by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Are you listening?
For those that have played the original, Bioshock 2 will look very familiar. Although the art-deco city has fallen into ruin after the civil war, the grandeur of the underwater metropolis remains in all it glory. Indeed, as a Big Daddy, you will make full use of your diving suit at various points in the game as you step outside the city and traverse the picturesque ocean floor. The characters are also vivid, and each of the enemy targets has their own appearance.
As with the original, Audio is amazing. The backing music fits the Art Deco era superbly. The audio diaries from the original BioShock return as a way of moving the story along and are again voiced brilliantly. Each of the characters has their own unique style and it is easy to tell who is speaking to you even if you aren’t paying attention to their accompanied photo. Weapon sound effects too, are authentic, with the sound of the rivet gun giving a genuine ‘ping’ when being fired at an unsuspecting splicer. Speaking of which, the nonsensical ramblings of the drugged-up splicers is as creepy as it was in the original. The whale-like bellows of the Big Daddies and the shrieking wail of the Big Sisters are poles apart, but both are let the gamer know that they’re about to have a tough fight on their hands.
The major difference between the original and BioShock 2 is the addition of a multiplayer component. Fans of the original may have thought that there was no need for a multiplayer game (and I would have agreed), but the multiplayer element does work well. Finding a game can be a bit of a hassle at this early stage with the lack of people online, but once a game gets established, there is a certain amount of fun to be had.
There are seven multiplayer game types to choose from, each with their own objective. Some require the gamer to work alone (Survival of the Fittest, ADAM Grab), whilst others require teamwork. There is a variation on most team-based games including Capture the Sister – the BioShock 2 version of Capture the Flag.
Game stability has been somewhat of an issue for many gamers. Many of the issues have been fixed with an update released within days of the game’s release, but some still remain. Personally, I had a couple of issues with the graphics which was eventually fixed with some playing around with the video settings. There was also an issue with the game crashing at one stage which forced me to go back to an older save and redo much of the work I had already done. That is always frustrating.
But having said that, BioShock 2 is a game that you’ll want to play through a couple of times anyway, just to see what the consequences for your in-games decisions are. Do you go through a whole game harvesting the Little Sisters, or do you Rescue them? Do you decide to kill off the games important NPC’s such as Grace Holloway and Stanley Poole? Each of these decisions create different ending sequences, so playing through multiple times is almost a requirement.
Worth returning to Rapture?
In essence, the single player version can feel you’re playing an extension of BioShock, as the locations and game style remain largely unchanged. As many fans of the original will agree though, that is definitely not a bad thing. The enhanced features such as the ability to dual wield plasmids and weapons at the same time certainly makes BioShock 2 an improvement on the original BioShock and works extremely well. But on top of that is the multiplayer component. They certainly add some further replayability to the game. And with seven different game-types and numerous maps, there is something for everyone.
The single player story is left at a point where there is room left for a third installment, possibly in the role as a Big Sister – who knows. Either way, I for one, will be looking forward to it. In the meantime, I will just have to play through BioShock 2 a few more times.
Dual wielding weapons and Plasmids, Visuals and Audio are superb, Multiplayer increases replayability
Single player is largely the same as the original BioShock. Also some stability issues.