Bioshock 2 - Review


You's the Daddy!

Let me begin by laying down a rather 'shocking' fact... I have not played the first BioShock! So the first question that I wanted to find an answer for is: do you need to have played the first BioShock in order to enjoy the second one? And that answer is... no. The plot in BioShock 2 doesn't particularly follow on from the first and gives you enough information to understand what is going on.

You star as a Big Daddy, which if you were like me and un-Shocked, then you wouldn't really know who/what that was. You are an iron-glad genetically enhanced guardian of the Little Sisters, who in turn are genetically modified little girls who run around sucking ADAM soaked corpses. Nice.

The setting is an underwater city called Rapture that was once filled with lots of cutting edge science, but has now turned into a ruined city where people fight over a gene-enhancing drug called ADAM, that ends up making you go a bit loopy.

You begin BioShock 2 having woken up from a 10 year coma and your one mission is to find your Little Sister, Eleanor who has been taken away from you Dr. Sophia Lamb, her mother. Sophia Lamb is now running Rapture, and doesn't want you anywhere near Eleanor and will do everything in her power to stop you.


This idea of playing as a protector, desperately trying to find your lost counterpart is set out in a very interesting way. This type of character dynamic is not a new concept, but the Big Daddies seem to be portrayed as a kind of dumb brute following the Little Sisters' every move. You are like a giant teddy-bear with a machine gun. You were engineered for one reason; to protect your Little Sister. With all the carnage that surrounds you as you explore the city of Rapture, it brings a sense of innocence to the character that all you can think about is finding your Little Sister.


You's the Daddy!

BioShock 2 at its essence is a shooter. You will spend a lot of time in Rapture killing your doped up foes in different, equally savage ways. You start with a drill that you can use to mash the opposition into pulp. You also get to pick up other shooting equipment a bit more like you would usually expect to find in a shooter title. Alongside these weapons you get to use plasmids. These are abilities you get that have characteristics like lightning bolts, telekinesis and other things to cause damage to the inhabitants of Rapture.

The battles themselves are much more tactical than your typical run-and-gun shooters. Utilising all of your plasmids and fire-arms, as well as the environments to your advantage is the only way to stay alive. Carefully planning the modes of attack brings out a more RPG side to BioShock 2. Going in guns blazing more often than not leaves you in a sense of panic - madly pushing buttons while trying to run away. Even on easy mode, none of the battles are a walk in the park.

Look and listen

This tricky combat system is enhanced by your characters apparel. Wearing an entire suit of metal is going to slow you down a bit. The sound effects as you walk and get shot at are brilliant. You can hear movement and screams from all over Rapture, which can add a certain sense of dread as you venture into uncharted waters. You will sometimes see other Big Daddies engaged in combat through windows which adds the idea that the world of Rapture is still going on around you.

The overall graphical style of BioShock 2 seems to be very similar to what I'd seen of the first game. I get the feeling that although there is a lot of eye candy to be seen throughout Rapture, it is probably not a great improvement on the first outing. Saying that though, from a first time BioShock player, the world of Rapture is breathtaking. The world has been thoroughly thought out and digests well as a very stylised environment.


Another thing that goes down very well indeed is the online multiplayer mode, which nods its head to the first game by taking levels from it, and making them the core focus of the multiplayer shenanigans. I've put a good few hours into this already, and have really enjoyed unlocking new weapons and plasmids and playing the very 'BioShocky' game modes. Adam Grab, anyone?


I have really enjoyed stepping into the world of Rapture. I think your overall enjoyment depends on how much you try and get out of your experience of the game. For example, there is a little yellow arrow that points you in the direction you need to take, and it can be quite easy to simply follow this without exploring too much. The same goes for finding and listening to the audio diaries. While mostly optional, listening to the tapes gives you a much bigger insight into the world and characters.

Personally, I found it very easy and engaging to explore the depths that Rapture has to offer, rather than rush through the game as quickly as possible. I think that regardless of whether or not you have played BioShock 1, this is a very strong and enjoyable adventure that really explores the ideas of morality and devotion.

An excellent emotional engagement into a genre soaked in shooters that often seem to be lacking in character development and feeling.

The Good:

  • Immersive and tactical combat system.
  • Underwater Ironman taking on the world!
  • Multiplayer's really good fun.

The Bad:

  • Sometimes manic and frustrating combat.
  • Could be seen as 'just another sequel'.
  • Where is the rest of the world?

Words by Tom Hewitt

SKU: Reviews-183463
Release Date: 17/02/2012