Welcome back to Rapture
Rapture. An underwater Utopia where the biggest and brightest minds have gathered to live without restriction. To let their ideas flow endlessly and with peace to follow. Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, and the most advanced mins there are. What else do you need? But such a dream cannot hold up. Every civilization is bound to come down at one point or another, and, like the
Bioshock 2 picks up eight years after the societal downfall of Rapture in the first Bioshock. The protagonist is no longer Jack, it is a Big Daddy, named Delta. A Big Daddy whom you learn is the first to be "bound" to a little sister. Life in Rapture hasn't improved one bit. In fact, it's still pretty much the complete opposite of a Utopia. Splicers (Adam addicted druggies that will do anything for a fix) still run rampant throughout. Stores, homes, clinics, etc., all seem to be closed down, busted, and vacant. Once again, you regain the feeling of isolation in a huge underwater city, as you make your way through it to be reconnected with your Little Sister.
The game, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, depicts Rapture beautifully, albeit a little less so. I found myself wanting to explore every nook of Rapture in order to learn about it, and in order to see more of it. It's crafted in such a away that Rapture looks alive, while being absolutely dead. And that is an accomplishment in which 2K Marin should be proud of. There are a few instances where you'll encounter very low res objects, such as the sign leading into Dionysis Park. It's pretty ugly to look at, but it's a minor mis-step in what is ultimately a true work of art.
The game plays and handles almost identical to the original, and the gameplay itself is almost the same as well, save for a few additions and changes...
-The research system was revamped and moved to a snuff-film like system as opposed to snap shots to gain research points. Now you film an enemy an do as much damage is as many different ways as you can until they die (or time runs out) and you gain points for it.
- The weapons are still there, with a few additions and changes. The crossbow swapped for my personal favorite, the spear gun, and the wrench swapped for, my second personal favorite, the infamous drill. Plasmids as well were revamped, adding charge up powers to higher level plasmids. For instance, The level one decoy will just taunt enemies, whereas a level 2 will reflect damage back, and a level 3 will convert damage it takes into health for yourself.
- I also found the Gene tonics to be much more useful this time around. The controls on the other hand, at first, felt a bit awkward, but you quickly get used to them.
- A few new enemies make their appearance, including the Brute Splicer and the Big Sister. The Big Sister is...well she's a pain in the ass. Powerful, fast and deadly. Don't take her encounters lightly, especially on a higher difficulty.
There were times when I couldn't help but think there HAD to be a better control scheme to use. Additions aside, you still search Rapture to reach your goal and fin d audio diaries along the way to reveal Raptures downfall, past and present.
Besides the occasional low res texture, the only other thing that bothered me were the sound effects when you interact with toilets and sinks. The quality just wasn't up to par with the rest of the sound and the rest of the game. But again, these are minor, minor things that the majority of the people playing won't even encounter or notice.
The biggest addition to the franchise was having Bioshock jump onto the online multiplayer bandwagon. The premise behind it is definitely unique, something not seen in most online counterparts to shooters, and one that fits the whole idea of the franchise well. You are an inhabitant of Rapture amidst its downfall / civil war, and you're "sponsored" by Sinclair Solutions to test out tonics and plasmids. As you rank up in the multiplayer by getting kills, winning, collecting Adam, etc., you unlock more costumes (masks and characters), weapons, and plasmids. The introduction to is it great, and really gives it a good starting off point. But that's a facade that doesn't hold up too well. It's a bit laggy and overall, the gameplay doesn't translate to deathmatch type games as well as you think it would, especially coming straight off the single player where your plasmids are in full effect and do what they're supposed to. For example, winter's grasp doesn't freeze opponents, it just fogs their vision and slows them down a bit. Some of what makes the multiplayer not so addicting are these small complaints, but most of all, its just the overall gameplay translation isn't as smooth as one would hope. Maybe it was done wrong, or maybe the way Bioshock is played just isn't meant for multiplayer, but it certainly isn't as standout as the games single player component.
If you loved everything about the first Bioshock, and put any prejudice about development handling aside, you will find yourself falling in love with the story once again while rummaging through the corridors of Rapture. A slow start will leave you thinking there's something missing, or that the charm isn't all there, but stick through with it and you'll find the game realizes its potential and lives up to it's name.