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Episode 422

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Episode 421

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InDis- Ep 420 – Insert Weed Joke Here

Episode 420

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Bioshock 2 Review

Bioshock 2 Review
Game Name: Bioshock 2
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Developer(s): 2K Marin, 2K Australia, 2K China, Digital Extremes, and Arkane Studios
Genre(s): First Person Shooter
Release Date: February 9th, 2010
ESRB Rating: Mature
Big Ups: Game still looks breathtaking; dual wielding is great; overall strong narrative
Big Downs: First 5 hours are very slow; the world of Rapture is starting to get old; some framerate problems

After its release, the original Bioshock was critically and commercially hailed as a major success. Gamers were introduced to Andrew Ryan’s sub-Atlantic cityscape, Rapture, and most knew they had walked into an instant classic the moment they stepped out the first bathysphere. Halfway through this dark and gritty tale, we were given possibly one of the best plot twists an interactive game has ever offered to seal the deal that this game would have a sequel one day.

That day is now and Bioshock 2 has finally come. Does it surpass the original in every way or does it simply flounder in the water?

That's a face only a Little Sister can love

Bioshock 2, again, brings us back into the world of Rapture and not surprisingly, it’s still in shambles. The game takes place 10 years after the end of the original title as you take control of Delta, the original prototype Big Daddy. He rummages through the fallen city looking for a certain little sister, who he is mentally linked to, that has been taken away by the new antagonist, Sophia Lamb. Lamb, in the last 10 years, has completely taken control of Rapture after the fall of Ryan and has no absolutely no plans of letting go. That’s where you come in, Mr. Bubbles.

The rest of the story is told in classic Bioshock fashion. Some story events will happen on screen as you move along in the narrative, but the meat of the tale and the history of the city will, of course, come in the form of tape recordings strewn throughout the city. This is an area where the writing is at its finest. The mini-stories within the story tell intriguing tales that will definitely have you searching in every nook and cranny looking for the next. It’s also important to note that the voice acting is brilliant and entertaining. Big ups to the cast (some new and some familiar) and the writers for weaving quite a tale.

The main narrative has evolved a notch or two for the sequel, in a way. It had me involved a bit more than the first game, because now you will have the chance to physically interact with other NPC’s more often and also your mental link with the main little sister in the story adds another way you can be communicated with. Now, the quality of the story itself is good, but I will say the main narrative is, at best, on par with the first game. None of the story is mind blowing, but it’s far from bad.  Unfortunately, you have to drill (pun intended) about 4 or 5 hours into the game before the story gets really interesting.

Playing as a Big Daddy is definitely a change from playing as Jack, the original game’s protagonist. The first weapon you get to toy with is the drill that’s attached to your right hand. It’s a very satisfying weapon to use until you find out that you must use it sparingly or you can run out of drill fuel.  In the end, it just made me miss the wrench. Other Big Daddy-ish weapons you get to use: the rivet gun, Gatling machine gun, bomb launcher, and a spear gun (my favorite of the few mentioned here) are all at your disposal once you have found them. All of these weapons are fired by using the right trigger and cycled via a radial dial using the right bumper. Each weapon also has at least two or more different types of ammunition to use, making experimentation and research (which I will mention later) very much fun.

Yep, Splicers are still ugly as sin.

Similar to the first game, the Plasmids are mapped and used the same way as the weapons, but on the left portion of the controller. The plasmid selection, unfortunately, does not offer as much in terms of new plasmids, but they give us bigger upgrades and special attacks as these older plasmids get stronger. I, personally, would have loved to have seen some new creative ways to decimate my spliced foes.

The developers did step up the way we use these attacks. Gone bye-bye are the old days of firing your plasmids with your left hand and then swapping over to your right hand to start firing your guns one hand at a time. This time around, if you want to dual wield and incinerate your enemies while firing rivets into them simultaneously, then by all means do it! That’s what the developers had in mind when they have you take the offensive as a Big Daddy. They succeed there, because you FEEL like a Big Daddy when you are delivering the punishment.

Say hello to my boomstick!

It’s too bad the Big Daddy immersion stops there, because, offense aside, you never really feel like one. You move crazy fast and the only time you sound heavy is when you land from a jump or when you give out a hollow moan after getting attacked. Taking damage is another issue. Prototype or not, it is highly improbable that two splicers holding 2×4’s should be able to take a Big Daddy down, but it can be done here in seconds.  The only enemies that I can accept taking massive damage from are Splicer Brutes, other Big Daddies, and the deranged Big Sisters. Even on normal difficulty settings, you take damage quickly from the normal enemies, so be prepared to hit the right directional button a whole bunch to heal and be sure you are always stocked up on med kits at the “Circus of Values.”

A neat feature in the first game was the ability to use a camera and research your enemies to gain boosts to your damage, get more plasmids, or other great benefits.  They fleshed out that idea here and gave us a video camera to allow us to research our enemies. But this time, they made the player work for their research.  When recording, you are given about 20-30 seconds to start fighting the enemy using the weapons you have available.  If time runs out or you finish off the baddie, you then receive points and these points add up to allow you to level up and get your bonuses. But if you use the same attacks, you will not get as many points as you did the last time you recorded.  This was a stroke of genius on the part of the developers, because it makes the players experiment with their weapon and plasmids.  This was my favorite feature in the game, by far.

There is a competitive multi-player feature, but after countless disconnects and problems trying to find games, I decided to not to have it as part of the review.

Dude needs to put on his low beams.

In closing, Bioshock 2 is good.  Could the game have taken more risks to be more innovative in its setting and gameplay? Probably, but they knew what worked in the first iteration and made the decision to play it closer to the vest.  The improvements to the game (the researching feature and a much easier hacking mini-game) were extremely welcome, but overall, the aspects of this title they chose to keep the same made this game seem a bit more like Bioshock 1.5 and not a full sequel.  The story will pay off once you make it to the halfway point and beyond, but the world of Rapture, albeit still very attractive to the eye, is losing its emotional flair and can use a little more life in its sunken lungs.  Overall, I was satisfied with a rental.

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  1. avatar The Great N3cro says:

    Minor Distraction? Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? You crazy fool! Shit deserves at least 4 stars.

  2. avatar The Great N3cro says:

    Secondly…. I might add the Multiplayer adds a good bit of value to the overall package. And is pretty damn fun.

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