Way back in a far away time known as 2007, Irrational Games drove gamers into a twisted nightmare known as Rapture, the philosophy-riddled Utopian society gone mad which was the setting for one of the greatest and most innovative games ever, BioShock. The new take on the first-person shooter genre was an instant hit with gamers but it was the world itself that kept you involved and hooked.
Well nearly two and a half years later, irrational Games is taking us back to Rapture thrusting gamers into a story that takes place nearly ten years after the events of the first game with a new main character, a new villain and a whole slew of new and terrifying enemies.
Rapture is now under the control of anti-individualist ideologue Dr. Sophia Lamb, the woman who played a min role in sparking the civil war that ripped Rapture apart. The player takes control of "Subject Delta", the very first "Big Daddy". If you played the first game then you know that the Big Daddies were formidable foes and the only ones you ran away from in the game. The main difference with being the first Big Daddy is that in addition to having all the benefits of the original foes, you also have the ability to use plasmids to enhance your combat capabilities.
To describe the plot in a nutshell, you are Subject Delta and after being separated from your Little Sister (the creepy girls with needles from BS 1) Elenore you awaken from a coma that you have been in for 10 years. You are then tasked with reconnecting with Elenore in order to save her, yourself and rapture from the evil Dr. Lamb.
The cast of characters is not as vast as it was in the first game. BioShock provided a gripping story through the characters of Andrew Ryan, Atlas/Fontaine, Tenenbaum and others. But even though the character number in BioShock 2 is lacking, the incredible voice acting that was displayed in the first game is still in full swing and some familiar voices from the first game will definitely bring back fond memories to fans of the first game.
The main thing developers try to do with a sequel is improve on the gameplay mechanics that didn't sit well with fans of the previous game and 2K Marine does just that. One of the best additions is the ability to duel wield Plasmids and weapons instead of having to quickly switch between each. It adds a great sense of real time variety to the fights you encounter. Another improvement is the exclusion of the hacking mini-game and the inclusion of a new hacking device that allows you to remotely hack devices while still engaging in a fight. In the first game players could use a camera to snap pictures of enemies which gave them research points, providing advantages in battle. The only problem was that you had to continuously collect film for your camera. In BioShock 2, you have access to a movie camera with unlimited film which also helps in keeping the game moving.
The enemies have received a redesign as well. The new enemies keep you from having total control in a fight which adds a new tension to the combat. When you set a Little Sister down to harvest Adam in this game, enemies come out of the woodwork requiring you to protect the little sister while simultaneously fending off multiple threats. Take that aspect and add in huge tank splicers, other Big Daddies and wall-crawling spider splicers and you have one hell of a combination on your hands.
One of the biggest things that had fans talking about BioShock 2 was the addition of a brand new multiplayer mode. This mode will not appeal to all gamers but the goo news is that it was developed by a completely separate team than the main story and in no way does it feel like a cheap add-on. The multiplayer takes place during the heart of Rapture's civil war and also serves as a narrative in explaining the plot and world of Rapture.
There are six modes in the multiplayer: Capture the Sister, which is capture the flag with a Little Sister instead of a flag. Survival of the Fittest, which is a free-for-all mode. Civil War, a team death match game. Last Splicer Standing, similar to free-for-all but without respawns. ADAM Grab, one player must control a Little Sister and harvest as much Adam as possible. Team ADAM Grab, ADAM Grab with a team. And finally Turf War, a king-of-the-hill style game. BioShock's interesting combat of weaponry mixed with Plasmids makes for an intense, crazy and unique multiplayer but not one that can compare with traditional online shooters. Still, if you love the game then you should try out the multiplayer.
BioShock 2 is a terrifying and intense game that has, like all sequels, its step-ups and step-downs from the first game. The innovations to the combat are great and add so much to the overall flow of the game but some players may find the narrative to be lacking compared to the first game. Overall BioShock 2 is a must play, especially for anybody who loved the first game.
BioShock 2 will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows February 9th, 2010.
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