mikeinsc's BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) review

Very Worthy Successor

 The somewhat shocking sequel to one of the truly great titles out there launched earlier this year and we will see how well it lives up to its namesake.

The first issue was that the original didn't leave an opening for a sequel. At all. It had a very definite conclusion. So, 2K Marin had an ugly problem in even trying to start this game in the first place. And they shoehorn it as well as they can, but it is still clunky. It is illogical for a character who was, apparently, every inch as important as Ryan to suddenly appear out of nowhere in a city that had basically failed...deep in the ocean...in the middle of nowhere. Him "silencing" her is absurd since he seemed spectacularly incapable of doing so previously. He couldn't silence Fontaine...but Lamb? Yeah, he shut her up. Sure.

Dr Lamb also doesn't seem remotely real. Ryan, for his faults, came across as a true believer who failed. Lamb is just a stock villain who doesn't ring true. I get that she's the polar opposite of Ryan, but her motivation is just not really believable. But the games strength is in delving into the relationship between the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. You are Delta, one of the original Big Daddies. In the first title, they have a bizarre relationship, but here they flesh out the key question of WHY Big Daddies are so protective of these girls. The reason they give works so bravo to them.

The game definitely hits the action button much harder than the original. The original used atmosphere to generate tension. Since Rapture is now familiar territory, this title used Lambs hold over the Splicers as the main impetus for the action. You won't sit there and dread the next Splicer you see since you will see lots of them...constantly. There aren't many new enemy types, but without a huge influx of people, there wouldn't be. The two main new enemies, Big Sisters and Brute Splicers, are worthy adversaries. Fortunately, combat is so much easier this time. Dual wielding guns and plasmids makes a big difference. Sadly, melee is a joke as your drill compares to the original wrench. For a Big Daddy, you aren't the beast you'd expect. You have the choice of harvesting or killing Little Sisters, but now, you not only have to kill their Big Daddy, you must protect them from large onslaughts of enemies as they drain ADAM from certain corpses. This allows defensive strategy to be used here and the arsenal of defensive weaponry you have is impressive. the plasmids level up really well now, but you will end up relying on some heavily. As cool as a powered up Insect Swarm was...I still used the ice plasmid constantly. And they fixed up the irritating research camera, making it a video camera, allowing you to fight an enemy while researching.

I may seem awfully critical here, but this is an outstanding title. The game is terrific. Not as good as the original, but a game that cannot be ignored easily. The multiplayer is shockingly fun and they avoided an inane final Big Boss fight that killed the vibe of the game. They left no loose threads for a sequel, but I doubt that slows them down.

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