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 BioShock 2: Second Opinions

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Posts : 63
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Join date : 2010-02-21
Age : 31

PostSubject: BioShock 2: Second Opinions   Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:01 pm

The first BioShock was one of the most celebrated games of 2007. Not only did it receive impressive review scores, but it also garnered a fan base that is quick to nominate it as one of the best games of this generation.

That said, the sequel had a lot to live up to. Many of us were skeptical when we heard that the game's development wouldn't be handled by the original team. Could the story successfully build on the events in the underwater city of Rapture? Would the addition of multiplayer be a worthwhile experience? You've read the official review, now hear further impressions from the IGN staff.


Greg Miller: Leading up to the release of BioShock 2, I found myself really pumped for the game, but I couldn't figure out why. It wasn't that I didn't like the original BioShock; it was just that I burned out on it by the time the credits rolled -- I was ready for it to end, I was sick of the way Rapture looked, and I thought the final boss was totally out of character for the game. Nevertheless, I got my hands on a copy of the sequel last week, rushed home, and popped it in my PS3. For about three hours, I wandered the halls of Rapture once more. I thought the game looked great visually and I thought that having a little sister to call my own and defend was cool, but I put the game back in its case and haven't taken it back out since.

As tired as it is to say the game looks and feels like the last one, the statement rings true for me; this is Rapture and I feel like I've been here before. More annoying -- or at least a bigger problem that takes me out of the game -- is the fact that I don't feel like a Big Daddy. These things were beasts in the last game, and I don't remember them having to gas up their drills or being able to be beaten by an unarmed Splicer teamed with a pistol-packing Splicer. I struggled to beat each and every Big Daddy I fought in the first game, so it's a bit insulting to get pwned by the most basic of enemies this time around and run around desperately swinging a bunch of ammo-less weapons.

I don't hate BioShock 2 and I don't think that it's a bad game, but it just didn't seem like something I have to play. When the Great IGN Trophy Whore War is done, I'll double back and finish it, but it almost feels like a chore I need to do. That's not right.

Nicole Tanner: The original BioShock is still one of my all-time favorite games. For that reason, I was actually a little scared to play the sequel. I mean, how could it possibly live up to the first one, right? Well, it doesn't quite hit the level of the first one, but it's still pretty good. BioShock 2 sucks you in right off the bat with a pretty interesting set-up. I don't want to spoil anything, but let's just say that opening cinematic really grabbed my attention.

The gameplay isn't all that different from the first game, but I think that's a good thing. Too much change would have been jarring. As it was, I felt like I was returning to my experience with the first one, but with added perks. I do have to say being able to finally use the Big Daddy drill arm was hugely satisfying.

The story was pretty good as well, although it was much more straightforward and predictable than the first one. I also liked the multiple instances where you're given a choice of how to play -- beyond saving or harvesting Little Sisters -- which added a nice new dimension to the game. The biggest drawback for me was that BioShock 2 did seem a bit on the short side. I didn't pay attention to how long I had been playing, but the game was over too soon for my liking.

Overall, BioShock 2 is a really good game, it's just not as good as the first one.

Charles Onyett: As much as people, myself included, wanted the original BioShock to be just like System Shock 2, it was more of a first-person shooter built for a general audience. It was also a revelation, offering accessible and entertaining gameplay and an amazingly well-developed fictional world populated with fascinating characters. When the sequel was first announced, I was skeptical it could provide the same kind of thrill.

Then I played it, and I changed my mind. Sure the setting was more familiar and some of the mystique of Rapture had evaporated, but BioShock 2 simply played better than the first. Being able to hold weapons and plasmids at the ready simultaneously is more fun to use, and the way the plasmids and weapons upgrade over time made the evolution of combat from beginning to end more interesting. What was initially a single-target fiery blast could -- by the end of the game -- turn into a searing jet of flame. Bees shot from your hands would initially do damage over time, but eventually infest corpses and serve as proximity bombs. Your drill arm could be altered to reflect projectiles and your shotgun could be tweaked to deal out shock damage.

For me, it's the more playable of the two games, but what about the story and characters? Andrew Ryan was such a powerful personality it's hard to imagine anyone matching up. So 2K Marin went ahead and built an entirely new storyline filled with different characters. References to the first game can still be found, but the tale of BioShock 2 is more or less standalone. It's a story that lacks the kind of high stakes immediacy of the first game, but compensates by being a more identifiable and vulnerable tale. The emphasis is on family, and you'll see evidence of that in how the characters relate to one another, in the decisions you have to make regarding Little Sisters and level bosses, and the way you can adopt and protect the girls instead of simply saving or harvesting them.

It didn't have the same impact on me that the original did, but I still think this is one of the best first-person shooters out there. BioShock 2 does an amazing job of combining its themes with its gameplay without losing the element of fun, which is a rare thing in an age dominated by shooters that elevate the headshot above all else.

Scott Lowe: When Bioshock 2 was first announced, and subsequently teased, I was more excited than anyone. The first Bioshock blew me away with its unique story and rich environments. Bioshock had its flaws, but for me, I can see past a game's imperfections if it is imaginative -- Bioshock 2 is anything but. While the narrative progression has become more fluid and more focused, the gameplay mechanics and environment feel all too familiar. Granted, the city of Rapture would be tough to change and straying too far from the plasmids and guns dynamic would be inadvisable, but the one area for growth seems to be the one most lacking -- story.

Rather than a continuation of the first installment, Bioshock 2 would have been far more compelling as a look back at the events leading up to the first game. Yes, I'm talking about a prequel. I want to know what Rapture was like before it fell. I want to see the effects of splicing go awry. I want to witness the power-struggle between Ryan and Lamb first hand, not hear about it in scattered audio logs. I can only hope that's what I find in Bioshock 3.

Hilary Goldstein: I just can't get into BioShock 2. I've played for a few hours and have stopped with little need to continue. I keep thinking the same thing as I play: "I really want to play BioShock 1 again." I don't see the reason for returning to Rapture. The excitement of the original was discovering the underwater city. The only thing exciting is the ability to use plasmids and guns at the same time. But that also adds more fast-paced shooting to the mix and kills some of the brilliant pacing from the first game.

Ok, so maybe being a Big Daddy is fun? Eh, not really. Except for the visor on the edges of the screen and the fact that I take no fall damage, I don't feel like a bad ass Big Daddy. Not in the least. There is a story of Rapture that needs to be told -- but it's of how Rapture fell, not what came even further after the fall.

Mark Ryan Sallee: I feel that the first BioShock gets by largely on its unique atmosphere and compelling story. Its few unique gameplay elements are a nice diversion from typical FPS fare, but in reality the game plays like any other shooter 95 percent of the time. And if we're all being honest with ourselves, BioShock doesn't do shooting as well as games like Doom, Halo or even Killzone.

My hopes for BioShock 2 weren't high, but I was surprised to find how unchanged the game is. There's very little, looking at the game or playing it, to differentiate BioShock 2 from its predecessor. That might be okay if the gameplay was stronger, but BioShock isn't Halo. New levels and a couple of fresh weapons don't make a compelling case for having another go.

The atmosphere of Rapture is still strong, and while the plot and characters of BioShock 2 don't match the wonders of the original, they're still the driving forces of the game. Folks motivated by presentation might have zero problems with the sameness of BioShock 2, but as someone that values gameplay over all, I'd rather not have played it.
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