AVAILABLE ON: Macintosh, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
DEVELOPER(S): 2K Australia, 2K Marin, Digital Extremes, Feral Interactive (Macintosh), Arkane Studios (PlayStation 3), 2K Boston (PlayStation 3)
PUBLISHER(S): 2K Games, Feral Interactive (Macintosh)
RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2010 (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)
After the credit-less and moreover, the better ending of BioShock, I headed straight into BioShock 2 all pumped up, not fully aware what I was heading into. There were just a few things I knew about this game. First and foremost, BioShock fans didn't like it that much when it came out. The media was somewhat hard on it – if you can call dropping the average from 9's to 8's hard – and I knew series creator Ken Levine had hardly anything to do with the game. That's actually been the favourite peeve of a lot of my friends who are big fans of BioShock and BioShock Infinite – which Levine was actually writing at the time – and I thought that was just some elitist, superficial bullshit. Like it would matter if one guy was missing from the crew, when most of the guys on board worked on the previous game. As it turns out, it actually might have had an effect. BioShock 2 is a good game, a damn good game, with notable corrections in just the right spots on my account, but the story, for one, simply isn't as immersive and addictive as that of the previous game. In both the world of BioShock, and the tunnel vision world of FPS, that means a lot.
The story begins and rolls on for quite some time well enough, though – it's a mix of the moral decisions in BioShock and some genuine paternal care. It's New Year's Eve, 1958, the night of Frank Fontaine's failed coup against Rapture's big cheese Andrew Ryan – your character won't survive long enough to see it though. Like in so many games before, but never quite in this fashion, you die in the very beginning of the game – by your own hand. You star as the prototype Big Daddy called Subject Delta, assigned to a Little Sister by the name of Eleanor Lamb. Eleanor's ”mother”, scientist Sofia Lamb, appears to take back what is ”hers”, and uses mind control to make you shoot yourself in the temple. Ten years later, you are revived by a group of Little Sisters under Eleanor's command. During the last decade and Andrew Ryan's death in 1960, Sofia has taken over the whole of Rapture and gained mind control over most of its mutated inhabitants, forming ”the Family”, and also a personal guard for herself and Eleanor from other former Little Sisters, now dubbed the Big Sisters. Let nothing stand in your way when it comes to your girl – it's time to get Eleanor back.
|Travel the world. See the sights.|
Bloodbath in paradise
After dealing with the storyline, it's time to look at the core gameplay, and do it good, 'cause here's where BioShock 2 often shines brighter than its predecessor. First of all, to fix one of my personal problems with the first one, your both hands are always up at the same time, with your left hand always ready to dish out some Plasmid-enhanced punishment, and your right hand holding your basic melée weapon – the signature power drill – or a gun. Even the drill works on fuel, but if you run out of gas, you can still use the drill to bash your enemies' faces in, and even that does the job quite well on the more casual difficulty levels. The hacking minigame is removed from the way of a more simple, but also more rewarding QTE-based sequence, in which hitting a certain zone adds in a bonus for a successful hack – for example, hacked turrets gain more endurance points to withstand enemies' attacks, and vending machines drop free items in addition to the usual reduction of prices. Also, you don't have to throw yourself in harm's way in an attempt to hack an enemy device, you can do it from afar with a remote bug.
|Those guys really ain't the worst creepin' 'round no more. You|
should know. You're playing as one of 'em.
Dealing with all the Little Sisters in a single level, any way you see fit, has one serious consequence: the arrival of a Big Sister. A chick's got no chance, huh? Think again. Big Sisters are Big Daddy derivatives with amazing speed, amazing endurance and most of all, amazing talent to kill you dead. The biggest challenge concerning them, though, is having the proper amount of proper ammunition to fight them. Even researching their weaknesses with the good old camera – now a very obsolete model of a video camera – and discovering fire as their weakness, doesn't help you all that much. Even while in flames, they still won't let up from dishing some serious punishment on you. Besides that, they're quite easy, really. There are Vita-Chambers around just about every corner to keep you in some check, and after meeting your demise, you always get a decent window of time to seek out the nearest health station or vending machine and buy some medicine, or hack them to gain freebies if you run out of money.
BioShock 2 is one quintessential FPS game, which will surely keep veterans, newbies as well as born agains such as me happy as far as the core gameplay goes. Those who value the story and the dark, twisted secrets of the BioShock universe will probably not be quite as happy. The ending of the game, in particular, turns out just as bland and disappointing as most of the final act of the game itself.