Review by youngfrankenstein
"Haven't we taken this trip before?"
When I heard there was going to be a sequel to Bioshock, I wasn't all too surprised. Sequels seem to make up half of the video game market, even if the original wasn't very good (Kane & Lynch and Army of Two, to name a few). However, Bioshock was a game that I personally enjoyed. Looking it up on the internet you'll find gaming sites have placed it upon a pedestle, for a good reason, I guess. There are few, few games which came close to Bioshock's mood and atmosphere, and it was fun getting lost in the world.
So that's why Bioshock 2 doesn't measure up. Ever laugh the same way at a joke the second time around? It's not as funny, is it? Bioshock 2 looses a lot of it's potency because you go back to Rapture, the setting of the first game. And we, the players, have already played through it already a few years ago. Fighting your way through Rapture, again, feels like a rehash, and now that it's been sometime since the original's release, the game feels dated and aged. There are now many better looking games on the PS3 (and Xbox) but graphically, this game engine is a clone of the original. It's striking-- Metal Gear Solid 4 is getting a spin-off game called Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Although the graphics in MGS4 are still incredible even today, apparently team Kojima is going the extra mile to build a brand-new engine up from scratch. You don't get that kind of dedication to quality here. This is a dated game.
So are the enemies you encounter. Remember the women from Bioshock who had a sharp voice; who sounded a bit like Captain Janeway? I don't know why, but the developers got the same voice actress to come back and voice these same enemies all over again. Character models look antique (it's amazing how graphics develop in leaps in bounds over the course of two years) and in terms of gameplay, it's all the same. A few, few new things have been added, like tonics (which aren't really practical; you can tell the creative team knew these tonics didn't go in the first game because they're kind of useless) as well as weapons, which are rehashes of the weapons found in the first game. Remember the wrench, pistol and crossbow? Meet the Big Daddy counterparts, the drill, rivet gun and speargun, respectively. And remember how powerful the rivet gun was in Bioshock? For some reason, it's nowhere near as effective when you wield it.
But there are a few well done set pieces and the voice acting (for the most part) is strong. But listening to the denizens of Rapture spew senseless trite and listening to the Little Sister's warped voices has gotten old. We've taken this trip before. Bioshock is a game you play for atmosphere, and this is a very familiar one that we've played already. The team behind this game couldn't given us something really special; they could've broke conventions like they did the first time around but instead gave us an echo of the original. To me, this game feels like a downloadable level; some DLC rather than a full-fledged game. This goes for story, too. I'm afriad Lamb is no replacement for Andrew Ryan and Atlas. I've read reviews from corporate sites like gamespot and ign saying family is the big theme of this game, and although the word 'daddy' and 'father' is used a lot; the plot is mch weaker than the original Bioshock. The ending is sweet rather than tear-jerking (like how the last game's ending was) and there are plenty of unanswered questions.
Oh, and one final thing before I leave off. When you first pop the disc into your console, it'll immediately begin installing part of the game on your hard drive. But- there is no status bar to see how far along you are. Why not? What was the good of that? MGS4 had an initial install of 15 minutes, but there was a little bar there where you could drop in from the kitchen and check the progress. Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time had a video explaining the events of the previous games during the initial load, which was brilliant. Not including an install bar in 2010 is not only amateurish, but also exemplifies how much this game has aged.
If you're smart you'll do what I did and rent this game. There's practically nothing here to separate this from the original except the story, and the story of the original was better. Please stop making Bioshock sequels; Hamlet or East of Eden don't have sequels because they're classics and stand on their own. This, I fear is a shameless rehash, and Rapture should stay at the bottom of the sea.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/12/10
Game Release: BioShock 2 (US, 02/09/10)
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