Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bioshock 2 Review

I've been wanting to write about Bioshock 2 since I started playing, but I wanted to finish up at least the single player game before writing. I'm going to try to avoid any sort of spoilers, or at least not anything that you'd learn in the first 15 minutes of playing. So if you haven't played yet, don't worry.

To sum up the game: holy crap, it's awesome!

As a background, I played the original Bioshock on PC, and got Bioshock 2 for XBox, so seeing everything in it's full Hi-Def glory was a treat.

If you don't know already, you play as a Big Daddy in this game. Or more specifically, you play as the original Big Daddy, the prototype for the others you had to fight in the original game. You start out the game a few years after the original ends, and once again various characters are leading you throughout Rapture, seeking out Sophia Lamb, who is now in control of Rapture.

In many respects, this game is very similar to the original. You still have vending machines where you can buy items and ammunition. As nice as it would be for this to be different, it wouldn't make sense in the timeline of the game, so I'm glad they kept that the same.

The developers definitely fixed up a few things in this game. First is the hacking of machines. Rather than having to link the pipes in the mini, a needle pops up, going back and forth over different colored bars. You need to stop the needle over the green or blue to hack the machine, the other colors will either damage you or set off an alarm. It's a little easier and less stressful in my eyes, but it's still not easy. Once that screen pops up, the game doesn't stop. If a splicer is attacking you, he'll keep doing it while you try to hack the machine, so stay focused.

A second thing that was nicely fixed is that both of your hands are on the screen at the same time. So if your Eve runs out, and you've switched over to your manual weapon, you don't have to switch back to the plasmid hand to refill your Eve. Just a subtle difference that makes fighting a bit easier.

The biggest change is obviously the addition of the multiplayer game. The multiplayer action takes place before the original Bioshock, right at the downfall of Rapture. You can choose a splicer to play as, and you go out into various games. There are different games, like survival of the fittest (everyone is out for themselves), civil war (you are on a team, taking out the other team), capture the sister (like capture the flag, only with the Little Sisters) and others. The characters don't seem to have any advantage over one another, but the things they say vary, so it's up to you the personality type you like.

At the end of each multiplayer match, you earn Adam. The amount you earn is based on various aspects, including the number of kills you get, picking up Adam vials in the game, killing a Big Daddy and your ranking at the end of the game. And here is where the multiplayer game gets ridiculously addictive (kind of ironic that the Adam that the Splicers all want is what the player ends up wanting so badly!).

As you earn more Adam, you move up in ranks. At each rank, you get more powerups. At each rank, you might get access to a new weapon, or an upgrade to a weapon, or a new plasmid. This only makes you more powerful, and opens up new trials for you to complete. An early trial includes killing 30 enemies with a specific weapon over time. Once you do this, you earn an extra 75 Adam. And with each rank, you just get more things to do, and more things to do it with, which keeps the interest in the game that much stronger.

To top that off, if you're playing on XBox, there are achievements to earn when you reach Rank 10, 20, 30 and 40. And to keep that competitive edge strong, you can go look at your statistics and how they compare to your friends.

So I definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the original Bioshock, or anyone who likes first person shooters that might just be a little spooky and full of mystery.

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