BioShock 2 Xbox 360 Review

It’s been almost three years since we first set foot in Rapture, the undersea city that has seen better days, and a lot has happened in that time. Whilst other games have been dropping sequels faster than a chav can collect an ASBO, the good folks over at 2K Games have been taking their time preparing Rapture for a second visit. The thing is, everything was all wrapped-up at the end of the first game, and with no loose ends was there any real need for a sequel?

That’s never stopped anyone before, but it’s nice to see that they have taken their time over things rather than rushing out something within a year. Despite the comparatively long development time though the gameplay remains very close to the original. This time around the story is set ten years after the first instalment and you play the part of Delta, a prototype Big Daddy, and the very first to be bonded with a Little Sister. But you were bonded with a very special Little Sister, Eleanor, daughter of scientist Doctor Lamb, who takes exception and orders you to kill yourself. This all happens prior to the events of the first game, when you next wake, ten years have passed and a lot has changed. The original Little Sisters have all grown up, but your bond with Eleanor is still intact. It turns out her mother has big plans for her, and has taken over Rapture to further her plans, in the meantime she has brought in a new generation of Little Sisters, and the last generation are now Big Sisters, and all are under her control, along with the usual crowd of Big Daddies. Needless to say it is up to you to save the day, traverse Rapture, and free Eleanor from the clutches of her deranged mother, and that’s all I’m saying about the story, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.

As I mentioned earlier the gameplay is unchanged for the most part, but the new story has brought some small updates which do make some subtle changes to the overall feel of the game. First off is that you are playing as a Big Daddy, which brings some extra weaponry to your fingertips, their trademark drill, and the rivet gun. All the usual weapons make a return, along with multiple ammo types, but can now all be used in melee attacks too, which along with the drill makes for much better close quarter combat.

You aren’t just any old Big Daddy though, you are a bit quicker on your feet than the others, you also have a couple more advantages over them too. First off are the plasmids, yes, despite being a Big Daddy, you too can wield mutant superpowers, which effectively gives you a weapon in each hand. All the previous plasmids are back; fire, ice, lightning and telekinesis, plus plenty of others, are available to you, once you find them, but now they can be upgraded, making for more powerful attacks. Being a special Big Daddy you are also able to adopt any Little Sister rather than just harvesting or rescuing them, this gives you the means to get extra Adam to upgrade or buy plasmids and gene tonics with, very handy indeed.

Whilst the game’s protagonist has had some upgrades from the previous title there’s also some new bad guys to face off against with your new and improved weaponry. Splicers are back, and more plentiful than ever, including a new type, the brute splicer, which despite their large size are pretty quick on their feet, and almost as strong as a Big Daddy. The Big Daddies are the same as they’ve always been, but you’ll also find the Big Sisters dropping in after you’ve killed a couple of Big Daddies.

The Big Sisters are pretty much the polar opposite of Big Daddies, where they were slow and lumbering Big Sisters are fast and agile, jumping all over the place, so you’ll need to adopt a different style of play to combat them. In fact you’ll have to change your approach to the whole game, as between the increased splicer activity and new foes the game is a bit more combat-orientated than it’s predecessor, but other than that things are much the same as before.

So, with the single player game very similar to the first game, albeit a little lacking in impact due to it being your second trip to Rapture, the real big difference is the inclusion of a multiplayer component. The general consensus in gaming circles is that this was an unnecessary addition, and judging by the amount of people that appear to be playing it online it’s not one that has been widely embraced. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it, it’s a perfectly competent online first person shooter, with versions of the standard deathmatch, capture the flag, domination game types, as well as the Adam Grab mode, where you have to hold on to a Little Sister as long as possible. The multiplayer is just not anything special when you compare it to the likes of Halo or Call of Duty. It’s not bad fun for a bit, but it’s nothing more than a diversion from the single player campaign, and really feels like nothing more than a tacked-on extra to appease the fans of online shooters.

The decaying splendour of Rapture loses some of its impact due it being your second visit there, but the gameplay is still rock solid. If you enjoyed the first game or like your first-person shooters to have a strong single player campaign then you can’t go wrong with BioShock 2.

8/10

by

Version tested: Xbox 360, PS3

Developer: 2K Marin

Publisher: 2K Games

Genre: First-Person Shooter

Players: 1-10