(http://www.bioshock2game.com/) Rated Mature by ESRB. BioShock 2 is the direct sequel to the popular BioShock first released in 2007, which won numerous Game of the Year awards. Eight years after the events of the first game, the player can experience Rapture with a different set of eyes. The dystopia features the same steampunk styled underwater labyrinth populated with its unnaturally evolved citizens called splicers. Due to its immersive nature it’s easy to forget what kind of game BioShock is, but basically it is a survival adventure game played from the first person view.

(http://www.bioshock2game.com/) Rated Mature by ESRB. BioShock 2 is the direct sequel to the popular BioShock first released in 2007, which won numerous Game of the Year awards. Eight years after the events of the first game, the player can experience Rapture with a different set of eyes. The dystopia features the same steampunk styled underwater labyrinth populated with its unnaturally evolved citizens called splicers. Due to its immersive nature it’s easy to forget what kind of game BioShock is, but basically it is a survival adventure game played from the first person view.

**WARNING** The following video may contain content inappropriate for children**

Presentation:

BioShock 2 puts the player in the metal armor of the prototype Big Daddy, subject Delta. But even iron-clad in heavy steel, the dystopia of Rapture isn’t any less immersive or horrifying. In fact, the grotesque nature of Rapture is shown right from the beginning as subject Delta accompanies his Little Sister to collect the life essence, ADAM, from corpses. After a peek of Rapture’s initial glory, subject Delta wakes up years later in a war-torn Rapture, and his Little Sister gone. Biochemically altered to have a fatal bond with his Little Sister, he must locate her to avoid death. Traveling through Rapture is eerie and unnerving, and its underwater setting is even more realistic now the player sometimes walks the bottom of the ocean between areas. Even while inside Rapture, the numerous leaking walls and pipes all look as though the area will implode at any given moment.

 

From first person view behind subject Delta’s mask, BioShock 2 is one of the most immersive titles to come by recently. Everything that happens in BioShock 2 are perceived by and directed to the player’s eyes and ears as though they are subject Delta’s, adding a deep level of personal interaction between the player and the story. Even more so, the decision points in the story are affected by the player’s action carried out by the game controller as supposed to some dialog option. 2K couldn’t have done a better job of letting the player know what it means to be a Big Daddy.

       

Graphics:

For those playing on console and therefore do not have adjustable graphic quality, what BioShock 2 lacks in technical prowess is made up by clever placement of details. When inspected closely, more interesting items have noticeably higher level of detail to their texture. Using Havok Physics and Unreal Engine, Rapture contains many objects in the environment that can be interacted with in one way or another. These include flushable toilets, taps that can be turned on, and many breakable objects. Although not essential to gameplay, they do provide a more personal experience to the exploration.

 

Sounds:

Even though subject Delta himself never says a single word, the talented voices behind the characters piece the story together with their personal perspective and motives. Some are earnest, some charismatic, and some cold and manipulative, the consistent part here is that they are equally believable; which only serves to make the decisions much more difficult. The voice actors had also matched their speaking to those of the old movies, matching the game’s retro setting. The music is from the 1960s and before, some of the included genres are the beautiful pop ballad, swing, and Jazz. While the emotion and lyrics of the music may not be a perfect fit to the environment or the story; they add to the game just by being old, like broken records in the wasteland of a familiar culture.

        

Gameplay:

Being a Big Daddy this time, the player wields much heavier weaponry. Furthermore, subject Delta is capable of using plasmids and guns simultaneously. Plasmids are genetic enhancements that will allow the user to use various magic-like abilities, such as telekinesis, incinerate! to spew fire from the hand, or electro bolt fired from the finger tips. There are also the summoning-like hacking abilities to turn security systems into allies. The varied arsenal makes combat gratifying, even more so when the player explores the many creative combination of ammunition and plasmid to dispose of the opposition. There are also the passive abilities called tonics, which are always active once equipped. Some tonics are better suited to certain style of combat than others, allowing even more variety.

 

The multiplayer mode details Rapture’s civil war from the perspective of a few Rapture citizens as they greedily evolved themselves and become splicers. The game mode themselves are not particularly noteworthy since most of them are frequently used by other shooters. However, the ranking system will have the player experience the greed that brings about destruction. As they rank up, these characters gain more than just new clothing, weapons, and plasmids, they also unlock audio diaries that add bits and pieces to the story. By lusting after power given by ADAM, some may even feel remorse from introspecting.

 

Innovation:

Although Rapture looks and feels quite similar to how it was in the original, and even more so in the multiplayer maps; it is still very refreshing because the most attractive element, the story, is vastly different. Not only the characters have different motives and therefore different objectives, playing through the single player campaign as subject Delta sheds new light on the relationship between the Big Daddies and Little Sisters. As a Big Daddy, subject Delta also have the option to adopt Little Sisters and have them harvest ADAM, but doing so will attract attention from splicers and it’s up to the player to protect her.

       

Longevity:

The single player climax of BioShock 2 in itself is almost a prompt for the player to play the game again, by displaying all the decisions made by the player. As with the original BioShock, a major moral decision involved is the treatment of the Little Sisters. Treating them one way or another can greatly alter how the story ends, so some may want to replay the game fully to see what the other ending has to offer. But it would be much easier to restart if the game gives just a tiny bit of incentive to make the second playthrough easier.

 

Conclusion:

When companies release games in a series, they are usually a prequel or sequel. However, in the case of BioShock 2, it is a prequel in its multplayer and a sequel in its single player. 2K Games had done an excellent job in expanding the story of Rapture, and not just cashing in by repeating the story with different characters like in some other horror survival games. In single player, being in the armor of a Big Daddy, the player can develop a deeper understand for these unfortunate men and may even develop sympathy for them. And in the multiplayer, the player may understand from a first hand account, the catastrophe that befell the original BioShock in retrospect. So despite being similar on the surface, BioShock 2 is an experience that expands vastly beyond the original.

 

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