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Luke Mitchell
09 Feb, 2010

Bioshock 2 Review

PS3 Review | Welcome back to Rapture...
When Andrew Ryan first made his presence felt over the loudspeaker in the original Bioshock, we knew we were in for a treat. A damaged and tortured underwater city was in front of us to explore, and with great caution, we were introduced to plasmids and other unique weaponry, along with crazed Splicers, Big Daddies and Little Sisters. More than two years since the first Bioshock was released, these terms are familiar now, as is the beautifully disastrous world of Rapture; needless to say, we were excited to be invited back for another visit, and it's led to Bioshock 2 being one of the most anticipated sequels in quite some time.

See Rapture through the eyes of a Big Daddy.

See Rapture through the eyes of a Big Daddy.
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10 years have passed in-game since the first visit, and this time, rather than playing as somebody completely oblivious to the mysterious city, you play as a Big Daddy code-named Delta, who is on a something of a rescue mission. Searching for the Little Sister that you were originally bonded with, Eleanor Lamb, who is telepathically communicating to you and trying to assist you in your mission to save her. You have more free-will than the Big Daddies you regularly encounter throughout the game, who are mere bodyguards to the numerous Little Sisters that roam the city, still injecting needles into corpses to try and extract as much Adam as possible (the city's most valuable resource). It's not as easy as that, of course; you'll have Sofia Lamb (Eleanor's mother) who has a strange cult-like control over the Splicers that roam the city. They're stronger and smarter, and led by Sofia Lamb, have a drive to keep you from achieving your goal and preventing you from uncovering the dark secrets about your past and the city of Rapture itself.

As a Big Daddy, you have access to far more powerful weaponry including the massive drill which can be used to destroy enemies at close range, and a hydraulic spear gun which is not only incredibly effective, but also useful for pinning enemies to the walls for a creepy-yet-comical effect. Of course, you'll have access to a variety of plasmids as well, which can now be dual-wielded with your weapons so that you can easily interchange between your attacks; the more memorable ones remain from the first game such as Electro Shock, Incinerate and Hypnotize, along with some new fun ones that we won't spoil here. Experimenting with the plasmids throughout the course of Bioshock 2 is one of the most entertaining parts, playing around with strategies and skills to try and kill your enemies as inventively as possible.

The city is beautiful... in a creepy sort of way.

The city is beautiful... in a creepy sort of way.
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It's not all about killing Splicers of course (as fun as it is); much like the first game, Big Daddies still roam around with their Little Sisters, and to effectively progress and get stronger, you'll need to use the Little Sisters to gain Adam; rather than the simple moral decision from the first game either requiring you to save them or harvest them on the spot, this time around as a Big Daddy, you'll be able to adopt the Little Sister and then go and collect Adam from corpses that have been left lying around the city. When the Little Sister begins to collect however, you'll have to defend her from numerous Splicers which will come fast and furious to get to her and to kill you. The reward for this is of course is much greater as you will inevitably collect more Adam this way, which can be used for upgrades - and if you still feel like being morally 'bad', you can still choose to harvest the Little Sister after you've used them to collect the goods. And yes, these moral decisions will ultimately effect the outcome of the game.

However you choose to deal with the Little Sisters, the games newest and most disturbing enemy is definitely the Big Sister; and one of these characters is easily the hardest to defeat, and the creepiest you'll come across. After choosing to save or harvest a Little Sister, you run the risk of the Big Sister coming to try and take you down. You'll hear it shrieking from a distance and a warning comes up on the screen just to let you know that she is on the way, and it creates one of the more intense moments of gameplay as you wonder desperately which angle it's going to attack from. They add an important sense of dread which, combined with Rapture's general state of madness and disarray, keep the vibe being spooky, which is otherwise lost somewhat based on the fact that you're playing as a much more physically intimidating character yourself. The Big Sisters are stronger than a Big Daddy, but also incredibly agile to the point where they will be bouncing off the walls, firing at you with plasmids the whole time. Certainly not to be messed with unprepared, because she won't hesitate to rip you a new one!

...ahh crap.

...ahh crap.
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While the gameplay has certainly been refined and is more fluid this time around (plasmids and weapons can be used simultaneously and hacking is a much more simple and much less frustrating and disruptive process), if there is one thing to be said negatively about Bioshock 2, it's that the game world of Rapture does come off as being slightly less impressive this time around, more like visiting somewhere familiar rather than somewhere strange and unknown. Players of the first game will find that traversing certain areas and collecting plasmids comes off as 'going through the motions', and is less memorable and exciting. The game world that has been created is still amazing, and for those who somehow missed the original Bioshock, we can imagine the experience would be a totally different one. The graphics are impressive, and the vision of an underwater city in ruins still gave us 'wow' moments as we stopped to enjoy the scenery.

Water leaking through the walls and dripping from the roof, corpses thrown about the place and mixed messages written frantically all over the environment all add to the atmosphere. Splicers themselves also seem to have gotten even more deformed over the years, but will still take the time to converse with each other and partake in dancing with one another when not on alert. The sound has also been ramped up; from the shriek of a Big Sister to the familiar sound of triggered security bots and alarm bells, all with a classic soundtrack that has been ripped straight out of the 40's. There is a lot to love about the core design of Bioshock 2, which is the very reason why Rapture was such a marvellous place to visit in the first place, and while it may feel awfully familiar, it certainly doesn't change it from being one of the most impressively realised game worlds that has ever been created.

Well this looks promising...

Well this looks promising...
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For those who finish up the single player campaign (which will take some serious time to get through, especially those who make the effort to hunt down every Little Sister) and are wondering what to do next, there is also a multiplayer aspect included this time around. Set before the original Bioshock, you'll be able to battle one another online using a combination of plasmids and weapons as provided. It includes a levelling system reminiscent of the Call of Duty franchise, and while it might not necessarily be enough to entice a brand new group of gamers to the franchise, it is a bit of icing on what is a fairly delicious single-player cake, and we're glad it's been included for something a bit different and for those who can't get enough of the Bioshock experience.

Being a sequel to one of the biggest games of this generation so far meant that Bioshock 2 had a lot to live up to. Critically and commercially acclaimed, there were some pretty big shoes to fill, and we're happy to say that Bioshock 2 improves on the original in almost every way. The gameplay is better, the visuals are tighter and the entire project at many times can be compared to a fine artwork when it comes to the amount of mystique and sheer nervous excitement that oozes out of Rapture on a regular basis. Whether it's the strange messages found on the audio tapes littered throughout the game or the over-the-top ramblings of Sofia Lamb repeatedly being preached, or even just the amount of time you can spend experimenting with the multiple plasmids and weapons that are, quite simply, pure and utter fun; Bioshock 2 is a must-play game, and a very worthy sequel.
The Score
Refined gameplay and a wonderfully imagined return to Rapture makes Bioshock 2 a must play experience, and one of the best games available this generation. Incredibly effective and, like the first, leaves an impression that lasts. 9
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Bioshock 2 Content

BioShock 2 DLC due Thursday
06 Mar, 2010 More underwater multiplayer action.
Bioshock 2 prize pack winners announced
01 Mar, 2010 Who's your Big Daddy?
Win 1 of 10 Bioshock 2 packs
09 Feb, 2010 Includes free stuffs!
58 Comments
4 years ago
Damn the person who pointed out the cover of bioshock 2 looking like it has bomberman on it!! That's all I see now....everywhere!!
4 years ago
I don't know anything about this game and cannot to pick it up today.
4 years ago
I shall be journeying to my nearest JB on my lunch break and puchasing the PS3 version. Very much looking forward to playing it tonight.
4 years ago
its cheapest at Kmart at $78 so if you can get to one easily and they have stock...
4 years ago
Awesome. Wish I could play my 360/PS3 at work.
4 years ago
I don't mean to be pedantic, but the pluralised version of Little Sister is "Little Sisters", not "Little Sister's".

On topic, I'm just not that interested in this game. I really enjoyed the first because it was so fresh and atmospheric. It looks like this one will lose that simply for the face that it's a sequel.
4 years ago
the install on ps3 literally took 10+ minutes? I thought it was busted because it took so long. Seems like all of 2ks resources were put into this. All the studios are represented at the boot screen
4 years ago
Your complaining about the 10 minutes to install for 5GB? I think you havent installed other games on the PS3. Devil May Cry took over 20 minutes so having 10 minutes is good. Bayonetta took almost as long too.
4 years ago
phenomenon9999 wrote
Your complaining about the 10 minutes to install for 5GB? I think you havent installed other games on the PS3. Devil May Cry took over 20 minutes so having 10 minutes is good. Bayonetta took almost as long too.
been a while since I've had to do a long install. How long ago was DMC4? My bayonetta is on x360 and still sealed.
4 years ago
Hmm. A popular game it seems.

I shall pretend to have played it and complain on forums.
4 years ago
XBOX360 vs PS3

XBOX360 visuals = 8.5/10 - the waterfx + particle fx are all really sharp and the game's clarity is good. When you see things behind glass/water, it looks clear/sharp and not strangely distorted like the PS3 version. water effects (flowing down the stairs/bubbling/puddles) - all sharp and clear looking

PS3 visuals = 5/10. waterfx which is one of the best things about bioshock is botched and ugly looking. When the water is trickling/overrunning down the stairs, the reflection is a blob wherelse in the xbox360 version, its a very clearly delineated water reflection.

When you look through panes of glass to see the little sister/whatever thing is happening behind it, it looks low rez and its night and day from the x360 version. I got to the first save point and theres a bunch of candles on the floor and in the x360 version, you can see a teardrop shaped flames (as you should) but in the PS3 version, its a bunch of squares to represent the flames on top of the candles. Also has very bad dithering in distance objects. When I got to the first plasmid kiosk, from a distance, the neon saying gatherer's garden is a blotch. The texture work/AA impressions after having seen both version is that the PS3 version is also slightly blurry as a whole.


If you own both consoles. DO NOT BUY THE PS3 VERSION. Vastly inferior.
4 years ago
THEMAN wrote
XBOX360 vs PS3
So you have both?
4 years ago
yeah, got both versions.

anyhow, might post screenshots of both later.

I guess if you don't know what you're missing you won't be too affected. But I can't imagine playing through the PS3 version as my impressions of bioshock1 was the x360 version and the Ps3 version does not measure up to that at all.
4 years ago
will be playing this on steam when it unlocks icon_smile.gif
4 years ago
I love how everyone always jumps on the xbox 360 version of X game is vastly superior. Etc etc. Seems everyone always forgets a pc version even exists. At the end of the day, if its anything to do with fps, pc version will rip a huge hole in 360/ps3's face.

I myself will be one of the cool cats who'll be jumping on the pc edition.
4 years ago
Just out of curiousity why would something look clear when looking through running water or glass that probably hasn't had a good clean in about 15 years? If anything that aspect is sounding more and more like the PS3 is actually doing it right, either that or they've both got it wrong. Haven't seen either so I can't really comment though.
4 years ago
Got too much to play at the moment, but when I'm running low on games I'll get it.
FYI PC Gaming Master Race, 365 games are selling it pretty damn cheap (about $35AU inc. postage)
4 years ago
THEMAN wrote
yeah, got both versions.

anyhow, might post screenshots of both later.

I guess if you don't know what you're missing you won't be too affected. But I can't imagine playing through the PS3 version as my impressions of bioshock1 was the x360 version and the Ps3 version does not measure up to that at all.
I had both version of BS1 and after the PS3 version was patched I believed it was the better version graphically. no idea about BS2 as I dont plan on buying both, only reason I did for BS1 was I wanted the challenge rooms on PS3.
4 years ago
Tenenbaum sounds like Nastasha from the first Metal Gear Solid.
4 years ago
Zhou wrote
I love how everyone always jumps on the xbox 360 version of X game is vastly superior. Etc etc. Seems everyone always forgets a pc version even exists. At the end of the day, if its anything to do with fps, pc version will rip a huge hole in 360/ps3's face.

I myself will be one of the cool cats who'll be jumping on the pc edition.
I guess coz its a given that PC version will be better most of the time. Bigger res / faster controls etc.

Assuming you have a decent PC. A lot of people dont.
4 years ago
Agreed. After doing a bit of looking on the net it seems THEMAN is the only one who has experienced this graphical differnce... I guess ill wait and see if it becomes an issue before I choose which console to buy it on. Also why would you go out and buy the same game twice at the same time? Some of you guys around here have money to burn I tells ya.

Granted I admitted I bought both but played and traded my 360 version long before it was released on PS3
4 years ago
Hey I have a 360 and PS3 and they're both great consoles. THEMAN sounds more like Theboy to me (Fanboy that is). I'm sure the game is great on all 3 platforms (PC, PS3, 360).
4 years ago
I'll post screenshots shortly. Why is everyone so sceptical? I'm meant to be some sort of resident sony fanboy. Anyhow, YMMV in terms of how the dithering/lowresing of the water fx+particles will affect your playthrough. If you have both consoles and are getting it on consoles, pick the X360 version. Just looks wayyyy better.

As for Zhou's PC comments. Yeah. sure PC. I prefer to game on the bigtv though instead of the 27" in my room. I really need to get a kickass HTPC although I now have a mortgage and need to budget for a long holiday. I could drag this pc to the living room and have it all hooked up to the LCDtv but it'd ruin the aesthetics of my living room. icon_razz.gif I do have a xbox360pc controller. so...



VISUAL COMPARISONS from videogamezone.de

http://www.videogameszone.de/aid,704541/BioShock-2-Grafik-Vertgleich-zwischen-PlayStation-3-und-Xbox-360-Version/Bildergalerie/?menu=browser&mode=article&article_id=704541&entity_id=214071,214070&image_id=1246234&page=1&order=

but honestly, that is NOT how you do comparison shots. Its like they weren't even critically appraising the visuals.
4 years ago
My only complaint about the game so far is that Andrew Ryan sounds so wrong...
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  9/02/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  Take 2 Interactive
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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