupt, anti-climatic, and out of place in lieu of everything that had happened. Still, though, Bioshock contained one hell of a story about survival and horrible self-realization.

Bioshock 2's story is set 8 years following the events in the first game. This time, you play an older-model Big Daddy codenamed Delta. As the flashbacks show, 10 years earlier you were following your adopted Little Sister around (having developed an unusually strong bond with her) when suddenly Dr. Sophia Lamb (the new antagonist) uses a Hypnotize Plasmid to force you to blow your brains out. However, now you've been revived via a Vita-Chamber, and you're now desperately searching the ruins of Rapture for your lost Little Sister, Eleanor. The guiding philosophy of Dr. Lamb is the polar opposite of Ryan's. She's a collectivist, believing in "the greatest good for the greatest number", even if it means murdering people and kidnapping little girls from the surface and taking them down to Rapture to be transformed into Little Sisters. The problem is, Dr. Lamb is just not a great villain; she's just Nurse Rached (of "Cuckoo's Nest") in video game form: cold, manipulative, and meglomaniacal. Dr. Tenenbaum makes a brief appearance at the beginning of the game (she apparently fled Rapture and is now back to save the new Little Sisters and get them out of Rapture), but she's otherwise absent. This absence doesn't detract from the story, but she was so interesting in the 1st game it would have been nice to know what she'd been up to and to know a little more about her dark past. Sinclair (your guide and essentially Bio 2's answer to Atlas) isn't nearly as good or as interesting as Fontaine, even with his Southern draw and the horrible thing that happens to him at the end. Delta, however, is a far better main character than Jack, primarily because you are emotionally invested in him. There is an invisible, melancholy sadness about him as he searches for Eleanor (which isn't to say he's not a bad-ass). Furthermore, there is much more of an emotional component to tracking down and harvesting/saving Little Sisters. Instead of constantly hearing "Look, Mr. Bubbles, it's an angel" you hear things like "You'll always be there for me, Daddy?". In this game, the Little Sisters really do see their Big Daddies as fathers, making harvesting them even more reprehensible (in the end, I couldn't do it, even though this is a video game; you really do get that emotional vibe off of them). Overall, I'd say this one is a draw between the 2 games.

Gameplay: There are several changes to note for Bioshock 2, all of which I believe enhance the game over the 1st one. Because you are a Big Daddy, you can wield a Plasmid and a weapon at the same time. Not only do you not have to waste time switching back and forth in the middle of a battle but now it's easier to use environmental kills on your enemies, making for some pretty cool attacks and set-ups. Because you are a Big Daddy, instead of a wrench you have the drill, which as with weapons can be upgraded at the Power to the People stations. The drill can be upgraded to repel enemy fire, and eventually you will get an upgrade that will allow you to charge your opponent, which is pretty handy (no pun intended).

As for situations and enemies, your basic Splicers return with a few additions. The Bruiser Splicer is an overgrown beast that requires a significant amount of firepower to defeat (recommend explosives and anti-personnel rounds and the Winter Blast Plasmid). The new-model Big Daddies aren't any more armored than they were in the previous game, but they now move a lot faster and some have explosives launchers (if you have the Telekinesis Plasmid, they're still not hard to defeat). However, the biggest edition to the enemies list are the Big Sisters. These armored monsters move fast, use Plasmids of their own, and possess Spider Splicer abilities, meaning you'll need patience, traps, and plenty of ammo and Eve to defeat. Overall, in fact, the Splicers are significantly more difficult than in the 1st game. In the first game, I could get all the upgrades to my shotgun and easily take out a Houdini Splicer (at least in Easy and Medium modes). In this game, you'll still need a lot of skill and planning to defeat them. Furthermore, you're limited to 6 each of Health Kits and Eve Syringes (and that's if you buy upgrades; otherwise it's 5 and 5), so by the final battle you're really going to be using everything you've got, even on Easy.

If you decide to "adopt" a Little Sister, you have the option of letting them walk around collecting Adam from dead bodies. The benefit of this is you get just as much Adam as you would harvesting these poor kids. The bad news is that while they're harvesting, you have to defend them from wave after difficult wave of Splicers, requiring careful planning and full health and ammo. It's an interesting scenario (although not mandatory; you can just drop the kid off at a vent and be done with it) and will really test your skills. In this respect, definitely an upgrade over the 1st game.

Graphics and so forth: Not much has changed. Bioshock 2 uses the same graphics engine as before, so don't expect any changes there, and Rapture looks almost exactly the same. In fact, some areas - such as Sander Cohen's digs - are carryovers from the 1st game (with some alterations to reflect Rapture's destroyed state). This is somewhat disappointing, because it means the wonder of Rapture is now gone, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The music is also essentially a carryover from the first game.

Conclusion: Bioshock 2 takes the 1st game and makes several significant improvements that enhance the experience. While graphics and sounds stand pat, and even though most of the characters aren't as interesting as the ones previous, Bioshock 2 is a must-have for any FPS fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
I bought the first Bioshock out of desperation for a good game to play(I never really liked shooters before)and absolutely loved it. So I bought Bioshock 2 shortly after it came out and immediately played it twice in a row. I don't really understand the complaints that its "too much like the first one". In my opinion, 2K kept everything that was really good from the first game, while creating a new story and making the few improvements that were needed(isn't that kinda the point of a sequel?). A perfect example: in the first game, incinerate was the coolest-looking plasmid, but I rarely used it. It was reaaly hard to hit an enemy with it, and even when I had it at level three and augmented with tonics, the splicers didn't seem to really mind being set on fire and just kept right on shooting with perfect aim. In Bioshock 2... equip incinerate, aim reticle, pull trigger, and your ememy screams and runs around like...oh,say...someone who has been SET ON FIRE. MUCH more satisfying. That pretty well sums it up- like the first game, but slightly better. Works for me. All the stuff from the first game works better, and there are several new plasmids and weapons that are REALLY COOL.

I will warn that, at least for me, this game has a hell of a learning curve. The first time I played...yikes! I've never died so many times in one game. However, you can save whenever you want(I would recommend saving OFTEN) and I eventually got my techniques and strategies figuered out, so by the second playthrough I could make the splicers cry. Speaking of strategy, someone at 2K realized how much fun it was in the first game to have to plan out your Big-Daddy battles and added a LOT more of that element to this game. Now you can adopt little sisters and have them gather Adam. This draws out hordes of splicers and makes for some really challenging scenarios- GREAT FUN! You also have to battle Big Sisters who are tough and fast, forcing you to really plan out your strategy in detail.

My one complaint is that one time the sound glitched-out on me for half a level. This is nowhere near as bad as the frequent sound and framerate glitches of the first game but it was still annoying. Nevertheless, like the first game, the number of weapons, abilities, and upgrades and the variety of combinations in which to use them makes for tremendous replay value. Add to that six different endings and online multiplayer and this game gives you nearly endless fun.
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34 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2010
So I have to admit I was more then a little disappointed with my first day of Bioshock 2. After about 5 hours of playing I finally accepted the fact that really nothing new was going to be introduced in this game. That's not all bad, Bioshock 1 was a very fun game... The environment is still one of the best conceived for a video game. The game play is dark and twisted which I enjoy it just felt like for a sequel there wasn't much new content that will keep me playing this game.

The new Hacking is too easy but at the same time they give you a pain in the a$$ gun to shoot hacking darts. ( I hate that gun personally, switching to it in the middle of a fight causes serious frustration). The new weapons they have are nothing to write home about. And to me the graphics looked the exact same as the last bioshock. After seeing how Mass Effect overhauled graphics from 1 to 2 I was kind of hoping for the same thing here. That's not the case.

All in all the game feels like a clone of the first one with a story that doesn't pull you in the same way. If you were a fan of the first bioshock then you will appreciate this game but doesn't expect the single player to give you anything more then the first. The multiplayer is fun but by no means addictive like many others game out there today. So I would give this game 4 stars for fun factor, 3 stars overall. I just wish it had a little more content for the money we shell out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 1, 2012
I finally got around to playing the first Bioshock just a few months ago, and it's quickly become one of my favorite games of this console generation. It had atmosphere, an interesting story, incredible art direction and character designs, and it was just plain fun to play. Even my daughter had fun watching me play it, and she fell in love with the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. So getting the sequel here was a given. The game started off just fine for me. While many have complained about the game taking place in Rapture again, I liked the environment enough to give it another go, especially as a different character. The first 3-4 hours were great, but I noticed that I wasn't having a whole lot of fun playing the game. Bioshock 2 has some of the things that I loved about the first one, and that's about it. The game's too easy and it's over before it goes anywhere great. Still, if you haven't played it yet, I recommend doing so. It's not a bad just needed some more effort put into it.

This time around, you get to play as Subject Delta, one of the first Big Daddies made. The opening of the game takes place just a little bit before the events of the first Bioshock. You're walking around with your Little Sister, Eleanor, who gets attacked by Splicers. Delta's able to take care of two of them without any effort, but the third throws a mind control Plasmid at him, stopping Delta in his tracks. A woman then steps into the picture. It's Sophia Lamb- Eleanor's mother. She orders Delta to take off his helmet and asks him -kindly- to kill himself. Delta wakes up 10 years later to find Rapture pretty much as we saw it in the first game, but a little worse. With Andrew Ryan dead, Sophia Lamb has taken over, and while she was hoping to take the city in a slightly different direction, it sure as heck didn't happen. Splicers have gotten stronger, new types have emerged, and Delta needs to find Eleanor. He has a bond with her, even after 10 years, and he'll do anything he can to get her back. Luckily he encounters a man named Sinclair who acts as Atlas did in the previous game. And something else that works in Delta's favor is that he isn't a regular person- he's a Big Daddy. Do you know what that means? You have a freakin' drill on your arm!

I don't want to talk too much about what I liked and didn't like about the game's plot because I'd end up ruining a lot of it in the process. I'll just say that it's not a very strong one. Comparing it to the first game's would be a little unfair, and in rating it on its own, the plot is average. Sinclair is a great character to communicate with, but I never felt like he was there for more than guiding you. There are three points where you're given the option to spare a character that did you wrong a long time ago, or kill them, and regardless of what you do, it doesn't impact the game in any significant way. It's nice that they didn't do the usual forced good/evil thing here, but I would've liked more of a resolution. Subject Delta is a great character to play as though. Normally I never like a game's main character, especially when he's silent for the most part. I guess part of my connection to Delta is that I'm a parent, and I wanted him to get Eleanor back as soon as Sophia took her away. When you look at it, Bioshock 2 just may be the biggest, ugliest custody battle ever. Take that, Lifetime Original Movies.

There's a lot I liked about Bioshock 2, as much as it sounds like I'm bashing the game. The first thing I loved that they did is being able to adopt Little Sisters. Instead of just saving or harvesting a Little Sister once you take care of her Big Daddy, you can adopt her. She can then guide you to "angels" and get more Adam for you. It's not that simple as walking up and letting her just go nuts with the syringe- choosing to gather Adam means that Splicers will be coming for you, and you'll have to protect the Little Sister and yourself until she's done. Fortunately, Delta has some really neat weaponry on his side. As with all the weapons in the last game, the new ones here have extra uses. Rosie's rivet gun has a handy trap bolt that lets you put up little proximity bolts. Shoot one into the floor, a wall or the ceiling, and a red laser will appear, showing its range. Once an enemy steps on the laser, the bolt goes off and takes them out. There's a ton of ammo for this to be found, and you can literally just set up dozens of trap bolts around the Little Sister, making her practically untouchable. Being able to use the drill is a blast too- it could be the most useful weapon in the game. It goes through fuel rather quickly, so using its regular melee attack to conserve fuel is a good alternative, and still reliable. Once I got the dash ability for the drill, all I'd do is use the dash attack because of how fun and effective it is. Splicers don't stand a chance against this sucker. Bioshock 2 also has a big new enemy with the Big Sisters. Sadly, some of the Little Sisters grew up to be corrupt thanks to Sophia, and you'll be killing them off now. These girls are agile and powerful, with fights against them lasting about as long as fights against Big Daddies in the first game. Audio diaries are back too, and a joy to listen to as usual, and the multiplayer was surprisingly fun when I wasn't being annihilated by people with maxed out characters. Seriously, let me play against other beginners! Oh, and the water pipe hacking 'mini-game' is completely gone. It was a time consuming 'mini-game', and has been replaced by a much faster process.

Now for the cons. Where to start...hmm...well, how about how easy the game is? Supposedly, Splicers got stronger while Delta was out, which explains why he takes damage so easily, and why drill attacks aren't instant kills [like they SHOULD be]. However, ammo and first aid kits are so plentiful in Bioshock 2 that it's rare you'll die much. I don't know if it's just my experience with having played the first game recently, and going through it on the hardest difficulty setting while cleaning up trophies, but I couldn't have died more than 4 times while playing this game. It seemed like there was a First Aid Kit or health station every couple of steps. I know I just praised the trap bolts, but with how much ammo you can find and buy, it just plain makes combat unfair for the enemies! Delta can also get most of the same Plasmids that you got in the first game, though I think he should have been a little more limited. If not in how many he can get, maybe in how many he can carry at once. Fights against other Big Daddies are a pushover. Instead of that 'uh oh' feeling I used to get, now it was just 'oh, do I have to fight another one?' like it was just in my way or a chore. You even get a trophy for beating 3 Big Daddies without dying, as if it's a challenge. The new type, the Rumbler [who appears wayyyyy too much], will keep its distance while it launches missiles at you. Hey guess what! Telekinesis ensures you won't get a scratch during the fight. I almost want to say that all the powers and weapons you can get in the game give Bioshock 2 Fallout 3 syndrome. And by that I mean you'll be nearly invincible if you just upgrade a certain couple of abilities and weapons. Remember how in the first Bioshock you had a limited number of tonics that could be equipped? Well, wait 'til you see how many you can equip here. I laughed out loud as soon as I saw the tonic menu.

My other big complaint is that Sophia Lamb never left an impression on me. Andrew Ryan was a presence. Frank Fontaine was a presence. Lamb? If it weren't for finding so many audio diaries, and her voice over the city's intercom now and then, I would have forgotten about her entirely. When I beat the game, I couldn't believe that was it. Even the events leading up to the ending were underwhelming. Finding out that I'd taken care of all the Little Sisters had me asking myself if this was really all there was to the game. It seemed like I only played for 8 or 10 hours! I also didn't care for the game's progression- how you can't go back to areas you'd been to previously. If you're a completist and want all the weapon upgrades, you better search every inch of the map before heading to the next area...not that you'll be needing them. The last thing that got me was how the graphics somehow don't look as good this time. I can't put my finger on it. If it's the textures, character models or maybe the animations, but there's something off in the visual department here.

I still had fun playing the game, to an extent, and it was the story between Delta and Eleanor that kept me going. Bioshock 2 is worth your time, mainly because it can be completed so quickly, and there are worse games out there. I didn't go into it with high expectations, though it might seem like it with how much I liked the first installment. It just seems like a slightly rushed sequel that didn't have as much heart put into it. Hopefully Bioshock Infinite gets things back on track. I'll just miss burning an enemy and having a Little Sister say, "Mmm! Marshmallows!".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 3, 2010
The first BIOSHOCK was a masterpiece; I'm not sure I've ever used that term to describe a video game before, but there you have it. Obviously, it was an impossible game to top, and so you have to go into BIOSHOCK 2 with your expectations somewhat lowered. That said, the storyline here is solid, if not as unique and engrossing as the original: you are a Big Daddy, searching for the girl (Eleanor) you were assigned to protect. Only problem is, ten years ago, you were supposedly killed; now that you've come to, your sanity (in fact, your life) depends on finding Eleanor and rescuing her from her actual mother, who has taken over rapture in Andrew Ryan's absence.

The graphics are amazing (especially the corrosion effect that happens later on, as well as the flooding and out-door scenes), and the game-play is quite fun. So why only the four stars? Well, the game has a few glitches. Bodies and loot disappear quite frequently; this is something I've always despised about video games, but I understand its necessity. However, in the BIOSHOCK universe, you need bodies in order to survive. So the fact that they disappear is, suffice it to say, disappointing. Then there is the annoying soundtrack; whereas the first BIOSHOCK used music and sound to great effect, the second is filled with your typical escalating "terror" soundtrack (which often occurs even when you aren't under attack; it gets quite confusing). There's also the repetition of landscapes, and the obvious consistency errors from the first game: your Little Sister refers to you as "father" instead of "Mr. B," and quite frankly, the Big Daddies in the first game (and this one) are far harder to kill than you are. Another error, one that's relatively minor but comes into play often, is the slowness of response: when you switch weapons or plasmids, there's a delay before you can use them that I don't remember from the first game. This delay is also evident in the menus and vending machines. And again, thanks to the PS3 controller, you'll often end up ducking when you don't want to; they really need to reconfigure the controls for their games.

There are a few saving graces, however, which make this game a must-play. We get even more moral choices: not only do you decide between sparing and harvesting the Little Sisters, but you also get to choose if certain villainous figures live or die. Then there's the fun of wielding a weapon and a plasmid at the same time. Plus, we've got a few new plasmids (plus a couple old standbys), and the new weapons are rather exciting: the hack gun comes in handy, and the spear gun is one of the more brutal video game weapons I've seen. Plus, there are the Big Sisters, which are indeed quite hard to kill (think a Big Daddy, but fast and agile; they can--and will--climb walls and break windows to kill you). There's plenty of loot to be had (again, when it doesn't disappear on you), and plenty of extra rooms and annals to check out as you explore. The gist is, BIOSHOCK 2 isn't as good as the first game, but we knew that going into it; however, it's not as good a game as it should be on its own. It's still worth your time, however, especially if you're a fan of the first. I'd definitely play the first BIOSHOCK before this one, for all you newbies out there. BIOSHOCK 2 is like an unnecessary addition: yeah, it's fun and worthwhile, but only if you've played the first game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2010
I came to BioShock a bit late. I bought a PS3 about half a year ago, and it was pretty much the first game I bought. I didn't play it right away, though, partially because I'd heard it was fairly long. (One estimate put it at about 20 hours.) I eventually got around to it a couple months ago, though, and I came away feeling it was one of the best games I've ever played. (I'd be tempted to put it at the top of the list were it not for the sheer bad@$$ery that is Batman: Arkham Asylum.) By this time, of course, the sequel was just about to come out. I must admit that I felt a bit torn; I knew I'd welcome a return to the world of Rapture, but given how self-contained the first game is, I didn't see how 2K could come up with a satisfying expansion to the story.

When I first started playing BioShock 2, I felt as though I'd been right in doubting it would live up to the original. The good news, however, was that it was just as beautifully designed and fun to play. In fact, there were some changes to the gameplay that made it a bit more fun. First, this entry's hacking mini-game is far less frustrating. I did enjoy BioShock's hacking to a point, but considering the fact that I hacked pretty much everything that could be hacked, it got old as the game wore on. (I was also reluctant to use the auto-hack tools, since you could carry so few.) Also, the remote and auto-hack darts were a great addition.

Second, the fact that both plasmids and weapons are available at once is the type of decision that seems like it should have been a no-brainer the first time around.

Third, the plasmid/tonic changes greatly improved the experience as well. One of my favorite things about both games is the ability to hack security bots. There's just something about having NPCs who will fight by your side that I've always loved. In fact it was this element that had me feeling more affection for the bots than I did for the Little Sisters. When he discovered that one of the new tonics allows you to repair and name the bots, my roommate joked that I must have had some hand in the development. (Along similar lines, I also loved the mini-turrets. I only wished I could carry more than four at a time.)

The funny thing was that, as I continued playing, I found myself being sucked in by the story more and more. It still doesn't quite live up to the story of the first BioShock, but it definitely justifies its existence. (Mild SPOILER: One of the elements that wowed me the most was a portion of a level in which you actually play as a Little Sister. While you don't actually get to do a whole lot, I was amazed by how the makers chose to represent the environment as seen through her eyes. The place essentially looks like a big, bright costume ball, and the corpses do indeed look angelic and peaceful.) Apart from seeing new areas of Rapture, you also get to hear new backstory. Obviously, it often feels as though they had to shoehorn it into what already existed, but that didn't really bother me so much.

When all is said and done, I still prefer the first BioShock to the sequel, but BioShock 2 ends up being so much more than just the sum of its parts, making it nearly as great. I'll be interested to see if 2K makes another at some point in the future. I certainly wouldn't be adverse to that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2010
I just beat bioshock 2 not too long ago. Overall I would say it was a great game. To put it simply, its like the first, only its more action oriented. Seeing as how you play a big daddy, you get heavy weapons and stronger plasmids. The story feels a bit more personal this time around. Each big daddy is assigned a little sister for life. Yours is taken away from you by her real mother (who is a real nut), and you have to get her back to safety. Thats the story in a nutshell.

One complaint I have about the game, is that sometimes, the buttons would not respond either right away, or not at all. I could still movie, but when I pressed X in a menu, I would have to press it a few more times to get something to work. Also, there was a moment where I could not shoot my plasmids. Just my plasmids, not my guns. Pressing the start button and going back to the game fixed this. Then again, this only happened ONCE the whole time I played. Although, when you're buying items from vending machines, it takes a while for the game to respond to your button presses when you buy something.

It's minor, the first one didn't have this problem. I'm sure they will release a patch soon to fix it, so its nothing to even worry about.

Multiplayer is great. Its the standard stuff, with a bioshock theme. You get the plasmids, a big daddy suit as one of the power ups, and it actually has a story. It takes place before the first game, during the riots and everybody tearing down rapture on new years 1959 (you may remember the one room you went into in the first bioshock, and some audio dairies describing the event).

The graphics are amazing too, although some parts do look a bit funny. I was looking at a dead body from one angle, and the edges and textures on it were jagged an flat. I moved to the other side of the body and it was back to normal. I have not seen the 360 or PC version so I don't know if its just the ps3 that has this issue. Once again, its minor, and I can see a patch coming out to fix it.

All the issues I've listed are just me nip picking. Its an amazing game, and if you're a fan of FPS's, great stories, and in depth worlds, by all means, pick this up.
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