My Time with Bioshock 2: Part 2
I think the first Bioshock game is one of the best FPS games of the last five years. The story was strong and the environment of the “Utopian” city of Rapture fascinated me in a way few video games have. The sequel, developed by 2K Marin and 2K Australia, had high expectations to live up to, and I’m sad to report that its story is not as strong as its predecessor. Fortunately, the plasmids and guns are much improved and make Bioshock 2 a joy to play, even without a strong story.
If you loved the first Bioshock, its sequel will make you feel right at home. You can still extrapolate a story of what happened in the room you’re by examining your surroundings. Although nothing in Bioshock 2 is as creepy as the surgery wing in Bioshock 1, it’s still pretty disturbing at times. I have to state that Rapture is one of the most lived-in cities I have ever visited in a game. Everything tells a story, and every room serves a function that doesn’t seem exaggerated or abnormal.
The enemies in Bioshock 2 range from standard splicers to the new “brute” splicers and “Big Sisters” (i won’t spoil anything here), which makes the combat feel much more interesting than in Bioshock 1. The weapons remain mostly the same, but the addition of a spear gun that you can pin splicers to the wall with means a lot of fun (the “rocket” spear? Priceless). Bioshock 2 also retains the weapon upgrade system of the first game, which will attach some old-looking machinery to your gun to boost its power or ammo. Upgrade the same weapon twice and a third, super powerful upgrade is unlocked. Unfortunately weapon upgrade stations are limited so you will have to choose wisely.
Plasmids are still awesome to use, and there aren’t too many new ones in Bioshock 2. The “hypnotize Big Daddy” plasmid has been changed to the “hypnotize” plasmid, allowing you to recruit any enemy to fight on your side for a few minutes (an invaluable resource). “Cyclone trap,” “insect swarm,” “telekinesis,” “incinerate,” “electro-bolt,” and “winter blast” all make a return and any of the plasmids are fun to use and specialize in. The cyclone trap plasmid is particularly great, sending enemies that run into it spiralling across the room or up 20 feet in the air. The mix of plasmids and weapons allows for some great combat that gives you different options of how to fight, and adds some replay value to Bioshock 2.
In Bioshock 2, you won’t just harvest Little Sisters (as in the first game), you adopt them and take them to glowing corpses to harvest ADAM. When the little sister starts to harvest, it triggers a wave of incoming enemies, who you have to protect the Little Sister from. This may seem annoying, but Bioshock 2 offers 5 or 6 different types of trap weapons (mini-turrets, cyclone traps, etc.) to allow you to prepare for the waves of incoming enemies. My favorite part of this game was setting a few dozen traps around the room, sending my little sister to harvest, and then watching all of the enemies that run into the room trigger the traps and die in hilarious ways (often including flying 50 feet across the room). If you are the type of player who likes tower defense games or the old game “Dungeon Master,” you will love this aspect of Bioshock 2.
I had a lot of fun playing Bioshock 2, even though it didn’t live up to all my expectations. The story isn’t great, but the combat, atmosphere, level design, and music are all fantastic. If you were a fan of the original Bioshock, you will probably love this game. If not, I would definitely recommend playing Bioshock 1 first, as Bioshock 2 assumes that you know everything the first game taught you. That being said, I loved Bioshock 2 and highly recommend it.