Bioshock 2Continuing the ongoing series in which I review games many months after their release (I'm thinking it might have managed a year actually), I recently played Bioshock 2.
Its pretty fun. Rapture is a gorgeous world to explore, and playing as a big daddy was cute, and also gave you a clear motivation, something that wasn't entirely obvious in the first game. The story is adequate. There are no real twists and turns, and the main villain's plan is basically nuts- there is an attempt at the notion of a competing philosophy with Lamb's collectivism, but the reason it fails is not as evidenct as with Ryan's plans. It does the job. One nice element thats added in is that along with the little sister choice from before you can now choose to spare several npcs, which is a really nice touch (although I don't know how any humans survive in rapture- one thing the game never makes very clear is how they manage to command the splicers at all), and has a fairly interesting impact to the game ending. Its certainly a bit more nuanced than the original game.
The action is a lot more fun, than the original. You end up fighting over the same areas a lot, and with the ability to use plasmids and weapons together it can get very good. The game has a habit of throwing hordes of enemies at you, which is mostly fun. It doesn't always work. Part of the game is protecting little sisters as they gather adam, but you can't choose which corpses you gather from. This is probably a way to make sure you don't use the same part of the level repeatedly, but it would have been far better if there had been multiple choices, each in a different area. There are certain corpses that require defence from all angles and end up being incredibly frustrating.
Also the completist in me likes to do these sections all at once, and they eat up ammo and health, which the game is a bit stingy about to be honest, so the only real choice is to wonder and explore, or just keep coming from the vita chamber. The vita chambers make a mockery of the little sister fights, which are my least favourite part of the game. The big sister appears after you have saved the final little sister in any section, which means you are usually low on health and ammo, and thus often get sent to the vita chamber and have to fight again... while being even lower on health and ammo. Their health reduces, so you wittle them down, but its hardly an epic fight. I suspect you can turn the chambers off, and its probably the best idea, to force you to re-load and fight better, as the alternative is just boring.
Still, at a certain point in the game you find yourself with massess of ammo and powers, which makes the last third of the game immense fun as you conduct massive battles, harnessing all your considerable power.