BioShock 2 - game review

Date: 2010-02-12 11:59:00
The review was based on the PC version.

This game starts out like a boring clone of the first BioShock , then gradually becomes more complex and surpasses its predecessor, to finally abandon our own patterns and lead us by the hand and brain through a two-hour spectacle in a speeding roller coaster. So we have another sequel, which is more polished than the original, and the stagnation in "equipment generations" is once again good for everyone. Only this time it is not as rosy as with the sequels Assassin's Creed and Mass Effect . Because, while BioShock 2 actually plays nicer than the first part, the impression he left will always remain in the shadow of Ryan, Fontaine and Sander Cohen.

We return to Rapture as Big Daddy. We, the players, come back, because our hero never left the city - he was inactive due to the events presented in the intro. Daddy wakes up a few years after Jacek's visit to the city. The events of the first part, "canonically" looking, led to the release of all the Little Sisters and leaving the dying debris to be devoured by the ocean - so happy ending was adopted. However, after a few years of peace on the Atlantic shores, children are starting to disappear. Someone resumes the production of ADAM, packs sea snails into the stomachs of another batch of girls, and at the same time recruits their own army of Genophages (genetically deformed ex-citizens of the city). And our Daddy - deeply indifferent to all of this - only wants to be reconciled with his former little sister. Unfortunately, Eleanor seems to be at the heart of the new, reborn Rapture.

The story starts with a kick, and then for the entire 8-10 hours of play it leaves exactly as many understatements as needed. And most importantly - it does not exploit or duplicate the patents from the first part. The plot is not so surprising (the "twist" is true, but we accept it with peace) - it focuses on a fairly cheap moralizing about forgiveness, love and sacrifice for others. Known for the "one" topos of free will and jumping on the ideological foundations of Rapture appears somewhere in the background, but does not absorb. Maybe it's the creators' idea, maybe it's a habit. After all, we already took this philosophy course for the uninitiated three years ago.

The end of the adventure depends on your decisions. Again, we face the dilemma of killing or saving every little sister we encounter. But what is surprising is not the end. During the game, we will also make choices about whether to leave a certain person alive (or not) - whether it is helpless, asking for mercy, or even asking for a peaceful death. Each choice has a greater or lesser impact on the situation we encounter at the end of the game. And it is not about whether the Sisters will help us in the end or they will kill us - luckily, because I was afraid of a cheap repeat.

Both the storyline and the environment we enter, for understandable reasons, will not be remembered for us like the first trip to the underwater city. We are dealing with a short story set in a world about which an epic has already been written. Nevertheless, wandering around new locations will enrich our knowledge about it and bring a lot of cognitive and emotional satisfaction. The audio logs are back, the main means of telling Rapture's true story - this time they are not as polished as before, but they are still worth looking around for. An extraordinary narrative solution is also filling most locations with a whole lot of small, unique clues. When we get to Eleanor's former apartment, we find her old toys, a cradle, and even a scale drawn on the wall, on which someone regularly marked the girl's height. It's easy to miss and so much fun to lose. When playing BioShock 2, keep your eyes open. The destination on the map does not necessarily have to be the first place where you should direct your heavy steps.

Enough about the narrative. This was the domain of the first BioShock game . The language of the "deuce" is gameplay, much more complicated and original. To the fore is the possibility of the simultaneous use of firearms and plasmids ("magic powers", if you do not really know it). This solution requires a large divisibility of attention and a lot of practice, and the opponents are rather not understanding and force us to use all available gadgets. And there are a lot of these, because apart from a number of guns (including a rivet gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, machine gun) and plasmids (arson, electric shock, swarm of insects, freezing and others), we can find here various types of ammunition for each gun - anti-personnel, anti-tank , exploding, "missile", creating traps, destroying turrets and so on. There is also the possibility of conducting research by using a spy camera (it works similarly to the original) and hacking security systems (cameras, guard robots, turrets). And for all this, we have several dozen tonics, i.e. passive skills, from which we must compose our own combat layette. There are plenty of possibilities, and in terms of gameplay complexity, the game is far ahead of its prototype.

The game features a well-known economy system. From time to time we come across vending machines-shops, and we get money from defeated opponents and by searching all cabinets, chests, safes and other hiding places. We use money to buy healing agents and ammunition, while character development requires a different currency - ADAM. This drug that allows genetic modification is obtained by the little sisters from the corpses scattered around the city. Each girl is watched over by a separate Daddy, which we will have to get rid of in order to embrace her. I have already written about the moral dilemmas behind this: we can kill the girl right away, wait until she is full of ADAM and then execute her or save her after the collection is over. Each variant will provide a different amount of a priceless substance and - in a wider perspective - will affect the difficulty level of the game. The hardest part is being good.

On each level we visit, there are two or three little sisters that we can (but do not have to) take care of. When we deal, one way or another, with all the girls on the map, we are attacked by Big Sister, a character well known from the BioShock 2 advertising campaign. And this is one of the few moments when we see a new type of enemy here. The fights with these monsters are the most difficult moments of this and so quite difficult game, although - to be honest - I was a bit disappointed with their not very significant role in the course of the game. The Big Sisters, after all, play a similarly impersonal role here as the Daddies - they are only instruments in the hands of those who control them. We must prepare ourselves to fight them, unless we are not ashamed of using the so-called vital chambers. Same as in the first BioShock, whenever we die, we are resurrected with a partially restored health bar at a nearby respawn point. Hardcore players can, of course, disable this feature from the menu.

BioShock 2 has a multiplayer mode. Information about it, disclosed many months ago, was a certain (nomen omen) shock. The multiplayer mode is fictionalized and tells the story of Rapture's fall after New Year's Eve in 1959. After launching the multiplayer, we move to the main character's apartment, which was meant to be a lobby - in practice it is completely impractical and there is no point in looking there, it's better to do everything traditionally from the menu level. And the gameplay itself? Dynamic, fast, chaotic. Old school even. The team responsible for this part of the game took a number of solutions from the most popular brands (perk-tonics, challenges, collecting experience points), but equipped the game with mechanics that I have recently found in Resistance 2 - i.e. with a light wooden, breakneck hustle and bustle. There are some original solutions (e.g. hacking turrets, taking photos of corpses that increase the damage dealt to a given player, the possibility of a temporary transformation into a Daddy), but in a few months, no one will remember it anymore. The best proof is that almost no one plays the "original" game modes like ADAM Rush (capturing little sisters), and everyone is in the FFA.

The game looks more or less the same as the first BioShock. Same atmosphere, same textures, same special effects, same level of technology. So it's nice that I will skip three-year slogans about art deco and Gershwin. The music is basically the same - most of the songs just repeat themselves. It is logical, because how would newer vinyls be found in the jukeboxes of the destroyed Rapture? Overall, from the Max Payne-like theme from the menu (someone also associates it?) To the last frames of the movie crowning the adventure, BioShock 2 attracts our attention. And locations can be engaging, interesting and terrifying (especially at the end). The only thing that is sad is that the PlayStation 3 version looks much worse than those for the Xbox 360 and the PC. On the X360 we watch the reading of textures a bit too often.

Shock. BioShock 2 is a game better than the original. Better as a game but not as an experience. The context of its creation is positive - it's nice to see the production so refined, so well thought out and made with evident passion. The authors focused on the game, this time moving the realities of the world and the storyline to the background. A risky procedure, but it was successful and the time spent with this production is just great fun. So what, in two years we play the role of Big Sister?

Krzysztof "Lordareon" Gonciarz