BioShock unquestionably changed the world of
first person shooters by setting a new bar for storytelling in video
games. With an epic story that pitted sanity versus insanity, gamers
played Jack, a plane crash survivor who stumbled upon the
underwater city of Rapture. Your goal was not just freedom but also to
bring down billionaire industrialist Andrew Ryan whose
utopia dissolved into a freakish world of hellish experiments gone wild.
It was a surreal experience that pitted the gamer against an army of the
strange, the wrong and totally chaotic. Unlike those first person
shooters set on alien planets, the future or on the battle field, BioShock
was set in 1958 which only enhanced the gameplay experience in this
alternate reality through the creepy music and settings. Of course, the
stylised graphics and music made this even more plausible. Add in
elements from the survivor genre to top it off and BioShock
successfully created a worldwide hit.
And here we are again, 3 years later
and the underwater city of Rapture still breathes but a huge twist has
been thrown into the story, thanks to the gamer now playing a Big Daddy.
For the uninitiated, Big Daddy's were the huge golem like creatures from the original game who protected the
Little Sisters. However, unlike the other Big Daddy's from the previous
your avatar has free will and let's just say that if anyone or anything
gets in your way, the repercussions will be deadly.
Before starting your BioShock 2 experience, the viewer is treated to a
very interesting cinematic that introduces you to the world of this
bizarre universe. Although it begins in 1958 and without spoiling the
story too much, you are separated from your Little Sister and you awake
ten years later. When you finally do get control of your character,
it's all a mystery as to who or what you are. However, just like the
original, the story slowly comes together, piece by piece. If you want
to get even more in-depth, diaries are littered throughout the gaming
environment to enhance the story.
As you wake
within the Adonis Luxury Resort of Rapture City, you learn that this
area was also used for genetic enhancements and so your journey begins
of discovery and retribution. One of the main themes in the game is that
girls are being kidnapped from islands around Rapture city in order to
become Little Sisters for these twisted experiments. For this unnamed
Big Daddy, you eventually have contact with Eleanor Lamb, the Little
Sister you were once linked with. Unfortunately for her, her mother
Sofia Lamb refuses to abide by your wishes and was the person
responsible for your vile imprisonment. Needless to say, there are
plenty of your in-your-face moments to the story of BioShock.
To compliment the story and those wow
moments is the amazing level design, especially the underwater
areas. The game itself is a first person shooter, however it has
elements of RPG and the survival genre to stir things up. Unreal
Technology powers the gaming interface as you tackle the denizens of
Rapture City from those gone mad on ADAM, the slicers and your gender
twisted sisters which all produce a memorable and decent gaming
In terms of completion, BioShock 2 takes around 15 hours, give or take and has three alternate endings available to the player. For
replay value, as the gameplay is so sturdy and the storyline so
compelling, most gamers can easily get another play out of the game and
go down another path to get that different ending. We've only completed BioShock 2 as a "good" Big Daddy, so we're eager to check out some of
the other paths available for our character.
Speaking of Big Daddy! The control system of BioShock 2 has been well mapped
and gamers of all different levels of experience will easily be able to
control all facets of Big Daddy, even its deadly drill connected to its
arm. If you have played the original, it does take a small amount of time
getting use to this monstrous creature as opposed to a human but best of
all, Big Daddy has access to some powerful heavy artillery such as
Gatling guns and the like. When it comes to combat, the player has options of melee,
weapons or genetic powers. With that said, the game is quite violent at times, especially
when you're using your drill to disembowel your enemies.
Big Daddy's were quite powerful in the original game and to make things
fair to your enemies, they have
received a slight power make-over. As you fight Splicer's or Big Sisters,
it's great how they use the environment to their advantage such as cover
and even health stations to replenish their health. Depending on your
difficulty setting, the AI can be quite vicious towards the player and
does make the game that extra bit more challenging. I played on a medium
setting and did get my butt handed to me on more than one occasion but
that's where upgrades, new weapons and new powers come into play.
When battling enemies, it's quite surreal seeing the enemies fight as they do mimic
real-world players quite well. But sometimes you need to fight fire with
fire and our favourite Big Daddy has a few of his own powers such as
Telekinesis 3 which allows for almost Star Wars based powers as you
throw items and even smaller critters around the screen. Definitely a
BioShock 2 supports dual weapons which is generally unleashed when your
fighting one of the myriad of bosses but what I like about BioShock 2 is
using the environment to your advantage such as flammable pipes, BOOM,
or unleashing deadly electrical EVE into the water to dispose your
In relation to bosses, they are quite
powerful and if you do manage to die which you will, you will reappear
in a rejuvenation chamber to fight again. My favourite battles in BioShock 2 are definitely the Big Sisters that
pierce the sound barrier upon their arrival who have the force of a Big
Daddy but unfortunately for you, the abilities of the Spider Slicers
"speed" which will be frustratingly challenging at times but well worth the victory. Of
course, not all BioShock is about fighting (mostly) and you need to hack
doors for entry, vending machines for supplies and even bots to fight at
your side. Thankfully the RPG element of this game is enough to keep the
title as a first person shooter than a full blown RPG through the use of
ADAM and EVE.
ADAM is used to upgrade your powers and abilities and the player uses
Little Sisters to harvest this powerful genetic material. Of course to
get a Little Sister, the player must first dispatch the Big Daddy that
is protecting them. Once a Little Sister is yours, you can them use them
to draw ADAM from corpses.
This brings another strategy into the game through the use
turrets and traps because once the Little Sisters start to harvest,
other enemies are alerted, so you need to defend them quite well. As EVE
played a huge role in the previous game which allowed you to use your
powers, this also needs to be collected and replenished in BioShock 2.
Fortunately, there are plenty of EVE hypos littered through the
environments and some foods that can replenish it.
When it comes to graphics, BioShock 2 is oozing with eye candy and looks
amazing on high definition. The level design is brilliant that is
complimented with some great lighting and special effects, especially the
water. The characters are well animated and contain some great texture
details, making it easy to be absorbed into the story of this "nameless"
Big Daddy. The soundtrack is fitting and has a retro 1940's feel to it as is the voice acting, especially
from our villain who is as mad as a hatter. But to do the game justice,
a digital TV is required and surround sound because the developers have
truly made good use of both these technologies to create a thoroughly
Bloody amazing! The original game went beyond those clichéd first person
shooters and in creating a sequel, the developers have fleshed out the
city of Rapture even more but more importantly, have streamlined the
gameplay, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Of course,
without the detailed characters and story of BioShock 2, it would not
have reached these levels and of course, the luscious graphics. Add in
dozens of secrets, multiple endings and of course a very sturdy
multiplayer engine and the developers have covered all facets in this
From the very first moments, BioShock 2 holds an
iron grip over you throughout the entire experience as you're given a
violent tour of the legacy of Andrew Ryan's Rapture and the
repercussions of his troubled dream. Some may say, it's the same as the
previous game but I digress, it's a whole new chapter to this amazing
underwater universe and if you don't believe me, rent it first.
#: PC vs 360 vs PS3? After seeing all three
games on various systems, BioShock 2 is pretty much identical. The PC,
depending on specifications has improved loading times and a touch
sharper graphics. The XBox 360 has faster loading times than the PS3,
although graphically, it appears that the PS3 is a tad more impressive.