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Bioshock 2 Falls Short February 20, 2010

Posted by maxfreund in General, PS3, Xbox 360.
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Before I begin, I want to warn people there will be a few spoilers in this post, so if you want to enter Bioshock 2 without any knowledge, be warned that this post may ruin some things for you.

So I grabbed my new, shiny copy of Bioshock 2 on launch day, with hopes that it would build upon my favorite game of this generation, Bioshock. And while I thoroughly enjoyed returning to Rapture, and seeing the world through Subject Delta’s eyes, I couldn’t help but feel that the game was missing something.

While the chance to play as a Big Daddy may entice some, the return to Rapture simply lacks the thrill of the first game.

For those who do not know, Bioshock 2 is set roughly 10 years after the first game ended, and Rapture is under the rule of Sophia Lamb, a community oriented ruler who was a fierce rival of Andrew Ryan. The story circulates around Eleanor Lamb, Sophia’s daughter who was once your little sister (you play as the first Big Daddy). The game takes you on a wild goose chase through many environments, and culminates with you finding Eleanor and Dr. Lamb. I will leave the gritty details out for those who have not gotten that far.

As I sit here, I find it hard to write more, because I am conflicted. Bioshock 2 is by no means a bad game. The combat is very similar to the first game, but improves upon it by provides you with the ability to duel wield plasmids and weapons. The world is as beautifully creepy as ever, but is just stale.

Bioshock 1 was a complete story. It ended with the death of the two major villains, and with the rescuing of the little sisters. There was no opening for a direct sequel, and yet Bioshock 2 found a way to weasel in. They leaned heavily upon Augustus Sinclair, the one character mentioned in the first game but not shown, and that felt forced. I also kept asking myself through Bioshock 2, why wasn’t Lamb ever talked about in the first game if she was such an important figure during the fall of Rapture. The true answer is she was not conceived during the first game’s production, but when playing Bioshock 2, it just felt illogical that someone of her importance in the world would be completely missing from the first game.

I guess what I am saying is the second Bioshock tries to occupy a space that isn’t there. It is like when a child tries to fit his square peg into the circle hole. Bioshock 2, if it must be created, was a prequel peg, yet was forced into the sequel slot. The fall of Rapture would have made a compelling story. Getting to see the city before it crumbled, and experience the civil war from within, and not through left over audio logs would have been exhilarating, but instead 2K took the safe route of “more of the same”.

And alas that is what Bioshock 2 is. It is the same scrumptious birthday cake, just after it has sat out on the counter for a few days. It still tastes good, brings back good memories, but is a bit crusty around the edges. You keep eating it, but you know you have had better. If you played Bioshock 1 and loved it and thought it was the greatest piece of gaming in this console generation and want to keep that taste in your mouth, then I cannot blame you for skipping Bioshock 2. But if you want to return to the world of Rapture and get a little bit more, experience a few exciting encounters, and see more of the world you love, then by all means grab Bioshock 2.

Its not bad. I in fact would go as far as saying its a good shooter, it just isn’t the Bioshock 2 I wanted.

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Comments»

1. Russell Freund - February 24, 2010

What you wanted was Bioshock 0. Who knows, might still happen.

Check out slate.com. There’s a thoughtful review of it there. Pretty positive, but also makes a good comment about game sequels generally.


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