BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) Review by got pez

BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) achievements
2,416
(1,400)

BioShock 2 (Xbox 360)

4.2 from 11572 votes

There are 68 BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) achievements (50 without DLC) worth 2,416 (1,400)

137,890 tracked gamers have this game, 6,696 have completed it (4.86%)

AuthorReview
got pez
99,069 (66,765)
got pez
TA Score for this game: 1,589
Posted on 06 July 10 at 03:56
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It is hard to live up to expectations. After the massive critical and commercial success of Bioshock, the developers at 2k Marin were given the task of filling the immense shoes of one of the best games of this generation. Fans reluctantly awaited a return to Rapture in what seemed to be a doomed cash-in on Bioshock's success. After all, the story in Bioshock was very tight and didn't give any cliffhangers that needed to be tied up with a sequel. But in the grand scheme of things, can Bioshock 2 win over gamers everywhere?

In Bioshock 2, players assume the role of Subject Delta, the first Big Daddy to be successfully bonded to a Little Sister. Without spoiling anything, the game focuses on Subject Delta searching for his lost Little Sister in a crumbling Rapture. The developers have crafted a surprisingly great story here. It expands on the history of Rapture while still giving the player a goal that feels important. Once again, most of the backstory is presented through the numerous audio diaries hidden throughout Rapture and the tales told are compelling. One especially interesting series of diaries details the actions of a man from the surface venturing down into the underwater city to find his lost daughter. I didn't think it was possible to continue the tale of Rapture without tarnishing the first game's legacy. Indeed, Bioshock 2's story lives up to the franchise name.

2k Marin's decision put players in the massive diving suit isn't a surprising one; the brutal guardians of Rapture proved to be very popular among fans of the first game. The outcome of this decision can be called both a success and a failure. Subject Delta has all the tools you saw Big Daddies using in the first game, including the drill, rivet gun, proximity grenades etc. What the game fails to do is to provide the feeling of being an untouchable badass that a Big Daddy should be. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought that I was playing through Bioshock 2 as the first game's protagonist with a drill. Subject Delta uses plasmids and takes just as much damage from regular splicers as Jack did in Bioshock 1. I understand that the developers didn't want to eliminate difficulty from the game by making the player a god amongst men, but why play as a Big Daddy if the only way you know it is by the characters constantly referring to you as one? It would have been a much better solution to make Subject Delta more resilient and eliminate the vita-chamber system in favor of checkpoints.

Further changes to the Bioshock formula were made for the sequel. Notably, the research camera from the first game is replaced with a video camera. The player receives research points for defeating enemies in "creative fashions" while on film. This system of receiving upgrades is actually even more tedious. Taking out research altogether seems to be the best option at this point if Bioshock 3 is ever developed. Hacking has also been changed from the pipe puzzles of the first game to a timing based quick time event. This is a much more effective system that doesn't disrupt the pacing of the game. The outcome of hacking is still the same; bots fight on your side and turrets fire at your enemies. I applaud 2k Marin for undoubtedly improving on one of Bioshock's main weaknesses. The last change made to Bioshock's gameplay formula is the addition of adopting Little Sisters. Instead of saving the sisters immediately after defeating a Big Daddy, Subject Delta can adopt the girl as his own to gather ADAM. What follows is a small quest to find corpses with ADAM and then protect the Little Sister as she extracts it. While this is an interesting premise to expand upon (you briefly did the same thing in Bioshock 1), it gets repetitive and annoying. Otherwise, you can harvest the sister and gain more ADAM in a shorter amount of time. The moral choice system is still very much black and white and it is aggravating that in order to get the good ending while still having enough ADAM to survive, you have to endure numerous boring protection missions.

On the visual side of things, Bioshock 2 is a somewhat attractive game. It looks very similar to Bioshock 1 due to it being built on the same Unreal engine. Rapture's 1950's art style and architecture is still great to look at but the water effects that stunned players in 2007 fail to impress in 2010. Splicers still look like plastic dolls due to their ridiculously shiny skin. Level design is far less diverse and memorable than Bioshock 1 and the underwater sections, while very pretty, are otherwise useless. The fact that the visuals can still be fun to look at after 3 years is a testament to how great the art style of Bioshock is. In any other setting, these graphics would fare far worse.

In Bioshock's 1950's esque world, record players everywhere are playing old jazz and show tunes. The atmosphere benefits from this reinforcement of Rapture's theme but it is nothing Bioshock veterans have never heard before. Voice acting is still top notch and the sound effects are solid. The game stands as a good sounding experience that won't offend many audiophiles.

A common complaint from the first game was the lack of a multiplayer component. It pains me to know that gamers nowadays can't accept a single player game on its own merits and need to be able to shoot their buddies to justify a price tag. The outcome of this is Bioshock 2's online component. Now you can shoot your friends and send a swarm of angry bees on them with a wave of your hand. The multiplayer stands in the middle ground of online shooters. It had too much effort put into it to be considered a tacked on rush job but it also isn't an essential component of the game like Halo. Balancing issues stop these deathmatches from ever being considered a true online juggernaut. The two best weapons in the game (by a long shot) are unlocked at the latest levels. Good luck getting kills early on with your six shooter when a veteran player can kill you in one shot at any range with his elephant gun. Plasmids and hacking are all dumbed down to fit the experience and they work fine for what they are. What really makes the online a mess is the introduction of a Big Daddy suit in matches. Players camp in front of the Big Daddy suit spawns in hopes of becoming the insanely bulky and unbalanced brute. Many times, the team who gets the Big Daddy suit for the longest amount of time wins the match. This element further lowers an online mode from being good to merely being decent.

Overall, Bioshock 2 is a successful sequel to a game that really didn't need one. Although the Big Daddy premise doesn't live up to its potential, the game still has the same Bioshock atmosphere and gameplay that we have all grown to know and love. The game is worth the price of admission with a 10 hour (give or take a few) single player experience packaged with a decent online portion. Welcome back to Rapture, folks.

Jayngo Nice review! I feel the same way that you do. There was really no need for a second game and there was definitely no need for a multiplayer mode. While the story behind the multiplayer mode made sense, I truly feel this shortened the length of the single player campaign. I remember Bioshock taking me around 20 hrs, maybe longer. This game was done in well under 15 hrs for me.

Sadly, we are in a society that now has to exploit everything. From making sequels when they are really not needed and adding multiplayer/dlc to every game that comes out now........
Posted by Jayngo on 06 Jul 10 at 17:00