Saturday, March 6, 2010

BioShock 2 on PS3 Impression

BioShock 2 on PS3
Upon entering Rapture in the first BioShock gamers experience a city trapped in time, ideals gone wrong and moral choices waiting in the wings. The history, the city and the creepy Big Daddy all presented gamers with a truly unique FPS, winner of many awards and just a great overall experience. Pretty tough standards to live up to but BioShock 2 manages to maintain the level of creativity even it it’s not surpassed. What makes this second installment wonderful in its own way lets take a look …

Gameplay – BioShock 2 is a first-person shooter (FPS) where gamers enter the underwater city of Rapture and use melee, ranged and special (plasmid) weapons to accomplish their goals. Bad guys, Splicers, Big Daddies and Big Sisters all stand in the player’s way of accomplishing their goal. The path is very linear but getting from point A to B still allows for gamer creativity in using various plasmid powers (electrify water baddies standing in) to hacking security systems and unleashing security bots. The unique ways of disposing of baddies from the first BioShock comes over nicely. The choice of save vs. harvest return and with Big Daddy’s personal ties, these choices are a bit tougher, or not for the twisted.

Graphics – Beautiful levels, creepy characters and shadows that do more and try to kill. Gamers new to Rapture will be amazed as the underwater settings, the level of detail in each corridor and just how creepy each Splicer is … even if some are cookie cutter designs. For those returning to Rapture the look is mostly the same with some new baddies to confront but the plasmid effects, weapons, everything looks just a tad better than BioShock but not jaw dropping different.

Sound – A carbon copy of the abandoned, haunted atmosphere found in the first BioShock. The Splicers are equally crazy and creepy in their ramblings and the Little Sisters have the demonic undertone to their innocent, I must harvest Adam, voices. The background music, both the soundtrack score and the 50’s and 60’s themed music give the abandoned halls of Rapture a personality all their own. BioShock 2 is an audio feast for gamers and does as much to draw gamers into the story as any character or setting.

Design – Returning to an isolated, mostly abandoned underwater utopia gone wrong holds many restrictions for game designers but it won’t be noticed as much. While many of the settings are familiar there has been enough wear, tear and decay to vastly change the city and as a Big Daddy gamers are seeing this uniquely crafted city through a different set of eyes. Rapture is unique, beautiful and haunting in its design and it’s rare that a games level, design, is as much a star as any other part of the game. Many feelings of Déjà-vu will present themselves to players of the first BioShock because even with such a well designed city it’s still Rapture, still under water and only so much can be changed.

Miscellaneous – Being Big Daddy. Rapture, its history, the Splicers, been there and done that. Gamers know about they history and mystery of the city but now it’s time to get inside the head of what seemed to be a mostly mindless monster. This Big Daddy has a history and purpose. The story develops around his awakening and mission to find his daughter … little sister. Moral choices must be made but why does a Big Daddy feel so powerless, normal, at the beginning of the game (this changes much later, patience gamers, patience).

Overall, BioShock 2 is a solid title that takes everything the first game did well and repeats while correcting some minor flaws. This leads to a title that feels more like a new episodes of BioShock, not an expansion, but not quite a full sequel with tons of updates and changes. Fans of the first need to pick up BioShock 2. The multi-player, not talked about, employs all the great gameplay mechanics and throws in prequel story points from before the first BioShock so added incentive to play there also. Point is BioShock 2 is a great FPS that will make gamers think about their choices while delivering a unique story where nothing is black and white. Adopt or harvest, easy or difficult; choices that will challenge gamers and make them think.

No comments:

Post a Comment