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BioShock 2 Review (PS3)

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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BioShock 2 Box Art (PS3)

BioShock 2 (PS3)

© Take Two

The Bottom Line

BioShock 2 is a very good time. Unfortunately, it feels a whole lot like the same game. If you yearn to relive Rapture, this is the game for you. If you were looking for BioShock to inject itself with adam and evolve, well... you might want to hold out for BioShock 3.
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Pros

  • BioShock 2 takes place in one of the most memorable environments in video-gamedom
  • You get to play as a Big Daddy
  • The multiplayer is truly original and a lot of fun

Cons

  • BioShock 2 takes place in the same, memorable environments as the original BioShock
  • You have to play as the world's weakest Big Daddy

Description

  • Publisher: Take Two
  • ESRB Rating: Mature (very)
  • Genre: Strategic First Person Shooter
  • Platforms: Xbox 360, PC, PS3

Guide Review - BioShock 2 Review (PS3)

BioShock 2, much like it's predecessor takes place in the beautiful underwater dystopia of Rapture. Andrew Ryan's (Ayn Rand's brother perhaps?) libertarian paradise is overrun with Splicers (baddies who are hopped up on genetic modifications, and slightly crazy), and now they are united under the psycho-socialist reign of the power hungry therapist Sofia Lamb.

Unlike the last time you get to play as a Big Daddy, you remember the absurdly armored, diving suit clad baddies who guarded the little sisters in the last game? Yeah you get to play one of those. Excited? Don't be.

The problem with BioShock 2 is that it is obsessed with the original BioShock. Yes, Big Daddies are awesome, but they are far more powerful than anything else in the game. So to counteract this, you play as one of the original Big Daddies, an Alpha series. Yes, this ties you deep into the story, but it also acts as an excuse to make you weaker than the Big Daddies of yore, in fact, it makes you almost as weak as many of the splicers.

Sure, this makes some sort of sense story-wise, but this is why game designers need to remember they are making games, and not movies. The Alpha you play as, a Big Daddy named Delta, has to use tonics, plasmids, and scavenge all over the place for food, eve, ammo, etc. So really, you aren't a Big Daddy at all, you're the same weak character, but you're called a Big Daddy. And that's not as narrative-ly simple as it sounds.

You see, running, scavenging, hiding, these make sense when you are a weakling, but when you are Charles Atlas the logic fades. Playing a tiny guy who overcomes is an adventure, but playing the weakened version of Achilles? Not so much.

And so there's the rub, BioShock 2 tries to cram a new experience into BioShock 1. The world looks the same, but instead of fighting Ryan's libertarian legacy, you fight Sofia's socialist one. Even the moral decisions, such as whether or not to kill little sisters, make less sense as you can use them to harvest absurd amounts of adam and "cure" them.

Of course the slow, deliberate pace is as fun as ever, upgrading and purchasing is a blast, and the world is full of curiosities... unfortunately if you've played the original BioShock, you've seen most of them before.

Bottom line, BioShock 2 feels a whole lot like it could have been an expansion pack, or downloadable content. If you haven't played the original, I'd honestly suggest skipping it and starting here. BioShock 2 feels like the better game, but not by much. If you loved the first, well, that's a tougher call.

The story based online multiplayer is a clever, fun addition. But, you've seen most of the tricks already. So, if you want more of the same, this is your game. The plus side is that you are getting more excellence, which is more than most games can say.

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