Customer Review

67 of 88 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good if you like the gameplay; disappointing if you're after the story, February 25, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Bioshock 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
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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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 12, 2010 9:46:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2010 7:00:28 AM PDT
ShoppingGeek says:
"The Big Sisters [are] almost impossible to beat without dying."

The tradeoff with difficulty in any game is that if it does NOT seem overly tough on the first playthrough, it will seem too easy on subsequent playthroughs. BioShock 1 is waaaay too easy on replays, even on Hard. After a couple of playthroughs of B2, you'll probably never get killed by a Big Sister again. In fact, while replays are not quite as easy as B1, they are pretty dang easy. The variety of choices you can make in the game is primarily what makes B2 replays still fun.

"a) the drill dash is not available until later on in the game, and this move is often crucial for survival..."

My first playthrough, I don't think I ever used the Drill/Daddy Dash, so it can't be crucial for survival. My third playthrough, I used nothing but the Drill and plasmids for the entire game. It made the game more interesting, but obviously still survivable.

"(b) unlike the wrench, [the drill] requires 'ammunition', which is often scarce to come by, especially on higher difficulty levels."

The wrench is a melee weapon, period. The drill can also be used as a melee weapon, so as such it does not "require" ammunition. With fuel, the drill is no longer comparable to the wrench. It is a whole other weapon. I had to laugh when I saw that drill fuel is scarce. My first playthrough I rarely used the drill and it seems drill fuel is all the ammo I would run across.

"You are pretty much guaranteed to drain the drill's ammo in any serious fight;"

In my drill-only playthrough, from beginning to end I was able to kill Big Daddies just by turning on the drill and moving into them (a Daddy Dash is actually counter-productive). It is ridiculous how easy that is. For killing BDs, the drill, upgraded as you go, is better than any other weapon. Even when playing with all weapons, I *always* use the drill on BDs. No elaborate planning or set-up is required. See one, kill it. Easy. Oh, yeah -- and there was ALWAYS plenty of fuel around. In addition to what can be found, I had plenty of money for drill fuel because I didn't need any other ammo. And if you run out of fuel while killing a BD, you can freeze him with an Electro Bolt and whack him with the drill until you finish him.

* I should have noted that I always make the Drill my first two upgrades at the "Power To The People" machines, plus I make sure to get the Drill tonics as soon as I can.

Posted on Mar 26, 2010 8:52:48 AM PDT
I'd just like to make a brief point. You said the Big Sister's development is not touched on very much. This is actually untrue.

The story is littered around the city in the tapes, just like it was in the first game. I have played the game through 3 times so far, and STILL found new tapes, even on my third try. My first playthrough I missed a very large portion of the story.

Here is the story behind the big sisters, as explained by Gil Alexander in his various tapes. I suppose for anyone else, this may be a spoiler, so don't read on.

As the little sisters were growing up, they start to realise that they become less effective harvesters of Adam. The Adam they ingest makes them ferral and vicious as they become teenagers. Rather than disposing of them, they look for ways to use the older little sisters for other things. Naturally, as big daddies are becoming easier for the splicers to take down, one of their first thoughts is to transform the aging little sisters into a new kind of protecter. Using them as a kind of "police force" was Sofia Lamb's doing, but her reason's for that were mostly so that none of the Adam would be stolen from Eleanor.

I do agree with you though. The ending was very anti-climactic, and I was quite disappointed with it, but up until that point, I thought the story was very good. To me it felt more like the ending was tacked on.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2010 8:36:21 PM PDT
Duenor says:
Bioshock 2 represents, for me, a game that does what very few sequels manage to - to both capture the really fun aspects of the original, and yet develop both story and gameplay in an entirely new direction. It has all the elements of the original that made it so much fun - attention to detail, incredibly expansive customization (even more so, I would add - the gene banks become practically character swap-out stations... you can go from a melee-plasmid drill specialist to a sneaky-cloaked sniper to an intrepid hacker at whim), and a highly engaging storyline - but also made you feel like you were a very different character from that of the first BS. certainly, in this one, you are much more powerful - the addition of extra-heavy weaponry and charge-plasmids makes it so (think heat-seeking missiles and emperor palpatine-esque lightning blasts).

I played the game through on Hard from the get-go, and finished about twenty minutes ago. drill ammo was plentiful (although in the -very beginning it isn't enough at all, but that is intentional to force you to develop gun skills), each gun was useful (contrary to the OP, the rivet gun was very useful throughout the game - I don't know why he can't kill with headshots, but I did, and easily. I remember being able to HS kill even before I got headhunter tonic - and afterwards it was like the poor man's sniper weapon), and the plasmids become truly awe-inspiring as you upgrade them (I won't spoil it for you, but you really should see what Telekinesis 3 does).

The story line is also very good - I'd give it a 9/10 with BS1 10/10. Without giving anything away, one of the central questions presented to the player in the first is, "Is it acceptable to suffer the few for the good of the masses?" in this second one, the question is, "Is it acceptable to suffer even ONE for the good of the masses?"

this question develops the original theme to a very difficult end - and while I wish the developers had been able to develop that final question a bit more - they already do a very good job as it is.

one final note. a major theme in BS2 is possession. "My child" "My daughter" "My little girl" "My daddy" "My city" ... as you play through this game, think of what this questions about our own moral choices - and more pointedly, the choices which we make for those we consider "ours".

Posted on Apr 23, 2011 3:30:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2011 3:39:09 PM PDT
A says:
Good review, but I disagree with the rivet gun being useless - it's ridiculously strong once fully upgraded and when using the headhunter tonic. I also disagree with the "lack of a solid story."

Almost everyone I've talked to, including those who prefer BioShock 1's story, agree that the second has better pacing and stronger endings. BioShock 2 is more emotional and personal, while BioShock 1 is more mysterious and intriguing, since you've never seen Rapture before. I think it really depends on what kind of story you prefer. For me, BioShock 2's story impacted me far more than BioShock 1. BioShock 1 was great up until the twist, where it just completely fell apart and left a sour taste in my mouth. On the other hand, I couldn't stop thinking about BioShock 2 after I finished it, and to me that's a sign of a great game.

I made a thread discussing the stories of both games on the official forums, which has gotten many well thought-out and detailed responses. Definitely worth a read if you're interested in the Rapture universe. (Contains spoilers).

http://forums.2kgames.com/showthread.php?106933-Story-wise-which-game-do-you-prefer

Posted on May 8, 2013 6:38:36 PM PDT
myconius says:
i found when playing my first playthrough i was using the drill with the {RT}
but towards the end of the game i found myself using the {B} button to mele with the drill which didn't requite ammo at all.
on my second playthrough i went through the whole game just using the mele with the drill, barely used any fuel.
but you really have to zap the enemies with a plasmid first to get quicker kills.
using 'Adam' to purchase 'drill power' 'drill specialist' & 'eve saver' was key

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 2:29:49 PM PST
I thought the story in BioShock 2 was MUCH better than it's predecessor. What's cool about the story in BioShock 2 is that it has some emotional ties.

This is the first game I have come across on the Xbox 360 that doesn't have a patch. I assume the game is perfect then? No, it's not - a game can always use an update.
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