reviews\ Feb 6, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Bioshock 2 - PC - Review

Taking place 10 years after the events of the original game, Bioshock 2 brings players to a very different Rapture. While the place seems familiar, there have been some pretty big changes to the landscape. Under the control of Sophia Lamb, the underwater city has seen some changes in both the denizens of Rapture and its appearance. After the fall of Andrew Ryan, the citizens of the underwater city have gained an almost religious zeal for their new leader. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be brought down, which is where you come in. As a Big Daddy prototype model, you are awakened in the midst of turmoil with the desire to find your Little Sister, whom you’ve been imprinted with. However, things grow a bit more complicated and you find yourself in a situation of changing the power structure within the city.

Bioshock 2 also introduces some new enemy types to the mix. There are the new brute splicers, who are big, angry enemies that charge you down, and the biggest enemy addition, the Big Sister. The Big Sisters are Big Daddies in overdrive, capable of jumping around the room while pelting you with attacks from both weapons and plasmids. Big Sisters are tough and require a lot of effort to take down, as well as some strategy to keep from being overcome by their constant barrage of plasmid attacks and gunfire.

The ADAM harvesting model has been changed quite a bit from the previous Bioshock game and now is more in-depth. The first game simply had you choosing whether to harvest or save the Little Sister after you defeated her Big Daddy protector. However, in the sequel, you’ll take a more active role with them. You must use them to find and harvest ADAM from dead bodies. They’ll be able to seek them out corpses rich with ADAM and then extract it, but as they’re doing so, they’ll be under assault from splicers. Therefore, you must make sure to keep them protected until they can finish, which means setting up traps to keep the splicers from getting to you and your Little Sister.

The weapons in Bioshock 2 are pretty different from those in the first game, as well. There are some new plasmids, and the weaponry that your character will be using in the game will be associated with being a Big Daddy. You’ll have a rivet gun, an arm drill, a machine gun, a shotgun, and plenty of mines to use, which come in handy when setting traps for splicer ambushes during harvest sequences.

Controls have been cleaned up, and feel a lot more intuitive than they did in the first game. While switching between plasmids and weapons in the original game wasn’t necessarily a chore, it still didn’t feel quite as comfortable as it could have. The sequel does a great job of letting you effectively juggle between plasmids and weapons, which each one accessible whenever you want, without having to toggle between the two. As in the first game, you’ll be able to upgrade your weaponry and plasmids at special vending machines.

Additionally, the hacking mini-game has been changed. Gone is the Pipe Dream-style mini-game whenever you want to hack something. The new system is one where you have to line up a cursor and hit the button at just the right time, otherwise you’d risk getting hurt or setting off an alarm. This unfolds in real-time, meaning that enemies will still be attacking as you attempt your hack, adding to the intensity.

Another big feature in Bioshock 2 is the addition of multiplayer. The game features a story-driven online experience with a completely different story and setting from the single-player campaign, putting you in the middle of the civil war that split the city up prior to the events in the first Bioshock. The game modes are pretty interesting, with variations on old stand-bys like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch, but done in Bioshock’s token style. You’ll have access to a full range of plasmids and weapons, as well as other elements like hackable turrets and Big Daddy suits. The game has a customization system for your character as well, letting you level up as you play, unlocking more perks and abilities for your character.

Graphically, Bioshock 2 looks pretty good. While technically not too terribly improved from its already great looking predecessor, it does feature some great art direction and fantastic level design. The game boasts a great attention to details as well, which really helps bring the new areas to life throughout your campaign.

The music and sound effects are also fantastic. The soundtrack features an atmospheric score complemented by songs from the era, just as in the first game. The sound effects also make for some terrifying ambience and sound great. The voice acting is also nicely done.

Bioshock 2 is an excellent sequel that does its predecessor well by featuring some deep story elements that add to the lore of Rapture, great gameplay, and a solid multiplayer element.

Review Scoring Details for Bioshock 2

Gameplay: 9.0
Playing as a Big Daddy is both comfortable and intuitive in this sequel. There have been several small changes, like tweaks made to the hacking system and cleaned up controls that make using weapons and plasmids a breeze. The great level of atmosphere from the original game has returned, really immersing you into the world of Rapture and keeping the intensity constant throughout. While it won’t dazzle you the same way the original game did, Bioshock 2 is still not an experience to be missed.

Graphics: 9.0
Graphically, the game is a very good looking game, featuring some phenomenal art direction and design elements and tons of little details to once again bring Rapture to life. While the game doesn’t look too far removed from the original at least technically, it’s still a fine looking title.

Sound: 9.0
The game’s sound effects are great, lending a great element to the ambience and giving Rapture a unique feel. The music also sounds very good, with score elements as well as classic music from the era.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 9.0
The new story elements are revealed through in the gameplay as well as through the recorded tapes that you can discover and listen to as you play, and it is a very deep and compelling tale. The game’s plot elements are just as engaging as the first one.

Multiplayer: 9.0
The game’s new multiplayer suite is a great addition, adding new story elements without compromising the overall experience. The modes are variations on some tried and true modes from other games, like Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and so on, but feel unique and different within Bioshock’s game mechanics. Additionally, the ability to customize and level up your character is a nice touch.

Overall: 9.0
Bioshock 2 is an atmospheric, immersive game that does more than just hold a candle to its beloved predecessor. The campaign is engaging, the multiplayer is great, and the new gameplay elements are excellent. Don’t miss out on this one.


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