spawnman's BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) review

Enraptured by... No I won't say it...

      Underwater sections are pretty uninspiring however
When I first heard of a sequel to my favourite game of all time, the first BioShock, I was really disappointed. Sequels hadn't sat well with me at the time; Gears of War 2, Halo 3: ODST, Far Cry 2, to name a few which I'd been disappointed by. To me, a BioShock sequel was like trying to turn the garden of eden into an amusement park for some more cheap thrills. And then I heard there was going to be multiplayer and I was just certain BioShock 2 was going to devastate me. 
I just finished BioShock 2 last night and nothing could've been farther from the reality. I think the game more than lived up to the shadow of the original, with a fiercely sleek and streamlined combat system, more plasmids and new enemies. I will concede, if you compare both games together, BioShock 2's plot will seem a little forced and predictable compared to the first game, but if you take it as a single game in its' own right, then even the most scrutinizing player shouldn't have any trouble with the game. If you make it too similar to the original game, people complain about not branching out (I'm looking at you MW2). If you try to make the game too different, then people complain about it not continuing the franchise well enough. That's why sequels are so hard to nail, and to follow up one of the best games of all times with this, it's pretty impressive.
The single player campaign is classic BioShock. It's of a similar length (I'm not really too sure how people thought it was far shorter than the original game) and although Rapture is now decaying and warped, BioShock players will feel at home in amongst the floating splicer corpses and thumping of distant Big Daddy boots. There are a few new additions to your enemy list, most notably Brute Splicers and Big Sisters, who effectively act as your major enemy throughout the game. The weapons have been revamped; some still remain, such as the grenade launcher and shotgun, but since you are now playing as the original Big Daddy, you of course have the drill and rivet gun as your staple weapons. Some new plasmids have been introduced, as well as the return of fan favourites such as electro-bolt and inferno. Hacking has also had a do-over, with the hacking system now centering around getting a needle to land in safe zones rather than guiding electrical flow - in my opinion, this greatly speeds up the hacking process, especially when you are hacking from a distance.
However, the major change to the world of BioShock is that you can now duel-wield a plasmid and a weapon at the same time. No more switching from electro-bolt to your wrench in order to complete that combo. This tweak has significantly improved combat and makes the game much more streamlined as a result. Research has also been changed slightly; instead of a still camera you now have a movie camera which makes researching a lot more enjoyable and lets you think more and die less. 
But multiplayer? I bet BioShock fans the world over let out a confused sigh when they heard there was to be a multiplayer mode, but I have to admit, it is actually pretty enjoyable. It doesn't overpower the campaign, as in games such as Call of Duty or Halo, instead providing a nice distraction. The levels and weapons are taken from the era of the original BioShock game, although there are new characters to play and plasmids to exploit. The multiplayer unfolds into a face-paced, fun mash-fest with lots to do, weapons to load and challenges to complete. 
However it's not without its' drawbacks. Most notably are the lag and freezing issues which cause many Xbox 360 owners to destroy their controllers as they're forced to reload their console. I'm quite surprised 2K hasn't fixed this glitch yet, as it is quite serious. However, this really is the extent of my qualms with the multiplayer; all in all, it's a good experience. Not truly enough to pry players away from MW2 or Battlefield, but a nice aside to a solid campaign. 
So what was originally a sense of dread towards BioShock 2 has slowly changed into an all-out gleam of happiness. You step out of the action occasionally and think "Hey, that was pretty neat!" or "Cool! I'm a little sister!". The developers have definitely tried to make an honest attempt at a good game as a follow up to BioShock and not just churn out a compulsory money-making piece of crap. This has earned my respect and it definitely opened my eyes to sequels again. If you're on the fence, hopefully this review has convinced you that even new things aren't bad. Although the original game made me love Rapture forever, BioShock 2 more than lives up to the original with some fun, original changes and some decent play. 
Now would you kindly get the game?

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