The first BioShock was a masterpiece â€“ a story expertly crafted, punctuated by the objectivist philosophies of Ayn Rand. Its twisted, tortured dystopian under-sea setting was unique and interesting, its art-deco visuals â€“ although ruinous – rich and sumptuous, and above all, its narrative compelling.
Many gamers â€“ such as myself -Â felt a sequel to be unwarranted â€“ that the game was complete and that a sequel would feel unnecessary, diminishing the impact of our first foray into Rapture. We were worried that a sequel, made by a different developer, wouldnâ€™t be able to capture the spirit of its forebear, and wouldnâ€™t be able to deliver nearly as moving an experience. We were also wrong.
The Single Player
Set 10 Years after the original, BioShock 2 takes you back to Rapture, familiar, yet strangely different. Andrew Ryan and his philosophies, focused on the plight of the individual,Â are no more, replaced by the religious fervour attached to Raptureâ€™s new voice, whose altruistic, family focused, principles present an almost polar opposite.
Synonymous with BioShock is the Big Daddy, and in the sequel you donâ€™t fight him â€“ you are him. Casting you as a Big Daddy is not, as feared, just a gimmick. When you played as a paradoxically later model Big Daddy in the first game, it felt clunky and burdensome. That section was often criticised as being the worst in the game. Thankfully, your second stint fares much better.
The game immerses you in the role of an early Big Daddy. You may not notice it much at first, but the game reminds you that youâ€™re a large, lumbering beast. Footsteps produce a trembling echo, attacks from enemies result in a monstrous bellow from within your diving helmet â€“ and on occasion youâ€™ll catch a glimpse of yourself or your shadow and be taken aback at your size.
As a Big Daddy, you start of with an appropriate melee weapon. No longer are you required to whack splicers about the head with a mere wrench. No, you start up with a power drill â€“ which, once suitably upgraded has cemented itself as my favourite melee weapon. After youâ€™ve unlocked â€œDrill Dashâ€ you can unleash bloody, spinning death across the screen at the pace of your average locomotive. Itâ€™s probably testament to some deeply buried demented flaw in my character â€“ but drilling somebody in the face never gets old.
The rest of your weapons have also been suitably beefed up to match your stature. The stalwart pistol has been replaced by a rivet gun. The Tommy gun has given way to a mounted machine gun and the double barreled shotgun is particularly good at mincing faces. My favourite though is the spear gun. Like the crossbow itâ€™s quiet and very accurate â€“ but now has the added benefit of allowing you to peg splicers in to walls and ceilings â€“ like the bug collection of a particularly depraved entomologist.
Bioshock 2 was reviewed by Geoffrey Tim