Summary: The sequel, be it book, movie, game or even album, fans always want the chance to recapture the magic of discovery a second time. In the gaming world often a sequel means some cosmetic changes and a few innovations and that’s good for most. 2007’s “Bioshock” on the other hand didn’t amass legions of fans with providing them an online arena for first person mayhem or the chance to live our their sports fantasy.
Summary: Memorable stories in first-person shooters are increasingly uncommon. That's one of the many reasons the BioShock franchise shines so brightly--and the biggest motivation for playing Minerva's Den, an emotionally touching downloadable add-on for BioShock 2 . At a reasonable $9.99, Minerva's Den is a must-play for those who have lost themselves in the carefully crafted underwater dystopia known as Rapture.
Pros: Intriguing story that comes to a surprising and poignant end, Atmospheric visuals and sound effects really draw you in, Fun combat is further energized by new weapons, plasmids, and enemies, Great level design makes battles tense but never frustrating
Cons: Narrative structure is just like previous BioShock stories, A few of BioShock 2's irritations continue to linger
Conclusion: BioShock 2 sets out to make a name for itself, and overall it does. It improves on the original's gameplay while telling two different stories across modes. The experience isn't as powerful at the end, but the Little Sister bond makes up for that.
Excerpt: When I played the original Bioshock back in 1997, it hit me personally. Not just because it was the game I played when I suffered my first Red Ring of Death, but it brought back memories of another great series I used to play on the PC, System Shock. It was a great first person adventure shooter with a nice touch of survival horror, made even better with the addition of plasmids and the deadly Big Daddy protectors.
Conclusion: I'm impressed that a game company identified a working formula and went with it. Bioshock 2 works because Bioshock worked. It's nice to see 2K Games got the story right, as it works well with the ending of the first Bioshock. As for the gameplay, it's essentially the same, but improvements with weapons and plasmids makes it a little deeper. The addition of multiplayer just ices this cake and gives you a little more reason to add Bioshock 2 to your library.
Conclusion: BioShock 2 is an enjoyable experience in its own right regardless of the few niggles which hold it back from being a true masterpiece. The game is unmistakeably more focused on combat than its predecessor, whose shadow it fails to step away from due to lack of atmosphere courtesy of a removed sense of isolation. Thankfully, the weapons have never been more thrilling to wield, the powers never more necessary and the enemies never more challenging.
Excerpt: Many people had mixed feelings when 2K Games announced that they would be making a sequel to BioShock . I was among them. I worried just how a game with such an original concept, a surprisingly beautiful, yet creepy atmosphere, and no intentions for a continued story could be followed up.
Summary: Rapture, Andrew Ryan's failed utopia under the sea, remains one of gaming's most compelling worlds to inhabit, and BioShock 2 does a great job of drawing you in and making you feel right at home. But while it certainly feels good to be back in Rapture and there is plenty to enjoy here, the game doesn't quite pack the same punch as the original.
Pros: Rapture is as hauntingly gorgeous as ever, Tons of weapon and enemy variety, Hacking tool keeps gameplay flowing, Sound design is ridiculous
Cons: Story structure = missed opportunity, Uses Rapture as a crutch too often, Multiplayer works but feels vestigial
Summary: When the city of Rapture was first unveiled, it was an underwater dystopia ravaged by civil war and self-destructive genetic manipulation. This strange and unforgettable world was also one of awe and wonder. Set nearly a decade after the events of its precursor, BioShock 2's Rapture is just as haunting and atmospheric the second time around (and perhaps even more so), but the sunken tomb of Rapture has lost much of the mystery that made it so memorable.
Pros: Expanded set of moral quandaries, Story expands upon the world of Rapture, Fantastically atmospheric and creepy, Improved combat mechanics, Fun and engaging multiplayer
Cons: Less memorable story than BioShock, A bit too familiar for fans of its precursor
Conclusion: Is it the game of the year? Possibly not. Graphically there isn’t much in the way of improvement from the first, but it does still look good. It might not quite be as long as the first Bioshock game either. But the new story keeps you gripped at all times due to how well it is written. The introduction of a multiplayer mode also makes Bioshock 2 one of the best games I’ve played since the original was released.
Pros: Fantastic story. Keeps you gripped. Now has multiplayer.