Monday, March 29, 2010

Xbox 360 - Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 by 2K Games

This is the sequel to Bioshock. While I was hoping for a lot of out of this title, it really doesn't deliver more than the original. That's not to say that that's a bad thing if you've never played Bioshock, but if you have you'll quickly realize a been-there-done-that moment.


The story is similar to the original Bioshock. You're tasked to wander around Rapture (an underwater city) and gather Adam from Little Sisters. As you gather Adam (a form of plasmid currency), you level up your skills. As you add and strengthen your skills, you can defeat bigger and bigger bosses. The point to each level is to ultimately progress to meet Eleanor Lamb (the voice who taunts you all along the way).


Effectively, you are a Big Daddy in this game. But, you also have the ability to use plasmids (a biotech system that adds such abilities as electric shock, fire and telekinesis to you). So, in addition to the arms you find (shotguns, spear guns and what not), you can use your bio abilities to help subdue your enemies. Not that the bio abilities are not generally strong enough to kill on their own, so you are forced to use a combination of bioweapons and guns to defeat opponents.

In Bioshock 2, the designers added trap rivets and mini-turrets. Trap rivets are only set off once someone gets in close proximity. So, now you can trap an area against splicers (and other enemies). This is important because of the way you must gather Adam now. In B2, you gather Adam by first killing the little sister's Big Daddy. Then you adopt the little sister. You then use the little sister to locate corpses that contain Adam and then have her harvest the Adam from that corpse. That would be great if it stopped there. Unfortunately, the game designers felt that simply gathering Adam was too easy. So all the while the little sister is gathering Adam, splicers start coming out of nowhere and attacking you and the little sister. So, this is why traps and mini-turrets are important. In fact, its better when you can find the corpses near turrets or security cameras that you've hacked. I could really have done without this constant attacking exercise, but whatever. If there were rhyme or reason to this exercise, I'd have probably enjoyed the attacks more. But, they're mostly pointless. Worse, many of the splicers tend to come up from behind you. So, you're constantly having to turn around.

You can only do 2 Adam gathers per sister. Once that's done, you can either harvest the little sister at a vent or you can let her go home. If you harvest, you get the most amount of Adam. If you let her go, you get less (about half). So, if you want to progress in the game faster, you really need to harvest.

After you've either harvested or let the little sister go into the vent, a big sister may or may not come for you. Now, the point in the big sister is pointless. Just an exercise to drain health and eve (what fuels your bioweapons). Big sisters don't always seem to come, but when they do they are relentless until you kill them. Frankly, they're easy to kill. Since you can regenerate, just keep hammering on her until she dies. You may end up in a regeneration chamber 5-10 times, but you can kill her without using any Eve, without firing a single shot or without losing any health packs. You'll lose about half of your current health when you regenerate, but find a health machine and you can boost again for 9 credits (or find booze or food).

Anyway, I have found the big sister battles to be mostly pointless. What they give you after you search them isn't worth the kill. It's just a way to waste time (and health) instead of focusing on the story. Frankly, you can continue forward on your level ignoring the big sister. She'll keep coming, but you can still search and move forward. You will need to eventually kill her, but it's not really that important overall. The one thing, though, is that a big sister gives you a little bit of Adam (around 20-40). So, it's worth it just to get the Adam, but it's not really enough to make it worthwhile losing that much health and eve. So, use the Vita Chambers to kill the big sister and avoid using up health.

Trap Rivets

While setting up traps can help you score Adam gathers, note one important bug in this system. There is a limit on the total number of traps that can be on the playfield. After you exceed that number, the oldest placed traps disappear without warning and, after they begin disappearing, you are wasting traps. Note, however, that the game doesn't warn you of this fact. They just disappear. So, be wary when placing a lot of trap rivets on the playfield. I believe the number is around 15 or so. I haven't counted the maximum number exactly, but that's about what I could eye in the area where i was playing.


You have the ability to purchase weapons, health and plasmids. Weapons and health require money. You find money on dead bodies, chests, cash registers, etc. To buy plasmids, you need Adam. This you obtain by harvesting little sisters (and killing big sisters). You can also find Adam on some underwater levels, so keep your eyes open.

Bigger and bigger weapons are found around the levels. You can't buy these. Some plasmids are unlocked by research (using the camera) or by finding them on levels. The major plasmids can be purchased.


The game quality is similar to Bioshock. But, the gameplay isn't different enough and the levels aren't different enough to make it a new unique experience. I felt that the game developers played it too safe and tried to create Bioshock too exactly. Instead, they should have taken a risk and tried something new. Like, for example, add brand new and unique plasmids. Make this underwater station clean and bright. Something, anything different would have made it a unique experience. It was just a too much been-there-done-that experience for me to say that it was really a great game experience.

If you haven't played Bioshock, by all means play this one. If you have already played Bioshock, then this won't be anything new for you. If you're looking for a new gaming experience, this isn't really it.

  • Sound: 7/10 (average, but splicer voices can be annoying)
  • Graphics: 8.5/10 (good, could see texture loading in-game)
  • Gameplay: 7.5/10 (reasonable controls and action)
  • Story: 6.5/10 (slightly better than average, but too much like Bioshock)
  • Bugginess: 7/10 (traps disappear after unspecified number on playfield)
  • Controls: 8.5/10 (worked well in most cases, camera made it hard at times)
  • Bang-to-buck: 2/10 (might replay for release instead of harvest)
  • Play Value: $10 (recommend renting first, buying if you haven't played Bioshock)
  • Overall: 6.5/10 (been-there-done-that for B1 players).

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