"Utopia is not a place...but a people. It will exist the moment we are fit to occupy it." Sofia Lamb As sequels go, Bioshock 2 had a lot to live up to. The story and strange world created in the first game screamed out to be replayed, retooled and revisited.
One of the first things I will tell you is, save your game and save often. While the game has auto save points, I had to get up from a 2 hour session to take a business call. I didn't get back to my computer for an hour. I hadn't saved, and lost those 2 hours of game play as I respawned at the beginning of the level. So hit f12!
I played through Bioshock 1 in 10 hours. Bioshock 2 took me 18. Mind you a few of those hours can be attributed to the "save" issue, but I would say overall, this sequel had a little more meat to it.
I'm not going to put any outright spoiler's in here. If you haven't played either game, you might be clued into some things just from context, but I think you'll be pretty safe.
Ten long years have passed since the death of Andrew Ryan in Bioshock 1. Rapture has seen better days.
You are Subject Delta and awaken in the ruin of Rapture with its leaks, splicers and Adam seeking little sisters with the voice of your bonded little sister in your head. Eleanor needs you and your only mission is to save her.
"Love is just a chemical. We give it meaning by choice." Eleanor Lamb
I was super excited to be playing through this time a big daddy. The clunky loud suit, moans, and drill were among the things I couldn't wait to play with.
Perhaps it's just me, but by the end of the first level, I was over it. The drill options were limited, the suit wasn't all that cool anymore and I wanted a little more flexibility.
I happily looted my first rivet gun, searched for some bullets and went to town shooting splicers.
Another thing to be sure to do, is search for Audio diaries. They are all over Rapture and in total I believe there are 120 or so. They reveal the lives of the people of Rapture, and will help you immensely in a feeling of immersion in the story. Don't pass them up!
A huge plus to Bioshock 2, is the ablity to get out into the ocean. After all, you are a Big Daddy now with a fully equipped sea worthy diving suit. It was one of the feature's I didn't know I wanted until haflway through Bioshock 1. I loved it. Plus, if you look carefully, you can usually spot a little loot laying around. It's also one of the only times in the game you are not looking over your shoulder. For now, while in the sea surrounding the crumbling city, you are safe. Enjoy the brief respite.
A word of caution, once you leave a level you cannot go back. If there is a nook or cranny you wanted to go look in, or maybe you picked up a plasmid that will help you get into an area you had no access to before, don't forget to circle back before leaving.
All the good game features are back.
You'll find your first plasmid pretty early and quickly fall back into the routine of upgrading them via a Gathering Garden when you can. I think everyone has their favorites. I seemed to immediately upgrade incinerate. I kinda enjoy watching splicer's fry. Don't forget though to use Electro Bolt when splicers are standing around in a pool of water. They'll fall over dead fairly quickly.
Hack first, buy second. I didn't enjoy this mini game much in Bioshock 1. Possibly because I am not very good at this kind of thing. It had an improvement in Bioshock 2, and I found hacking much less frustrating. Be sure to upgrade your hacks with gene tonics to get a slower hack needle, to get a little health and eve every time you hack or to simply make a hack shorter.
The EL Ammo Bandito, Circus of Values and Gene banks are back. You'll also find the rare Power to the People machine where you can add upgrades to your favorite weapons. Be careful with these. They are few and far between, but a fully upgraded weapon has some cool powers. A weapon you'll find eventually is the spear gun. A headshot with this puppy nails a splicer to the wall, dead. It's gruesome and amazingly fun. Even if you have a favorite weapon, try out the one's you find a long the way. New and interesting methods of killing adds to your enjoyment!
A fresh, and I think wonderful addition to the game, is the moral dilemma. Throughout the story you will run into characters you can either save or kill. Choose as you will, it does affect how the story plays for you and whose voices you are going to have filtering in your ear. As per the first game, you can choose to rescue or harvest the little sister's you run across. Personally, I save them. I can't help myself. They are little girls forced to play a part in an evil scheme. They deserve peace. Plus, I like their gifts :)
Research has also been given an upgrade. It's more seamless. Instead of still shots, you take video. While this is a feature I tend to forget about in the midst of battle, it's uses are endless and truly allow you to learn how to make tactical decision's during gameplay.
"When Rapture speaks of you-it says only this: sleep now. Your day is done." Sofia Lamb
I had seen enough of the trailer's for the game to know about the Big Sister's. Nothing, and I mean nothing prepared me for the fights with them. They make the Big Daddies look like wussy pansies and every time I met one of these screeching avenger's I said a quick prayer. They can drain Adam from slicer's to power their plasmid abilities, are armed to the teeth and wearing superior armor. When you hear one coming, it'll make your heart beat a little faster. They are incredibly agile. Only advice I have is to fight in an open room with them. Try not to get cornered by one. They'll take you down fast.
As I alluded to before, how you played the game is going to affect the ending. I'm not going to hint one way or another, but which ever road you've taken has a well thought out ending.
All too soon my love affair with Rapture ended. As usual I wanted more. And this time you can have it. Bioshock 2 offers a multi player option. You can play through the maps solo or with friends.
And in case that isn't enough rapture for you, 2 k games has announced additional downloadable content coming soon to both the single player and multi player portions of the game.
The first one looks to be for the multi player maps.
Sinclair Solutions Test Pack, the first of several planned downloadable packages, contains a number of customization features that will allow players to further their character's development in BioShock 2's multiplayer modes and provide a deeper multiplayer experience. The pack includes:
- Rank Increase to level 50 with Rank Rewards
- New playable characters Louie McGraff and Oscar Calraca
- 20 new trials*
- A third weapon upgrade for each weapon
- five additional masks*
Bioshock 2 isn't perfect. No game can be. It comes pretty close though. I will admit in the first hour or so of gameplay it all seemed almost too familiar. The lackluster feel of the drill disappointed, but wasn't game ending. I had a few places in the single player where the screen would black out from a bug. It happened rarely, and didn't affect my ability to take out the bad guys.
It's truly a special thing when a developer can make a sequel that doesn't feel like a replay of old story lines. While the initial story may not appear very deep, you are intrinsically tied to the well being of Eleanor. The character's in this second telling are a little more interesting in my view, and there are some juicy surprises waiting through the crumbling ruins of Andrew Ryan's Utopia. Your choices, and the future of Rapture are dependent on Subject Delta.
If you haven't dived into this franchise, and you like RPG's, you should take a look. Rapture is waiting.
"As I watch you now, I envy your ignorance. You still believe." Sofia Lamb