In your first trip to Rapture, Bioshock managed to scare you, immerse you and shock you all at once. It truly revolutionized first person gaming and managed to bring some fresh, nail-biting gameplay. Now the time has come to step into Rapture once again, but will it be the same this time round? Splice yourself up and we’ll find out…
As most of you will already know, Bioshock 2 takes place ten years after the events of the first installment. This time round players will no longer take on the role of an underpowered, wrench carrying character; but rather step into the heavy boots of a beloved Big Daddy (yes, that’s the massive armored man you used to run like hell from). Without giving too much away from this incredible story, your Big Daddy is not too pleased with the new tyrant of Rapture and is on a mission to set things right. We know what we have just said might sound boring, but the story is far from that. It carries a lot of depth, has great progression and is even more immersing than that of the first game.
Bioshock 2 remains true to its first-person genre but this time there are some highly welcomed additions to the gameplay. Gone are the days where one had to constantly switch back and forth between plasmids and gun; players now have the ability to duel wield both of these gaming phenomena. So its plasmids on the left hand, guns on the right, and players can make use of both simultaneously, so, bring on the baddies. There are also a number of sequences that allow you to navigate outside of the city through the water, which add a new and serene dimension to Rapture that players never saw before. That being said, the gameplay can get highly intense and very addictive.
With the exception of two new plasmids, the others remain the same in their lower level form. However, once upgraded fully, they offer some newly added abilities, such as the ability to mix the cyclone plasmid with incinerate to create a fire-powered whirlwind.
Hacking has now taken a more user-friendly turn; with a totally new way of hacking as well as being able to hack from a distance. It’s a lot more fun to use and it won’t leave you with that wrist gnawing process the original game’s hacking introduced.
The adam gathering system has also been changed slightly, allowing the player to adopt a little sister and send her around to extract adam before rescuing or harvesting her. Be prepared though because the minute she begins you will be attacked by an onslaught of splicers, leaving you to defend the little sister. Chilling stuff.
The weapons in Bioshock 2 are not that different from its predecessor and guns such as the shotgun and machine gun have been given a more modern look (considering ten years have passed). There is however some new ammo types as well as some cool weapon upgrades. The trusty wrench is no more and your drill arm will be your new buddy for some hardcore melee attacks.
Rapture has always been a beautiful city from the word go and Bioshock 2 manages to add some more variation to its beauty with some upgraded visuals. It is not a massive step-up on the first, but it does appear much more solid with some nice attention to detail. The highly stylized visuals really work well and manage to capture the dark yet wonderful atmosphere that Bioshock 2 has to offer. Character models have been improved and are well designed with fluid movements and animations. There are also some new and uglier splicers as well as a new BIG family member.
New to Bioshock 2 is the online multiplayer feature, which allows you and ten other friends (or randoms) to participate in a number of different game modes. Set on New Year’s eve 1959, it has a different look at feel from the single player campaign, which is a good thing as it gives some variation and a different experience to the multiplayer. The death match and team deathmatch equivalents have a big daddy suit that will spawn randomly in the game, and the first lucky-bugger to get it will be dealing some serious damage to all the unlucky players. There is also a game mode where players will either defend of capture the little sister, and another mode where you will have to go hunting for Adam. While it may not be the most ground-breaking of online games, it certainly is good fun to play and will be a nice bonus for fans who cannot seem to get enough.
It’s hard not to get sucked into the fascinating culture that Rapture has to offer. Bioshock 2 has managed to deliver great gameplay mechanics, highly stylized visuals, decent online multiplayer and sublime story that will keep you glued right until the end. If you liked the first, you’ll love the second. If you missed out on the first, this is sure to impress.
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