It’s hard to improve a great game. Though my verdict of whether Bioshock 2 will do that is still under development, the game shows a lot of promise.
The Bioshock games are first-person shooters for people who like seeing sights as much as shooting enemies. The first game, released in 2007, was filled with rewards for people who take the scenic route, such as additional powerups and an expansion of the game’s central storylines. In fact, there was so much in that first game that a new player was quickly put on information overload, forced to deal and play through the game without really understanding all the systems.
Bioshock 2 scales back that introduction very discreetly, and starts you off with much more story. Instead of a blank slate, your role as a Big Daddy is introduced with a story of how, 10 years ago, the Little Sister he was sworn to protect was taken.
All the publications I’ve read about Bioshock 2 describe the underwater city of Rapture as a dystopia. Because that, according to Merriam-Webster, is basically the opposite of a utopia, it’s a fair description. The game’s depictions of paradise lost and beauty decayed are lushly designed and artistically dizzying. The game play is basically the same as its predecessor: Smooth, intuitive and difficult as hell.
As for what’s bugging me: The levels I’ve encountered so far are much more linear. I feel like I have to thoroughly search every area before going on, because I won’t be returning. And the underwater scenes, which I had hoped would involve some battle, appear to be nothing more than field trips meant to show off the scenery.
Those are small gripes for a game that shows a lot of promise. I can’t wait to finish the story, then dive into the multiplayer experience.