wess's BioShock 2 (Xbox 360) review

A riveting experience and a worthy succssor.

Bioshock 2 follows one of the most memorable gaming experiences that I've played on the Xbox 360.  The original Bioshock was set apart from other games because of it's immersive and terrifying world, stellar controls and gameplay mechanics, and really well told story.  The second iteration in the Bioshock franchise doesn't quite have the same impact in terms of presenting a surprising and strange world, or in terms delivering it's story, but this game is still extremely fun because it builds on what the first game did, and delivers a more than satisfying gaming experience.
One of the big thematic changes in Bioshock 2 is that you are put in control of a big daddy, referred to as Subject Delta.  You are separated from your little sister, and so the main focus of the game is to reunite with the girl who's well being is the sole reason for your existence.  This struggle takes you all across Rapture, the underwater paradise turned to a place of psychopaths, grisly murders, and tortures.  You'll see some familiar places from Bioshock, and many familiar enemies and obstacles, and what is new fits seamlessly into the world as if it were always there.  You find many weapons, including mostly normal guns as well as devastating plasmids.  The range of offensive abilities that you acquire throughout the game is a thing of beauty, and the multiple functions for each gun, and even some plasmids, really give you the tools to react to any situation - if you're quick enough.  I felt like the shooting and overall combat mechanics found solid improvements since the first Bioshock, and for me personally Bioshock 2 is as fun a shooter as any other game.
But Bioshock isn't all about shooting.  Bioshock, and Bioshock 2 of course, are also about exploring the world.  Finding little upgrades, researching enemies, hacking turrets and security drones, and piecing together what life in Rapture was and could have been through tons of audio diaries.  You also have the ability to adopt little sisters, and have them harvest Adam for you, which you can then use to upgrade yourself.  Doing this triggers one of the many "defend this area" sequences in Bioshock 2, which are probably some of the most fun parts of the game.  With a much improved hacking mini game - one that doesn't take you out of the action to play Pipe Dream, as well as the ability to use many of your weapons and abilities defensively as much as offensively, defending areas couldn't be more entertaining.
Even though Bioshock 2's villain doesn't carry the same weight as the great Andrew Ryan, the story and characters are still more interesting in my opinion than many other games.  Really, if it weren't the sequel to the first Bioshock I don't think anyone would expect a game with this much polish in terms of gameplay to have a story beyond what it has.  Don't forget that everything I've said here applies to the single player experience - because there is a full multiplayer available also.  Bioshock 2 is a great achievement in gaming, just as the first Bioshock was, and I would find it hard to believe if many gamers could honestly say there was nothing to enjoy here.

Edited by frontman12

I'm really glad you enjoyed it Nate.  You say that the villain doesn't carry the same weight as Andrew Ryan, but I would argue that Fontaine was the real villain of the first game.  Lamb is almost a tragic figure in some ways, a slave to her ideology, but deeply hurt by the loss of her daughter's allegiance and most importantly, love.

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