After wrapping up the original Bioshock, I found myself drooling for more. I had escaped rapture, freed the little sisters, done all the good I could imagine, and successfully made my way to the surface. A little over two years later 2K Games is sending you back as a new character to unravel the mysteries of Sophia Lamb, and her twisted groups intent in the underwater colony.
Playing a mysterious character known only as "Subject Delta", You begin your quest to find Eleanor, your little sister (not relative but gathering, harvesting, creep machine) who has been abducted by Sophia Lamb. With the assistance of another mysterious man by radio you begin your exploration of another huge portion of the underwater world.
The second my copy arrived for review I anxiously ripped open the package to receive what I consider to be another must have collector's edition, (right along side the Assassin's Creed 2 piece.) Packaged with a 180 gram vinyl LP soundtrack for Bioshock 1, the cd soundtrack for Bioshock 2, a 164 page hard-bound art book with director commentary, and 3 advertisement posters from the game, wrapped in a stylish box, the cost of 99.99 was to me a great value. If you were intuitive enough to pre-order one, or tenacious enough to find one, I doubt you will be disappointed in the items you received, I know I'm not.
The game looks and feels akin to it's predecessor in every way. The same dark, rusted passageways, the man you've never met radioing directions to you. And you slowly upgrading yourself piece by piece to become strong enough to take on the splicer's that await. As an alpha big daddy Delta can still fight other big daddy's to claim their little sister's. However, you can now adopt them, and use them to gather adam, increasing your own personal upgrade power, and then choose to harvest them, or release them. Based on your decision to harvest the sisters or save them, you are privy to multiple endings. Sophia Lamb is of course not ok with you adopting and harvesting or saving little sisters, so as you do so you will be attacked by her minions the big sisters. They are stronger, faster, and much harder to kill than the big daddy's and offer a unique challenge to the game,such as…"do I really want to fight the big daddy to gather, only then to fight a big sister?"
Although Bioshock 2 does not feel much different from the first, playing as a big daddy does give it quite different way of going about combat, and the new weapons are also quite enjoyable. Whether using your trusty shotgun, or .50 cal used in the first game, or moving onto newer weapons like the spear gun, and rivet gun. Your slower movements, and increased melee damage with your drill (as well as your ability to drill through splicer's and other opponents) show you the power of the big daddy.
The joy in Bioshock 2 is not found in what they changed from the last though. Really the story is the major pull of the game. Any redundancy that I felt, was quickly erased by the interesting environments and characters. From Grace Hollaway, to the demented Alexander Gill, I found myself excited to meet new characters and discover what they contributed to the new underwater nightmare. Guiding delta through the seedy underbelly of the world, or guiding him across the ocean floor to the next airlock, didn't feel cumbersome at all as the story unraveled before me. The game continues to offer unexpected and well written twists, similar to the WYK ending of the first game.
Another portion of the game that really stands out is the music. The soundtrack to the game is beautifully mesmerizing. From the stylized load screen music to the great symphonic score, I feel the music from this game compete's with the soundtrack from Modern Warfare 2. Blend the well composed music with terrifying splicers, and a beautiful underwater world, and you get the greatest overall immersion that a game can create. If anything can be said of the Bioshock team, they know how to place you in a world, that not only terrifies you, it enthralls you.
Take the great twisting story, huge pile of plasmids, 2 endings, and 12 hour play-through time for my first go, I'd say this game is a must have for the gamer's collection. And a must play for anyone who likes a tough game with a great story. Putting the element's that 2K has delivered together, and package it with a well developed multi-player with that same Rapture twist, and we get yet another solid entry into the q1 gaming list. It's hard not to be a fan boy of a series designed so well.
- Fabulously composed soundtrack, and well placed '50s style score.
- Once again the beautiful art deco world stunned me every step of the way
- Spoiler Alert: Playing as a little sister
- Pretty much the entire game
- I really do wish the game was longer, but even the 12 hours for my hard play-through was a blast.
- There were times that I found the splicer's so difficult that I felt less like a big daddy, and more like the regular Joe from part one.
- The new research system, it didn't make quite as much sense as the first, and was harder to understand if I was doing well with the camera.
- Graphics : 9
- Controls: 9
- Audio : 10