Ef You Treyarch...

A Sea of Dreams: BioShock 2 (2010)

Bioshock 2 as much as you might want to think is a quick dollar grab with multiple new development teams all having a hand I promise won’t feel that way after completing the campaign.  The Bioshock’verse is just swimming with stories, themes, lore, and history where as it’s apparent 2K Marin took careful steps to make sure a sequel to a game that really didn’t need a sequel feel relevant and warranted. The second entry is not as “hard” or manipulative as the first game where Bioshock 2 feels like a true “Story of Rapture” bundled as a focused streamlined package still staying in the realms that made the first game special.

Don’t let the annoying “take my picture” research game from Bioshock 1 distract you. That is fixed to a degree in 2.

Don’t let the annoying hacking game from Bioshock 1 distract you. That is fixed to a degree in 2.

Many tweaks have been made to game controls and mini games over Bioshock 1. The most welcome is the addition of permanent melee strike. In the first game you HAD to bring out the wrench to interact melee where on a 360 to switch weapons you have to go though a queue or pause to switch. After the first area you would just stop whacking stuff around the world when you received more then a few weapons.

Whacking tables and corpses with a drill arm is oddly satisfying.

For some reason Bioshock 2 picked up a Dead Space style to level switching giving an uncomfortable feeling making areas feel like a “game level” then “Rapture Location”. In the first game all the areas had a good way of making everything just “connect” where in Bioshock 2 for many of the levels you take a train from level to level. This was a change I didn’t care for but is nothing close to a game breaker. Most of what I ultimately didn’t like about the game are slightly nit picky but worth mentioning to people debating plunking $60+. There are HUGE texture loading issues on the 360 version that has always been a problem with Unreal Engine powered games. There are also times when all you will want to do is clear out an area so you can explore but a random enemy spawn will distract you. Also look for obvious video compression on all FMV sequences/overlays including the ending that contain high pixelation.

A few minor distractions I found odd was Bioshock 2 takes place 10 years after the first one but for some reason it bothered me that Little Sisters were still calling Big Daddys “Mr. Bubbles” but I guess for 10+ years I’ve been calling vanberge “vanberge“. Another logic hit was on how the player character would still be able to eat sardines and gallons of alcohol though a gigantic metal suit but again don’t bother over-analyzing.

I played the campaign on “Hard” difficulty with vita-chambers turned off, quest marker turned off, and adaptive training turned off. Personally I wouldn’t suggest those settings for most on a first play but overall Bioshock 2 I would say is far from a “Hard” or cheap feeling game.  In comparison to Bioshock 1 throughout the game world there is a higher influx of ammunition and additional opportunities to get money so inventory management is hardly ever much of a problem.

I played one game of the multiplayer and didn’t find it added much but if anybody would like to try it out let me know. Playing Bioshock 1 and taking the time to browse the grossly comprehensive Bioshock Wikia is personally suggested to get full enjoyment out of Bioshock 2.

Michael Abbott absolutely nailed writing a post about Bioshock 2. Nothing I’m able to write will compare so honestly time is well spent reading his take on how the memes of fatherhood and choice in the narrative effected him. Also required reading is Mitch Krpata’s thoughts on why we need sequels and how Bioshock 2 just nails it. I also suggest Chris Dahlen’s essay on the game as well.  All three of these links offer a much better reading material then a traditional IGN or Gamespot review and are recommended.

Bioshock 2 was the first game in a long time I was sad to see end and I feel that says alot. During my living hell of FFX and Modern Warfare it’s a weird feeling to actually finish a game and wanting more. I leave you with this….

Bioshock 2 on the pause screen shows a shark swimming around an underwater utopia. Now that is cool shit.

I still wish they kept  “Sea of Dreams” in the title.

Category: Video Games


4 Responses

  1. Vanberge says:

    Did you get any extra achievement points for no vita/hard difficulty??

  2. vanlandw says:

    25G for no vitas. 30G for finishing the game on hard.

    I played Bioshock 1 on hard but with vitas enabled. I actually don’t like the vita chambers that much I always thought they were a device to make the game easier for players having a hard time fighting the bosses. There are no “check points” so you do have to manually save and if you play on hard you are going to want to do so quite a bit. To a degree it does take you out of the game saving section to section or before a big fight but I like playing that way for some reason. Again for most people I would suggest to just play on Normal with everything on. The main draw of the game is the story and not making it “hard” but I’m a narcissist in many ways.

  3. [...] so decisions had to made. Mass Effect 2 was one of the games that got pushed back in favor of Bioshock 2 and God of War 3. Final Fantasy 13 waits for the $20 price [...]

  4. [...] February I posted a mostly positive writeup of Bioshock 2 and even went as far to say I was sad to see the experience end. It’s true!  Playing other [...]

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