BioShock 2 : Review

As I sit here looking at my notes and eating my breakfast, I’m reminded that I don’t get to do this often. No, I’m not talking about guzzling down an early morning meal, I’m talking about writing a review for game that has only been released only very recently. It’s a cost cutting exercise, and one which I personally believe is pretty damn sensible. Why pay out £40 for a game which you will be able to buy for £15 in 6 months time? Having said this, BioShock 2 was a very very much appreciated Valentines day gift from my wife. She’s the best, ain’t she?

BioShock 2 places you in the centre of the madness of Rapture yet again, but this time in the place of a Big Daddy. Yes, that’s right folks, those huge brutes that you tiptoed past in the first game? This time, that’s you! Of course this means that as well as having to kill some of your fellow brethren, you are also going to have new enemies to face. The first of these are the brute splicers, whose attacks take on a similar form to those of the Big Daddy. The second is the new, and much anticipated, Big Sister. Though initially these enemies are made out to be tough little urchins, if you’re confident fighting a Big Daddy, you should have no trouble taking on either of these.

Initially I was quite concerned how it would feel, being behind the wheel of a Big Daddy, though you get a glimpse of it in the first game, I wondered how it would transcend into being your regular persona. Would the controls feel lumpy? Would you even be able to run? My fears were slain during the first 10-15 minutes of gameplay, as I realised that 2K had taken a great deal of effort to make you feel agile, but at the same time, freakin massive. Jumping from a chair onto the floor results in a resounding thump and with it, I might add, a fair amount of satisfaction. I was equally pleased at how the ability to fire plasmids, and weaponry had manifested itself in the controls.

The one aspect I did enjoy in the second game, much more than the first, was the encouragement of strategy. Once a little sister has been prised from her Big Daddy, you have a new option to go around and gather adam from corpses strewn across the battlefield. This makes for an interesting spin on the game, for as soon as you place your little darling down to harvest some festering splicer, you are almost immediately attacked by a hoard of live splicers, accompanied by the odd brute splicer, as you progress.

Armed with trap rivets, proximity mines, electric cables and mini turrets, it’s quite fun to plan the harvest, using your environment to it’s advantage. Of course, if the corpse happens to lie in the sight of a bad-hacked-good security turret, who are you to argue with a little extra help on tap. In point of fact these little skirmishes were probably my favourite part of the game.

It seems 2K have really listened to the gamers whilst creating this gem of a sequel, though the game feel considerably shorter, my wife and I found ourselves often exclaiming, “Oh, they’ve fixed that, that’s good” Unfortunately one aspect which I sorely miss from the original, was the singing vending machines, one in particular which used to shout at you in Mexican as you finished making your purchase.

Though the number of improvements are numerous, I couldn’t help but feel there were one or two points in the game which lacked a certain finer detail. My first was the occasional glimpse of highly pixelated views, often through water, which jarred me from my gaming mindset quite badly. The second was, during a particularly heavy firefight, a definite stuttering of sound, as explosions raged and bullets flew.

The game brings a whole new aspect to the city of Rapture this time, with the addition of the multiplayer content. Alas though, at the time of writing this review, a) I am waiting on a train to arrive, and b) have not had a chance to play any multiplayer rounds yet, though the Little Sister CTF missions do sound quite fun.

In conclusion, the game definitely deserves it’s 18 certificate, the violence is very bloody at times, as can be expected when drilling through someone with what looks like a cross between a traffic cone and an electric drill. The story is once again beautifully told, in an environment that reeks of former beauty and completeness. If you enjoyed the first game, you should be pleased with the sequel, though personally I would question whether spending the full amount is going to satisfy you, if you don’t intent to play multiplayer.

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