If you’ve read my Bioshock review, you already know that I like Bioshock. If you read my preview for Bioshock 2, then you know I’m pretty psyched for the sequel. Well, the sequel’s out now, so did it live up to my expectations? There is some good, some bad, and some blah, but let’s save that for another day. Oh heck, why not, let’s do it now. On to Rapture!
Something Old, Something New
As you may remember, the world of Bioshock takes place in the doomed underwater city of Rapture. You got to see a great deal of it in the first game, so you’d think the second game is just gonna ramp up the amount of new areas, right? Uh, there are some new places, but to be honest, the first game sort of has this one beat in terms of atmosphere. Why? Because the first one completely set up a new world. This one just continues on, so there isn’t as much mystery to everything. It’s still great, but the effect of the city has somewhat diminished in a repeat visit.
You get to play as the very first Big Daddy here with all that goes along with that, such as a drill, the ability to walk underwater (which is completely under-utilized), and the choice to either harvest Little Sisters for Adam like in the first game or adopt them as your own Little Sister for a while, a new concept. It’s a good idea, but babysitting the Little Sisters for a while can get somewhat repetitive and, well, dull. Plus, the thought of a drill weapon is great, but it isn’t nearly as fun as it sounded.
Regardless of these faults, there is a lot of good to the game. It starts out slow but the later half hits hard and sweet, a good combo. This is an FPS, but the focus isn’t so much on reactionary speed and reflexes so much as just experiencing the world. Even if it doesn’t seem as vivid as the first outing, Bioshock 2 is still fantastic in the story department.
There are a lot of new Plasmids to play with and thankfully a completely new hacking system that happily replaces the monotonous hacking minigame from the first. There are also boss battles with the Big Sister, though it isn’t set up as the seemingly random encounters the pre-game hype lead on. These are scripted story events, but that doesn’t matter: Big Sisters are a welcome addition to Rapture.
The multiplayer, however, can just be done away with. No reason to play it after a single glance or two as it’s just like any other multiplayer shooter except with Bioshock as the backdrop. Forgettable, so just forget it and make this a purchase based on the single-player experience.
And it really is a purchase to make. I’m still big on the mythos behind Rapture, so any new storyline has high standing in my court. Go play this one after you play the first, at least as a rental title. Few other games are hitting this perfectly in the story department, so don’t miss out.