9.3 Bioshock 2 Review

In 2007, BioShock was released for the Xbox 360 with wildly unexpected levels of success. No one expected the game to be as phenomenal as it was and it earned over 50 Game of the year awards from various website and magazines. The strange thing is, no one really expected a sequel. This worried fans, and the fact that Ken Levine (the original creator of BioShock) had nothing to do with BioShock 2, didn't help allay fears. Bioshock 2 is finally here, and everyone is eager to know if it lives up to its legendary predecessor.

The story takes place in 1968, eight years after the first game, and as you can imagine, things haven't exactly improved in the so-called Utopia. Doctor Sophia Lamb, a Rapture psychiatrist, deeply believes in unifying the remaining citizens of the city, calling them "The Rapture Family". Dr. Lamb is sending out Big Sisters to kidnap little girls from the surface and bring them back to rapture so the ADAM fueled gears of the city don't stop turning. You play as Delta, the first prototype big daddy, who has got some pretty legitimate beef with Dr. Lamb. Lamb robs you of your little sister, Eleanor, but also (without going into spoiler territory) forces you to make a pretty painful choice. Shortly after waking up from the "Lamb incident" you get a message from Eleanor, who isn't so little anymore, telling you that she desperately needs you to find her. Your mission is pretty clear after that: find Eleanor and find out what the hell happened while you where KO. Thankfully, some of the sane citizens, like Dr. Tenenbaum, and the selfish Augustus Sinclair (the creator of Sinclair Solutions), are willing to help you. You also get to meet entirely new faces, like the acclaimed Rapture jazz singer, Grace Holloway. What's unfortunate, though, is that Delta's interaction with each character in the game is somewhat repetitious (it almost seems the same for everyone you encounter). The characters are more like chess pieces that, depending on how you've manipulated them, change the end cut-scene of the game. To add to the impressive storyline, audio diaries also make a return with the same quality of work put into them as in the first one. The story can get a bit confusing at times, but it's exceptionally well written, and as more secrets get revealed to the player, he or she will sink deeper and deeper into the plot and characters. Nevertheless, players might find it difficult to get really interested in the main character until close to the end of the game. Delta is simply a bit of a dull figure. Not much is known about him, and this is probably the way you'll feel until certain specifics are revealed in the last few hours of the game-which then skyrockets the interest in him! The game starves the player of almost any information in the first 75 percent of playing-time, and then most of the important information hits the player at once. This effect can be extremely overwhelming. I can almost guarantee that you're going to put your controller down several times in the last few hours of the game to mentally unravel the massive amounts of information thrown at you.

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