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"[Game] Bioshock 2"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Bioshock 2'.
Mon 29/03/10 at 14:44
Regular
Posts: 5,630
It’s hard to capture lightning in a bottle once, let alone twice. Bioshock, released in 2007 to mass critical and commercial acclaim, introduced gamers to the failed underwater utopia of Rapture, and is to this day one of the best games released on the Xbox 360. The lush visuals and intriguing narrative captivated players all the way to the shocking conclusion (a meta commentary on gaming itself), and repeating that experience seemed a nigh on impossible task, due to the sheer uniqueness of the game world created. The imaginatively-titled Bioshock 2 instead focuses on delving a little deeper into the world we had been introduced to, and whilst not necessarily delivering as accomplished a story experience, nails down the gameplay and provides a level of polish that ensures this is still a very good game.

Sensibly avoiding a contrived return to Rapture for the original protagonist 'Jack', this time around you play the original Big Daddy, awoken after an unspecified slumber to seek his original Little Sister, the daughter of Sofia Lamb, a psychiatrist who has taken over Rapture from its creator Andrew Ryan. The story this time around is weaker than the first. It’s still delivered by the same mechanics as the first one - audio diaries are scattered around Rapture that fill in interesting backstory and character development, and you are aided in your quest by various characters, who, much as in Bioshock 1, may have ulterior motives. In that respect it feels like a retread, just one of the many elements that felt so fresh in the first game but with a little sheen lost this time around.

Once again you are required to 'save' Little Sisters, should you choose to, and defeat a variety of other Big Daddies. However, this time around Big Sisters (Big Mummies for Bioshock 3, anyone?) are also lurking. Taking a considerable amount of effort and ammo to defeat (even on lower difficulties), and accompanied by ominous warning music, they prove a worthy successor.

Combat in Bioshock 2 has been vastly improved. The game, whilst short (roughly 7-8 hours), is still a challenge, even on lower difficulties. You can now wield a selection of plasmids in addition to a weapon and use them in combination, using the left and right triggers. Before playing the game I had watched trailers and thought it looked a little complicated in terms of the amount going on, but it’s actually quite intuitive to play.

The amount of options in terms of plasmids, ammo types (most guns have three types of ammo) is considerable and tactically you have a lot of options on how to use them, which adds a lot of layers you don’t find in traditional first person shooters. Simply put, a lot of these plasmids and weapons are damn cool. Whether it be setting a splicer on fire and then spearing them to a wall, or freezing one and then using the enormous drill to shatter them to pieces, you never get tired of concocting more and more imaginative ways to end their lives.

One reason for that is this game looks gorgeous. The amount of detail in this game is staggering, with not only each room packed with detail, but decay – its some years after Rapture’s heydays and with a near decade of neglect, Rapture has mutated even further from the previous game. It’s not often in a game you take your time to look around and soak in the atmosphere (literally in the underwater sections) but Bioshock 2 is full of those environments.

The big new feature of Bioshock 2 is the addition of multiplayer. To mitigate the ‘tacked on’ argument it has been given a bit of context with a story reason behind it, and a little window dressing with your own little lobby where you can access statistics and options. The multiplayer isn’t necessarily bad, in fact its quite fun in parts. Beginners can get involved and get a few kills (as opposed to some hardcore multiplayer games where you pop your head round the corner for two seconds and hit the dirt two seconds later), it tracks statistics to create its own little ‘achievement’ system and has mini-trials within the combat itself.

However, I can’t help but feel its addition is more of a commercial ‘tick all the boxes’ inclusion rather than a genuine extension of the single player experience, a move that is becoming all too common these days. In addition, for achievement whor…*cough* completionists, it will require a serious time commitment to earn all the multiplayer achievements.

‘More of the same’ with a world as rich as Bioshock’s is not necessarily a criticism, especially with a game this well made. It’s a hugely enjoyable experience, like returning to one of your favourite books, but feels more like more of an extension of the first one rather than a true sequel, in kind of the same way as Halo 3: ODST felt after playing Halo 3. Should a game like Bioshock, in which the story essentially ‘finished’, have even had a sequel? As I alluded to earlier, sometimes things make a lot more sense commercially than they do creatively (as Rush Hour 2 and 3, among many other, aptly show), and a successful game these days seems to automatically dictate a sequel whether there is room for it in the narrative or not.

Through nostalgia or not, a lot of people liked Bioshock 2, and I count myself among them. When the inevitable Bioshock 3 arrives, a new paradigm may be required, or a very literal world-weariness may set in.
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Mon 29/03/10 at 14:44
Regular
Posts: 5,630
It’s hard to capture lightning in a bottle once, let alone twice. Bioshock, released in 2007 to mass critical and commercial acclaim, introduced gamers to the failed underwater utopia of Rapture, and is to this day one of the best games released on the Xbox 360. The lush visuals and intriguing narrative captivated players all the way to the shocking conclusion (a meta commentary on gaming itself), and repeating that experience seemed a nigh on impossible task, due to the sheer uniqueness of the game world created. The imaginatively-titled Bioshock 2 instead focuses on delving a little deeper into the world we had been introduced to, and whilst not necessarily delivering as accomplished a story experience, nails down the gameplay and provides a level of polish that ensures this is still a very good game.

Sensibly avoiding a contrived return to Rapture for the original protagonist 'Jack', this time around you play the original Big Daddy, awoken after an unspecified slumber to seek his original Little Sister, the daughter of Sofia Lamb, a psychiatrist who has taken over Rapture from its creator Andrew Ryan. The story this time around is weaker than the first. It’s still delivered by the same mechanics as the first one - audio diaries are scattered around Rapture that fill in interesting backstory and character development, and you are aided in your quest by various characters, who, much as in Bioshock 1, may have ulterior motives. In that respect it feels like a retread, just one of the many elements that felt so fresh in the first game but with a little sheen lost this time around.

Once again you are required to 'save' Little Sisters, should you choose to, and defeat a variety of other Big Daddies. However, this time around Big Sisters (Big Mummies for Bioshock 3, anyone?) are also lurking. Taking a considerable amount of effort and ammo to defeat (even on lower difficulties), and accompanied by ominous warning music, they prove a worthy successor.

Combat in Bioshock 2 has been vastly improved. The game, whilst short (roughly 7-8 hours), is still a challenge, even on lower difficulties. You can now wield a selection of plasmids in addition to a weapon and use them in combination, using the left and right triggers. Before playing the game I had watched trailers and thought it looked a little complicated in terms of the amount going on, but it’s actually quite intuitive to play.

The amount of options in terms of plasmids, ammo types (most guns have three types of ammo) is considerable and tactically you have a lot of options on how to use them, which adds a lot of layers you don’t find in traditional first person shooters. Simply put, a lot of these plasmids and weapons are damn cool. Whether it be setting a splicer on fire and then spearing them to a wall, or freezing one and then using the enormous drill to shatter them to pieces, you never get tired of concocting more and more imaginative ways to end their lives.

One reason for that is this game looks gorgeous. The amount of detail in this game is staggering, with not only each room packed with detail, but decay – its some years after Rapture’s heydays and with a near decade of neglect, Rapture has mutated even further from the previous game. It’s not often in a game you take your time to look around and soak in the atmosphere (literally in the underwater sections) but Bioshock 2 is full of those environments.

The big new feature of Bioshock 2 is the addition of multiplayer. To mitigate the ‘tacked on’ argument it has been given a bit of context with a story reason behind it, and a little window dressing with your own little lobby where you can access statistics and options. The multiplayer isn’t necessarily bad, in fact its quite fun in parts. Beginners can get involved and get a few kills (as opposed to some hardcore multiplayer games where you pop your head round the corner for two seconds and hit the dirt two seconds later), it tracks statistics to create its own little ‘achievement’ system and has mini-trials within the combat itself.

However, I can’t help but feel its addition is more of a commercial ‘tick all the boxes’ inclusion rather than a genuine extension of the single player experience, a move that is becoming all too common these days. In addition, for achievement whor…*cough* completionists, it will require a serious time commitment to earn all the multiplayer achievements.

‘More of the same’ with a world as rich as Bioshock’s is not necessarily a criticism, especially with a game this well made. It’s a hugely enjoyable experience, like returning to one of your favourite books, but feels more like more of an extension of the first one rather than a true sequel, in kind of the same way as Halo 3: ODST felt after playing Halo 3. Should a game like Bioshock, in which the story essentially ‘finished’, have even had a sequel? As I alluded to earlier, sometimes things make a lot more sense commercially than they do creatively (as Rush Hour 2 and 3, among many other, aptly show), and a successful game these days seems to automatically dictate a sequel whether there is room for it in the narrative or not.

Through nostalgia or not, a lot of people liked Bioshock 2, and I count myself among them. When the inevitable Bioshock 3 arrives, a new paradigm may be required, or a very literal world-weariness may set in.

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