The lights are on
(Secrets exposed from the original BioShock, play that first then read this! You've been warned...)
If you’ve read my review of BioShock you can probably guess how excited I was for BioShock 2. If you haven’t read my review of BioShock, here's the link. I’ll wait…
Well? Wasn’t that both enlightening and well written? Did you already email the link to all of your friends? Just kidding...
Anyhoo, it's time to go back under the sea! Back to the horror! Back to... Rapture...
return to Rapture begins as you wake up… in the shoes of a Big Daddy!
Oh ho, the irony! But you aren’t just any Big Daddy, you are the Big
Daddy: known only as Delta, you are one of the original trials and the
first that was successfully bonded to a Little Sister. And not just any
Little Sister, but the Little Sister: Eleanor Lamb, daughter of Sophia
Lamb, the de facto leader of Rapture since Andrew Ryan’s untimely
demise. Eleanor appears before you, a slightly out of focus vision of an
adolescent girl, asking for your help in setting her free. Ha! As if
you had a choice; after all you are a Big Daddy! So you venture forth in
search of your ward...
Rapture is just as you
remember it… an unadulterated mess. Ahhhhh, memories:^). Ten years have
passed, and that’s another decade’s worth of neglect and corrosion by
sea water. This time around you get to visit some new locales in the
crumbling undersea metropolis like an amusement park dedicated to Andrew
Ryan himeslf or the slums of Pauper’s Drop. As with the original (boy, I
can tell I’m going to be using that phrase a lot!) the graphics and
sound are instrumental in creating that foreboding atmosphere that gives
Rapture such personality. Rapture is still Rapture and it hasn't lost
any of its luster (that’s figurative luster, not literal luster… Rapture
ran out of literal luster ages ago…).
Along the same theme, the gameplay is almost identical to BioShock
with a couple of noticeable changes. You still have all the basic
plasmids and weapons (along with a new drill attachment, just like a
Bouncer Big Daddy!) and they all work pretty much the same way. But
since you play as a Big Daddy, well, there are certain responsibilities
you need to take on... like protecting the Little Sisters of Rapture,
In BioShock, the relationship
between the Big Daddies and Little Sisters was well explored (especially
if you took the time to find all the audio diaries) and the trials at
the end where you had to escort the Little Sister was harrowing to say
the least. In BioShock 2 they took that basic premise and made it the basis of the sequel.
Delta, you can adopt Little Sisters after offing their previous
guardians. Those are the familiar Bouncers and Rosies along with a new
Big Daddy called the Rumbler who sports a rocket pack. He’s an annoying
***, just so you know. It’s quite poignant to hear a Little Sister
moaning the loss her Mr. Bubbles until you waddle up. Her eyes actually
light up as she asks, "Are you gonna take care of me now?" Seeing as
these infected little princesses actually have glowing eyes, it’s not
much of a stretch, but it does evoke some emotion. You really do feel a
protective responsibility (at least I did).
adopting a Little Sister you can find corpses for them to harvest. Of
course, this serves as ringing the dinner bell as it were for the
splicers. So before you have your happy helper get out her needle,
you'll need to be prepared. You still have trap bolts for use with your
crossbow, but now you have even more options for mining the hell out of
the surrounding area. Trap rivets can be laid across any flat surface.
Put them at alternating heights down a corridor or a flight of stairs
and the splicers will get nailed as they charge in. The cyclone trap
plasmid is back, but now you can upgrade it so it is capable of being
charged by an elemental plasmid. The English version is you can create
mini stationary tornadoes that are on fire. Fun! Once you’ve set your
traps and mines, prompt your Little Sister to start harvesting, and keep
and eye out for any that get through!
For the most part I really enjoyed this aspect of BioShock 2.
It was a clever idea in the first game, and they fleshed it out well.
That said, it can get a little tedious after you’ve done it for the
tenth time. For a while it's fun, effectively mining a whole area with
multiple access points. But that's time consuming, and afterwards you
have to go around and collect all your unused ordinance. Not a major
gripe, but it does wear a bit towards the end.
you have saved (or harvested) a couple of Little Sisters you will find
you have something of a problem… namely that some of the Little Sisters
from the first game have grown up, and it turns out they are just as
protective of the younger generation as the Big Daddies, if not more so!
"Big Sister doesn’t want you to play with me!" is not a good thing to
hear. You know you’re in for a tough fight. While the Big Daddies are
hulking brutes, Big Sisters are fast, agile, and capable of using your
same arsenal of plasmids against you. They also have an oversized
syringe attached to their arm that they will try and stab you with.
Unpleasant, to say the least. You’ll hear them screaming as they
approach, giving you scant time to set up a defensive perimeter… then
they are there! To be honest I can’t really describe any of the battles
because they happen so quickly, but they are certainly challanging and
As you quest to aid Eleanor, battling your
way through Big Daddies and Big Sisters alike, you’ll end up following
the instructions of one Augustus Sinclair. He helps you along much as
Atlas did in the original, speaking in your ear suggesting where to go
and what to do. But after the Atlas debacle how can you possibly trust
Sinclair? As the story progresses you learn about Sinclair and his
motivations for helping you. Are they pure? Is he genuine? Well, I’m not
going to tell you, so there. There are some startling revelations that
come to light as it progresses and it draws you in, making you want to
know more. While it doesn’t pack the punch of the original BioShock, it’s narrative is a fitting continuation to the saga of Rapture. But the reason I bring it up is that BioShock 2
introduces several unique situations where you get to choose the fate
of a character central to the plot. These naturally effect the outcome
(and the ending you’ll see) so it’s not just down to whether or not you
choose to harvest or save the Little Sisters this time around.
I felt that these moments were a bit hollow. I won’t spoil too much,
but a couple of the main NPC’s are so incorrigible it’s not really
possible to let them live unless you are playing as a complete ***.
That said, if you’re murdering a bunch of little girls for drugs, you
might well feel right at home with them.
Ultimately, BioShock 2
feels like an old pair of slippers, comfortable and reliable… but old
slippers none the less. The same core gameplay is back. It’s fun to play
and cleverly designed. Rapture once again becomes a character in of its
self, taking center stage. It’s the definition of decay, both literally
and figuratively. This undersea dysfunctional utopia hosts another
clever story, one filled with moral pitfalls and relentless action.
Ultimately though, BioShock 2 falls short as many sequels do,
simply because you can’t get the brilliance of the original out of your
head. As a result, it was pretty much preordained to disappoint (at
least disappoint me). Don’t let this dissuade you from playing it
though. BioShock 2 is great game in it’s own right, and a worthy sequel. I mean, hello?!? It’s freakin' Rapture for God’s sake! It’s awesome!
Score = 9.25 / 10
P.S. Want some new slippers? Go watch the teaser trailer and ten minute gameplay segment from BioShock Infinite, set to come out in 2012… oh… my…God, I’m not sure I can wait that long!
P.P.S. Want to read more reviews? Go to Game Over... continue?!
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