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So, Bioshock 2

Content of the article: "So, Bioshock 2"

  • Original Release: February 2010
  • Play/Finish: August/September 2020 (Remastered)

I played the first Bioshock back in 2009, about 2 years after its original release of August 2007. And I also played Infinite 13 months after its release in March of 2013. These two games are some of my favorites of all time, but I had never played Bioshock 2. I think I was turned off by its poor reviews. I tried playing it a few years prior, for a few minutes, but I guess I wasn't in the proper head space at the time, and I think I was also turned off by the fact that you are in a "knockoff Big Daddy suit" that would probably slow you down the whole game. Last month I said what the hell, and gave it another try, with all this prior knowledge. I was still put off by being in a Big Daddy suit, even though you get to wield the drill, but I powered through this time. I've always loved the Rapture setting, so it was refreshing to return after several years. As I progressed through the first few levels, I was reminded about how good the Bioshock universe brings you into the game like some twisted amusement park ride. However, it took a few levels before I felt fully invested in completing the game. Somewhere around Pauper's Drop, I suppose.

I admit that it was fairly challenging for me on the default Normal difficulty level, as I'm not as sharp as I used to be, so I went to the Vita Chamber a few times. Eventually, I started to save scum obssessive-compulsively so I didn't have to get reset. I basically save-scummed most of the game, especially before and after hacking safes, because the timing game can be hard sometimes. I don't care if it's cheating. I appreciate this style of gaming because in my older age, I have higher priority things to do, and if it helps me enjoy the game more, I'm going to do it.

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I wouldn't say I was a completionist, but I feel like I've gone through most areas to exhaust all the resources, pressing F repeatedly to pick up anything I could.

It gets a little spoilery from this point on, so warning.

Gameplay (Spoilers)

I got a few tips online that I just unintentionally ran across, namely using Vending Expert to make things cheaper, Cyclone Trap for Brutish splicers, and Hypnotize for key battles like the dual Big Sister battle. It made the game a lot easier, and I'm okay with that.

In the mid game, I started to enjoy it. Siren Alley, Dionysus Park, and Fontaine Futuristics were the core of the game and the largest chunk of the gameplay experience. The new Rumbler Big Daddy was pretty intimidating, until you figure out the combination of Telekinesis and large play areas to easily take it down.

It's in Siren Alley where I finally picked up on the ADAM gathering mechanic. I couldn't recall if this was in Bioshock 1, I don't think it was. But, using a Little Sister to gather ADAM was a cool gameplay feature. It drew out the tension, and gave me a chance to stage defensive stances, observing entry ways, corridors, and placing Trap Rivets everywhere. They're especially enjoyable if you can get another Big Daddy into the fray, and watch it battle it out with the splicers, something I do remember from the first game. There were some online comments that expressed frustration with ADAM gathering, but I particularly enjoyed it.

The Big Sister challenges were also high in tension, especially with the music that they used for it. Everyone must have come across the annoying Pauper's Drop Big Sister music bug, which I would understand if anyone just dropped the game due to, because it was downright annoying. Getting past that, the rest of the game was enjoyable. In the late game, I was sure to find a Big Daddy to be around when the Big Sister was hunting me down, so that they can just battle it out.

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I was also a hacking fiend. I'd hack any device, but especially turrets, rocket turrets, and security cameras. I liked hacking security bots, repairing them and the fact that they had names with the Handyman gene tonic.

Story (Spoilers)

As for the story, I enjoyed it a lot, even though it's criticized due to the 2K Marin "B" team working on the game. I don't care if Ken Levine doesn't consider it "canon", because it was a good story, and still made a lot more sense than Bioshock Infinite ever did. I loved the sequence when Lamb floods Siren Alley, and I loved all of the Gil Alexander craziness. I was hoping the story wasn't going to pull the Atlas trick with Sinclair, and they played that off nicely. And, I loved the references to Project WYK. The Little Sister sequence was interesting, and the final sequences with Eleanor in her own suit were great too.

End Spoilers

Ultimately, I'm glad I played Bioshock 2. Nowadays, I just get bored of games, so it's really hard for me to get engaged in them any more, so it was nice to know that I could escape back into Rapture. I really value my time, and don't ever want to feel like I wasted it playing a shitty game, and Bioshock 2 is far from this. Even if it doesn't fit nicely into the overall "canon" of Bioshock, it's a great fit as a Bioshock 1 sequel. I'm sure had I played Bioshock 2 shortly after 1, I would have been far less thrilled and engaged, because I can see how a lot of it can feel the same, and that it can feel more like a DLC. Giving it room to breathe (and waiting to play the remaster), gave me the chance to enjoy Rapture all over again, while still holding onto my emotional memories of the first game. I can't wait until they remaster these games again, using ray tracing (I can only dream).

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Now, on to Minerva's Den and Burial at Sea!


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