The lights are on
BioShock 2 is undeniably a great game, and while it does not change its formula too much from the first game, I found that it could deliver even more fun than the original with its well thought out plasmids and weapons, and while the story isn’t as captivating, it still is great. The graphics retain their own special “mood” to them, but some of the wall textures are simply horrible and mushy. The ability to backtrack is gone, meaning the game will be even shorter from the first, and not only because there are so few levels. Your relationship with the little sisters has changed, because you are now a big daddy, in fact, one of the first. This means that you are not as heavily armored, but can use plasmids and different weapons, which are notably improved from the first game, as well as the research. Choice making expands to more than just harvesting or rescuing little sisters, but only on a few occasions. The big sisters were a good idea, though the encounters ended up being short and lackluster, and in the end took not too big of a role in the story. In overall, it improves in many areas from the first while not altering the game style too much (which makes it no less fun), but suffers from short duration and story that is good and tense, but when it comes down to it offers nothing close to the original’s twists. Good thing that 2K Marin gave us DLC’s like the Protector Trials and Minerva’s Den.
I have heard complaints that while you play as a big daddy, it doesn’t feel like it because you are too weak and the game plays exactly like the first. However, you are an Alpha series, and that is why you are not as powerful as the big daddies you see protecting the little sisters. As to the game being similar to the first, I did not mind it as it improves its gameplay with plasmids that actually change as you upgrade them and weapons that I found myself juggling between much more than just the machine gun, shotgun and launcher like I did in the first. Improvement makes up for innovation in this sequel. For example, instead of Electro Bolt 2 and 3 being stronger versions of the first, they actually unlock new abilities such as chain lightning and electrical storm. But nonetheless, I still did not feel like a big daddy, even an alpha one. Not that that makes the experience any less fun.
Research is completely changed, being film instead of pictures now. The way it works is that you get points for how you attack an enemy when you’re filming him. However, I felt that I was done with research much earlier than in the first, and that’s probably because the game is notably shorter. This new research style an excellent way to encourage trying out new plasmids and weapons, and the reason I fell in love with Insect Swarm and used Telekinesis offensively.
Choice making outside saving or harvesting Little Sisters is limited to very few instances, and those choices take little effect until the end of the game. However, the Little Sister relationship now actually allows you to form a temporary bond with a Little Sister, if you choose to adopt it instead of harvesting it on the spot. It can gather for you up to 2 times, and at any point you can take it to a vent to rescuing it, which yields no ADAM, or harvesting it, giving you ADAM and a troubled conscience. Now Big Sisters show up after you deal with all the Little Sisters in a level, but they lose their marvel after the few first encounters. The new big daddy did not pose much more of a threat than the other types, as it can be taken down easily using Telekinesis and Security Command to turn his own weaponry against him.
Hacking is changed, and now no longer interrupts the game but rather now you have to stop a needle on a blue or green zone as you play, and landing on a red zone results in an alarm. You can dedicate some tonic slots to hacking tonics to keep it easy throughout the game and extra bonuses, but it all depends on what playstyle you prefer. I thought this was a welcome change, especially with the addition of the hack tool, wihch allows you to hack at long distances with hack darts.
The story gives the feeling that something big is going to happen, and you expect a twist like the one in the original BioShock, but while the ending is emotional, it is not mind-blowing like the originals. The game provides the most fun I’ve had in a single player game for its short duration, but I would not call it a masterpiece like the first BioShock. It is still one of my highest recommendations, but both it and its predecessor will suffer from virtually no replayability outside DLC’s.
No one has commented on this article.