BIOSHOCK 2 — SCROLL TO READ
The Return To Rapture
Written by Mike Lowther
Welcome back to Rapture. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Its magnificently designed metropolis of brilliant structure, and gloomy, underwater irony has been tickling at my SCUBA suit for almost three years. The Bioshock series never fails to show off a dystopian society in its glory, while projecting a captivating, chaotic atmosphere. It’s nothing short of original. Based on the social concept of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, the developers of Bioshock have interpreted a world where social-mobility is absent, and violence is constant. The world of Rapture is a perfect playground to present a beautiful walkthrough of what life could be like in the 1960’s, in a failed utopia, under the sea. Bioshock 2 continues the story 10 years later, as you take the reign of a Big Daddy in search for your Little Sister.
The return to Rapture is nothing but itself. Ravage, heart wrenching, and utterly beautiful; nothing is like it. Well, except maybe the original. Bioshock set the bar pretty high for any sequel to come of it, and not much has changed. Andrew Ryan is dead, and Sophia Lamb has taken control of the submersed metropolis. As Ryan believed in creativity and unity of each individual, Lamb pushes unity as a group. Now, I’m not one to take sides on political matters like these, but watching these two go at it via tape recorders entertains me quite a bit.
You’re a Big Daddy. That’s right. You wear the suit and have the ability to drill your enemies to the ground. And yes, that drill is cordless. Wearing this suit finally gives you the ability to step outside the underground metropolis’ architecture and glare at the array of beautiful plant life, while marveling at the fact that there’s a city resting on the sea bed of the Atlantic Ocean. Though everything is spectacular outside of your suit, your character seems emotionless. The story is cheap about illustrating emphasis on my character. Disallowing me to feel for myself makes me upset, resulting in the absence of caring for my goals. Progressing through the stages wasn’t necessarily a chore, but I grew mildly careless. It almost feels like I’ve played this game, leaving me with the occasional “wow”. But when it came time to rescue or harvest Little Sisters, I chose to rip their heads off and consume their delicious juices immediately.
The basic gameplay mechanics got a bit of work, with more interaction from the environment. We’re also introduced to a few new plasmids and weapons. Plasmids use a chemical called ADAM that rewrite your genetic code and allow for special physical powers, such as the ability to shoot flames out of your hand and perform telekinesis. What surprises me the most is that 2K Games stuck to what worked for them last time, and designed the game extremely similar to the original. It’s so similar to the original title that the graphics only seem tweaked. Visuals are still next-gen, including amazing water effects and ragdoll physics, and I think the original Bioshock had some cutting edge graphics to this day, so I’m really not complaining that much.
Since we play as a Big Daddy, we need to assume the role as one. This means capturing Little Sisters roaming Rapture to harvest ADAM for you. If you pleasantly decide to rescue one, you have the option of letting them hunt for you, while you watch the progress bar fill up as you protect her. We’re also introduced to the Big Sister, whom is more powerful and agile than a Big Daddy, as well as a few new Splicers. An amazing new camera researching technique has been added with a point system that lets you know how much you’ve learned about killing specific enemies, but a new hacking system has been replaced as you must land a needle in green and blue zones of a meter. This sucks because you’re open for attack while doing them, so hacking becomes unfair at times. You can hack from far away with a “hacking tool”, but this process could have been easily avoided if the new hacking system wasn’t so dull. What a waste of a gun. Also, the radial for changing weapons and plasmids is a little sketch. Oftentimes, in the heat of battle, my command doesn’t register when pulling up the selection screens interchangeably. This caused more deaths than I can count, with an exception of severe lack of ammo and increased difficulty in certain sections of the game.
All in all, I’m slightly disappointed with Bioshock 2, but Rapture is just as gorgeous. The A.I. is quick and challenging, yet the story is only interesting two-thirds of the way before it starts becoming lifeless. The score isn’t very epic either. Bellowing crescendos and staccato-like stingers tend to make me feel like I’m riding a theme park attraction, or starring in a blockbuster movie. I didn’t get that here. It hurts to know that the original developer of the series had nothing to do with this game, and 2K Games went with five developers to put this together, which shows. Shit can be haywire and sporadic at times, but I really need to cut them slack for creating a follow-up to one of the greatest games of today’s generation.
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