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Bioshock 2 Review

The original Bioshock is very dear to me. I will admit I had no desire to play it originally but when the demo came out, I gave it a shot and instantly fell in love with it. I played that demo over and over again. It did everything right. I hadn’t been this sold on a game since I played the God of War demo on PS2. I didn’t just want Bioshock now, I NEEDED Bioshock. So I immediately ran out and reserved the Collector’s Edition and when I got it, I was lost in Rapture for months. There was no place I’d rather be then what was left of Andrew Ryan’s underwater dream city.

Then a few years later, they announced a sequel. A sequel for Bioshock that was to be made by a different developer. Everything in my head screamed, “No. Bioshock doesn’t need a sequel.” but I was so sold on the original after playing the Demo, who said the same couldn’t happen for Bioshock 2?

Well, the first thing you do when you play Bioshock 2 is watch a video of Delta, the original Big Daddy prototype you play through out the game as, trounce a bunch of splicers with ease on New Year’s Eve 1959. So immediately you have this imprinted in your head. You are a giant metal behemoth meant to kick ass and take names so when the game attempts to be creepy which it tries a lot, it fails yet you are much weaker than the protagonist Jack from the first game. You take 3 shots and you’re begging for a first aid kit like a junkie wanting a fix. So the game definitely has no sense of balance in your character.

The story is pretty much a straight line that never deviates. You are looking for your assigned little sister. It never really deviates from this though and you never can get lost in this new less-interesting parts of Rapture because the game presents you with a map laying out pretty much how many levels there are as you have to go to each, do a task, then get on the train and go to the next. Rinse and Repeat. The game’s flat-line story progression never really goes much further as I said. You are looking for your little sister and her evil mother is trying to stop you but there isn’t anything else. There is a very cool part where you play as a Little Sister and see a pre-diaster Rapture through her eyes but this is only a 5 minute long segment. After this it’s back to the same old, same old. In 3 parts, you are given the choice to kill or spare certain people. I was playing as a good guy so I went with all the seemingly good options. I spared the first two, but then the one guy has pretty much been warped into a giant Mother Brain-esqe evil psycho. His pre-transformation diaries ask you to kill him so I did considering he’s been warped into a killer madman, but the game apparently felt I took THE BAD route by complying with his sane-self’s wish so i didn’t get the ultimate good ending apparently. And you don’t fight him like big bad ass boss fight either as there aren’t any boss fights either. You fight Big Sisters, and I’ll discuss them later , but when I say boss fight I mean mean unique villian boss fights like the memorable Dr. Stienmen fight from the first. And while I don’t want to spoil anything, the FINAL BOSS fight of you shooting 2 FUCKING GLASS PIPES so they break is INCREDIBLE. Seriously. That’s the end. You shoot 2 pipes and then cutscene. You spend like 6-8 hours playing this very boring, twist-free game and all you get in the end is TWO FREAKIN’ GLASS PIPES.

The original game had you fight the difficult Big Daddies in order to get to Little Sisters and then you’d either Harvest or Rescue them. Bioshock 2 takes this further after you fight the difficult Big Daddy and get a little sister you can take them to find bodies and make them gather extra ADAM for you while waves of Splicers try to attack them. This seems like an interesting mechanic but it gets very stale after a while and you’ll probably just go straight to the vents to rescue or harvest them. Then when you get all the Little Sisters in a level, you’ll have to fight the Big Sister. So that’s usually 3 Big Daddy Fights, 6 optional Splicer waves, and then a Big Sister fight. This means you’ll go through a ton of health kits and ammo. So expect to constantly be running back and forth and back and forth to vending machines instead of exploring.

All and All, Bioshock 2 would be a solid 7.0 game but in comparison to its predecessor it stinks up high hell. Argue with me that Bioshock 2 is just as good or even better, and I will look at you like you killed my family. Everything about Bioshock 2 is DUMBER than the first. The objectivist horror story and world of the first was handed to and completely lost on a much DUMBER development team. This game is filled with poor design choices. There are audio recordings of a very much early 60’s man from the surface who came down to Rapture to find his daughter that was kidnapped and finds her as a little sister. How come this wasn’t the plot of the game? It’s a million times more intriguing, still keeps the family tones the second one forces so much down your gullet, and provides a very relatable human character. Was the main reason we didn’t get this as our main plot because some stubborn buffoon at 2k Marin DEMAND that we have a so-so DRILL ARM weapon? That’s almost as stupid as making Dead Space 2 have “Modern Warfare 2-esqe action”.

Ugh. Bioshock didn’t need a sequel and it still doesn’t have one. This is the GODFATHER 3 of GAMING. There’s a multiplayer mode that’s alright but really sort of a “you play once then never play it again” sort of thing. Thanks a lot 2k Games. Way to turn Rapture into the franchise whore of Babylon.

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Steve Oteri

Steve is one of the founders and senior editors of ANTiFanboy.