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on June 23, 2010
I did not buy this game on the day of its release, as so many people were complaining Bioshock series lost its magic in Bioshock 2. The Rapture city doesn't feel as novel anymore. But now that I have played through with it TWICE, I have to say these folks were dead wrong. Yes, the city, some of the villians and gameplay are similar, but that is why this game is labeled Bioshock 2 and not a new IP. Either way below are the pros and cons for the Bioshock2

PROS:

-CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES: One of the aspects, gamers loved about the original is how you have to make choices in terms of litter sister throughout the game and how it affects the ending. In this one, they have taken a step further and improved this choice system. Not only for little sisters, but also for some other things you will have to make choices. This choices will affect the story (dialogues, cut scenes and ending) to a great degree and add decent replayability to the single player mode.

-MYSTERIOUS STORY: The story is suspenseful. It is not as good as the first one, but is still pretty good and will really drive you forward in the game. If you played Bioshock 1, it is certainly a plus; however, certainly not a requirement. Even if you did not play the original, you will be able to understand most of it.

-AMAZING UNDERWATER VISUAL ANG GRAPHICS: The city looks as stunning if not better as Bioshock 1. Better yet in this one you get to play UNDERWATER. While it may not sound as thrilling it truly adds great deal of feeling to the gameplay experience.

-PLAYING AS BIG DADDY: Initially you will be somewhat confused, but this gets to be real fun. You can still use plasmids as in the original, but you get access to heavy duty weapons as you are playing as big daddy. I won't spoil much for you but YOU WILL LOVE THE SPEAR GUN :)

-NEW WEAPONS, PLASMIDS and TONICS: In this game, you get access to all the cool plasmids from the original, but you also get to use some new mysterious plasmids and tonics. Expecially, if you decide to go for good ending, you will get some really cool plasmids. As for weapons, you will just love the big guns. Trust me on it.

-NEW ENEMIES and BOSSES: I don't want to spoil it so I will just say big sisters will make you wet your pants.

-FOUR ALTERNATE ENDINGS: Again refer to choices section

-EPIC MULTIPLAYER: This game offers a very unique multiplayer. It was a wonderful break from games like Modern Warfare 2. The modes such as capture the little sisters can be fun. Just wait till you play as a Big Daddy. The power you get will truly be intoxicating. Oh did I mention you can use very different plasmids than single player in multiplayer mode.

My only complain for this one was instead of focusing on multiplayer, they should have just focused on single player and made it longer. Don't get me wrong , it will still take you a while to go through it (8-12hrs depending on how much you decide to collect).

In summary, to me, Bioshock 2 lived up to the standards. It was enjoyable and has great replay value.
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on February 9, 2010
Bioshock, when it came out 2 years ago, completely reinvented the way I'd played first person shooters (I had never played System Shock 2). Diving into the sea, into a world eerily familiar to mid-20th century America was one of the most blindingly original, involving experiences I ever had with a controller. My main problem with Bioshock 2 is that this feeling of originality never returns. Despite what the designers do, this new main villain Sofia Lamb just doesn't strike the same terror at Andrew Ryan did and fighting splicers and other big daddies from the other perspective- that of a big daddy--just isn't as exciting or new as i would expect. The game feels so much like more of the same, and for that I give it fun factor of 5, because it builds on a brilliant foundation, but overall i feel its lack of originality compared to the original earns it only 4.

As an addendum-- I can find no issue technically with the game- I think it's running on the same Unreal engine as the first, and I believe that was pretty maxed out in the first one so there was likely not room for substantial improvements. The new plasmids aren't really as cool as the ones in the original game either, as they seem more practical (maybe not a complaint, but being able to go vertical just isn't as sweet as shooting bees at a guy). Graphics were good, sound was just as immersive as Bioshock 1, technically I really didn't have any problems with the game. I stand by the 5 I give it for fun, but I can only really give it a 4 because it just doesn't invoke that same sense of ingenuity I got in the first game.
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on February 25, 2010
I was a bit apprehensive about getting this game - I knew for fact that I'd get it, since I loved the original so much, but I was worried that the absence of Ken Levine would be too obvious on its story. However, I kinda ignored the voice in the back of my head, and decided to get the game anyway. When the 'more of the same' reviews started coming in, I wasn't disappointed; I loved the original game enough not to mind going through a very similar the game again (I played through Bioshock two or three times; each time finding something new in the game, or the story).

The beginning of Bioshock 2 seemed promising. It's certainly impossible to top the beginning of BS1 (the whole segment up to the exit from the bathysphere is classic), but there was a lot of promise in the presentation of the new antagonist of the game, including the shrines you find here and there, and the occasional communist drivel she spouts. Once you reach near the end, however, you begin to realize that there's really not much of a twist in terms of a plot. The ending(s) is predictable, at best. In the grand scheme of things, Lamb is barely touched upon; enough to make you wonder why she was chosen as an antagonist. Many of the characters you meet in the game seem transient; the last conflict with Sinclair is almost laughable in its brevity and insignificance. In short, the story of Bioshock 2 doesn't hold a candle to that of the first game.

On to gameplay.

The Big Sisters, which seemed to hold so much promise before the game's release are nothing but another enemy - one almost impossible to beat without dying - at least early in the game on Medium and Hard. No real story is presented to explain their existence, short of a silly blurb about them being Little Sisters in a specialized suit.

The underwater levels promised early on are nothing but brief stretches of linear path, and not deserving much mention.

The Big Daddy drill is an interesting weapon in the new arsenal, but it lacks in two serious aspects: a) the drill dash is not available until later on in the game, and this move is often crucial for survival, and b) unlike the wrench, it requires "ammunition", which is often scarce to come by, especially on higher difficulty levels. You are pretty much guaranteed to drain the drill's ammo in any serious fight; therefore, you cannot depend on it in any medium- to large-scale fights.

The variety of new weapons offered in the game is great, but you'll soon learn that you really need the drill, the shotgun, and the rocket launcher. The rivet gun becomes useless almost from the beginning - even headshots hardly scathe the opponents.

The music! One of the best parts of Bioshock is the music, as it sets the mood perfectly. In Bioshock 2, music is barely heard in five or six locations throughout the game. I have heard more old-timey music waiting for the game to load, than I have throughout the entire game; making me wonder why 2K even bothered licensing the songs.

That said, the game does make some good gameplay changes, including the spear gun, which is a fun weapon reminiscent of the one in Half-Life 2. Hacking is better, if not much more realistic, as now you need to hack as you play. While the underwater moments are all-too-brief, there are a few scenes which are beautiful and deserving a lot more attention, than that given. Another excellent addition was the view of the world through the eyes of a Little Sister - if you ever wondered why they refer to the splicers as 'angels', this part in the game makes the reason all-too clear.

All said, I'm far more disappointed by the lack of a solid story in this game, than I am by the elements of gameplay. Living up to the original is not an easy task, and while I didn't expect the same level of innovation from this one, what I did get, I expected - a sequel that desperately cried out for the attention of the author of the original.
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on February 1, 2013
Bioshock is a fantastic game, on that you will get no argument from me. Over time though, it has been elevated in the eyes of its fans from a fantastic game, to one of the greatest games ever, and that is where poor Bioshock 2's troubles began. From the second Bioshock 2 was announced, the fans of the first game cried foul, saying that the first game was perfect the way it was, and there was no need for a second game; a sentiment that I agree with. The problem though, is that when said sequel came out, many people had already decided to hate this game, no matter what. Had 2k released a hollow experience of a game in a shameless attempt at a cash grab, then those sentiments would be spot on. Thankfully that is not the case.

Bioshock 2 is an amazing game, period. It is beautiful to behold, wonderfully written and acted, well staged, and a joy to play. Many people say the story in this game is so much weaker than the firsts, but those people seem to have conveniently forgotten how terrible Bioshock's ending was. All the twists, turns, and amazing acting culminated in a needlessly difficult escort mission, and an uninspired, superfluous boss fight. I am not bashing the first game; I am providing context for my comparison to Bioshock 2.

In Bioshock 2, you are a Prototype big daddy, on a mission to rescue your little sister from Lamb, the insane cult leader who has taken over rapture in Ryan's absence. The story is solid throughout, but it is at the end where is truly shines. I won't spoil it for you, but going for the Savior achievement really shows you why Bioshock 2's ending is superior to the first.

The controls and combat mechanics in Bioshock 2 are unquestionably superior those of its predecessor. Instead of having to cumbersomely switch between your weapons and Plasmids, you can dual wield, opening up a very satisfying array of strategic options. Throw out a cyclone trap in front of a charging enemy, and when they are shot into the air, pin them to the wall with your harpoon gun. The telekinesis ability from the first game was an interesting idea, but in Bioshock 2 its potential is finally realized. At its highest level, it allows you to pick splicers up bodily and fling them at their friends, further opening up what you can do in combat. The weapons and abilities in this game are varied, imaginative, and most importantly a total blast to play with.

Another point of contention with this game was the fact that it had online multiplayer "shoehorned" in. Now, had the multiplayer truly been tacked on, and uninspired, I would wholeheartedly agree. Thankfully, that is not the case. The multiplayer in Bioshock 2 is well executed and a lot of fun to play. Unique to multiplayer plasmid abilities can give you the edge over your opponent, and there are few things as satisfying as becoming a Big Daddy mid match, and wreaking havoc on your foes. In fact, the only thing more satisfying is being on the opposite side of that equation, and being the one to slay the great beast yourself.

Before I move onto the achievements, I would like to address the DLC available for Bioshock 2. For the most part, I am not a fan of DLC. Usually it is just an extra level or a couple of new abilities. Bioshock 2 however, goes above and beyond in the DLC department. The two multiplayer expanisons aren't really worth mentioning, and fall into the category of DLC that I dislike. Be warned that the Rapture Metro pack, while offering new levels, and rewards, was incredibly poorly executed, and not worth your time or hard earned dollar. What is worth a buy however are the Protector Trials, and Minerva's Den.

The Protector trials sees you having to protect a little sister from waves of splicers. How is this different from the escort mission that you dislike so much in the first game? Glad you asked. Bioshock 2's greatly expanded weapon and plasmid list makes these trials less a chore, and more an exciting challenge. I very much enjoyed the protector trials, but to be fair, I enjoyed protecting my little sister in the main game as well. If you don't find having to set up ingenious traps, and fighting off waves of bad guys to be enjoyable, than you know the Protector trials aren't for you. It is the next piece of DLC however, that influences my thinking when I say that Bioshock 2 is superior to the first.

Minerva's Den is my favorite part of this game. It is not a set of trials, it isn't multiplayer downloads, and it doesn't just offer a few new outfits. It is a microcosm of everything that made the first game great, combined with the gameplay mechanics that make the second game so much fun to play. In this stand alone story you play as a totally different character in a completely new section of Rapture. You are tasked with finding the computer that makes everything in the underwater city run. The story of Minerva's Den brings ties up loose ends left from the first and second game, while simultaneously telling a story, that in my opinion, is superior even to the first. The "twist" in the first game is legendary, and I acknowledge that, but Minerva's den has an equally surprising twist, and has a satisfying ending to boot. The new plasmid and weapon you get in Minerva's den have been called underwhelming by some, but I enjoyed them.

The achievements in Bioshock 2 range from unmissable story achievements, multiplayer progress, and satisfying skill based achievements. Thankfully, none of the single player achievements are controller breakingly difficult, and they also don't take away from the flow of the story. As stated before, I suggest going for the "savior" achievement on one of your playthroughs, just because, in my opinion, it delivers the most satisfying ending.

Bioshock 2, by itself, is an incredible game. When combined with the enjoyable Protector trials, it is even better. Minerva's Den, for me, as a whole was a more rewarding and enjoyable gaming experiecne than offered in both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, and its inclusion in Bioshock 2 makes this game an absolute must buy.
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on November 30, 2010
Returning to Rapture was refreshing, at first. Bioshock 2 is a good game but not a good sequel. If you are looking for a game that will continue what you experienced in the first game look no further because there isn't one. Without giving any spoilers Bioshock 2 is just a story about the induced relationship between the protectors (big daddies) and little sisters (this is discovered in the very beginning). Splicers have become more advanced, they are both stronger and a bit smarter. Using the drill as a weapon is amazing and absolutely a plus side. There are many other great aspects in the game but I don't want to ruin it. The game gets a little slow in the middle and it is significantly shorter than the first installation but don't let that discourage you, the game has some great gameplay!
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on April 19, 2016
My original review was taken down for some reason, so I'll review it again. My fiance has been waiting on this game for a long time, and I finally ordered it so he could show it to me. He was so thrilled and the disc was in great condition. Couldn't be happier.
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on April 22, 2011
First, the other reviews are completely right, this is "more of the same". I can't remember the last time a sequel was SOOO similar to its predecessor, giving Bioshock 2 more of a expansion-pack feel then a new game. As far as expansion packs go, this would rank up there among the best! I've gotta say I'm glad I waited to purchase, because not only is the current price well worth-it, it had been a while since I had played the original, making this a lot more fresh then for those who had recently played the original.

If you've played Bioshock 1, you know the mechanics, the gameplay, etc. Its all the same here, just a new story-line, a few different weapons, and a few different foes. But, there is quite a bit of gameplay, making for several more hours worth of enjoyment.

For those that are new to Bioshock, the setting takes place under the sea, in a colony founded by a ideological capitalist purist Andrew Ryan, who's sole dream was to create a capitalist utopia free from any central government, and all the rules, regulations, and taxes that come with. It was a folly effort, as most citizens became bent on a type of "drug" called plasmids, which give you, in a sense, super powers. Scientists became mad with their new-found freedoms, and explored far beyond the ethical-world, altering, among other things, little girls called "little sisters" who suck lifeforce known as "eve" from the dead. They are protected by large guardians in old fashioned aqua-suits, called "big daddies".

In this sequel, you are a big-daddy, meaning you posses the monsterous strength and endurance of one of these creatures. Making you even more special, you even have the ability to use plasmids, seemingly making you the baddest of the bad. But, in this new world, you are no longer the top of the food chain. Splicers have become smarter, better equiped, and chalk-full of plasmids making them both crazy and powerful. Even more damaging are the "big sisters", that's right, you, but in a far more agile and lethal form. In this storyline, the main antagonist is a Sofia Lamb, a psychologist who was brought down by Andrew Ryan for citizens who were having issues coping to a life under the sea. Sofia Lamb used her powers of persusasion to gain control of rapture through a cult known as the "family".

I'll spare you the rest of the storyline, as too many have spoiled it already making reading reviews a dangerous pursuit, but the storyline was pretty good, although far from really memorable or revolutionary, but good enough to not distract from gameplay.

Visually, I think the Bioshock games are beautful and amazing. It combines a mixture of gothic and cartoonish feel, add in some '50s charm and a few neon/red-light district looking atmospheres, and you have a completely fresh and original game style.

Gameplay of bioshock (for those new to the series) is a first-person shooter, but more along the lines of old Doom style, where accuracy is a little less important than games such as Call of Duty or even Halo, and creatures are little more in your face in this game. This makes for more of a "button mashing" experience then some other shooters, which I personally enjoy of this game. You will constantly be side stepping and jumping as you use your weapons, as most weapons will take almost a full clip to bring down an enemy, which means they'll charge right at you as you unload on them. You also get to use the powers (plasmids), meaning you can shoot electricity from your hands to stun opponents, set them on fire, etc. Combining the right plasmid with the right gun is crucial for gameplay, and switching between weapons is easy, pausing the game momentarily if you bring up the weapon/plasmid wheels, or a quick-press switches to the next in line.

New (as far as I know) to this game is a multiplayer experience. I wouldn't say its noteworthy, particularly compared to any of the Call of Duty or Battlefield games, but its entertaining, and as my current only shooter for Xbox 360 (I've been a PS3 up until now), it makes for a pretty entertaining experience, and a little less stressful then some of the other mutltiplayer shooters.

The only real cons I can say about the game are the lack of originality/storyline compared to the first Bioshock, and the environment is far from glitch free (save often!)

All in all, I'm happy with this purchase and had a blast playing it, but I could see how at the original retail price many feel ripped off, as this looks almost ver-batim to Bioshock 1.
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on December 11, 2015
This game got a lot of flak, and I don't know why.

Everyone complained about how awful it was to play as a Big Daddy, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the story was solid and the gameplay just built off the first.
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on November 23, 2012
I gave up the hope of 'not dying' into the second phase of this game. I also gave up the hope for an intricate story line about that time too. This is a very superficial story which would have rocked the gaming world in, say, 2003, but I can only laud it as an adequate distraction today. The likability of it rests on the novel environment and bizarrely thorough retro-style. I'll admit, I don't get see a lot of games with phonographs. But once a player gets over the initial thrill of turning someone into a block of ice and then exploding them with a drill that was surgically attached to your left arm, the innovation ends. It also lacks a sense of humor. I don't know why this was such an issue for me, but it was. For something with such a macabre style, I expected the cleverness to manifest in a good joke. Nada.

On the pro side, the map feature and hints stopped me from becoming frustrated and helped me keep my self respect in front of the little sister characters by not making me run in a mad dash circle for two hours looking for a certain trigger event. I appreciate this. The mini games are winnable and less frustrating then those elsewhere and the animations showing the gene changes are cool.

Nearly anyone will enjoy a play-through of Bioshock 1 and 2, but the reason it's available so cheaply is that there is zero replay value in it. You will see the same teddy bears, the same big sisters, and hear the same noises over and over again with one play, why do it again?
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on April 4, 2014
I fell in love with BioShock and just had to have more. I read some pretty critical reviews of the game and almost decided to pass on it but I went ahead anyways and I am so glad I did. Instead of playing as a human male (Bioshock) you are one of the creatures you had fought against. This in no way takes away from the game play. The weapons, plasmids, tonics, work very much like the original. The graphics were good and game play was fast and at times intense. If you enjoyed the original you're going to enjoy this one just as much or more.
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