BioShock 2 PC Review

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BioShock, a first person shooter RPG from 2K Games, was released in August of 2007 on the Xbox 360 and PC to critical and commercial success. 2K Marin aims to take that success to a new level with BioShock 2. To this end, they dramatically stepped up the polish of the game and have obviously addressed many of the criticisms BioShock received as a first person shooter.

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BioShock 2 takes place 10 years after the original game ends. The main character, Jack, is long gone, and nothing you did in the first game affects anything that happens in the second. Instead this time around, you play as a Big Daddy, known as Delta, who is searching for his kidnapped Little Sister throughout the underwater station Rapture. The game is not so much of a sequel, but more of a new game set in the BioShock world.


BioShock 2 is rated M for Mature (17+) for

  • Blood
  • Intense Violence
  • Sexual Themes
  • Strong Language

Gameplay - 80 / 100

Looking at the game as a first person shooter, BioShock 2 improves in almost everything over its predecessor. The combat is fast-paced and requires strategy, such as setting up traps, finding the right avenues of approach, and choosing the right powers and weapons for each fight. You are now able to wield a Plasmid power and physical weapon at the same time. You can attack with both, or stun your opponents with your Plasmid power, then shoot them. Overall, Bioshock 2 gives you much more freedom in weapons and strategy than the original ever did. You can upgrade you weapons with effects such as lightning bullets and damage bonuses, giving the game more of an FPS feel.

The biggest problem with BioShock 2 is the story. Story is what made the original such an amazing game; you played to see how events unfolded, and you had to stop and really consider every choice you made. There were red herrings and twists, which kept you playing long after you said you would log out, much to your spouse’s chagrin. Sadly, BioShock 2 doesn't capture that same amazement. As you play, the game and story feel too familiar and uninspired. I found myself constantly thinking, "Been here, done that." The story frustrates you more as you search for some evidence of the impact your character would have had on the original game world. Unfortunately, there is no real reference to those events, no acknowledgment letting you know that the outcome of the first game meant something.

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Even worse, while the story of BioShock 2 has next to nothing to do with what you did in the original game, those who never played the original may still find themselves at a loss. What Adam is, and what Big Daddies, Little Sisters, and Splicers are is never really thoroughly explained. The developers seem to expect you to know the details from the first game, which is a rather sloppy design planning.

You have similar choices to make in BioShock 2 as you did in the original: do you save the Little Sisters or let them die? In the first game, that decision weighed heavily on me because of the great story that was unfolding. This time around, I found I really didn't care one way or the other. The story is solid, but it’s just not as gripping and captivating as that of its predecessor.

Graphics - 97 / 100

BioShock 2 looks great from both a technical and artistic standpoint. Models with crisp textures, dynamic lighting, and shadows make for a well-rendered environment. The look and feel of Rapture is stunning and dark. While you can walk around and recognize areas that are clearly from the first game, BioShock 2 brings them to life better than ever. They have taken the unique city and given it a face lift. While still unmistakably Rapture, it is a much improved visual experience.

Sound - 87 / 100

Most of the voice acting in the game is top notch with only a few notable exceptions. You learn most of the story through audio diaries that have been left around the station; all of these are of the highest caliber, sounding like old records from the 1950s. The survivors you encounter, both sane and insane, are well portrayed and quickly draw you into the story.

Aside from the game's dialogue, the sound and music is appropriate for the setting. From the plink of dripping water to the whirring of your drill mounted arm, the sounds are believable and well delivered.

Multiplayer - 87 / 100

Multiplayer in BioShock 2 is surprisingly well balanced and immersive. You are provided with 6 characters to choose from. As you get into the game, you’ll find that you are able to play many traditional FPS styles of gameplay with some new twists. In a game of Capture the Little Sister you run around carrying a Little Sister, who is screaming and crying the entire time, to let people know where you are. In other games, you can pick up Big Daddy suits lying around to wreak havoc on your enemies. It’s good, clean, deadly fun.

Multiplayer follows the standard Modern Warfare model of "perks" and build outs. As you play, you gain access to upgrades for weapons and various Plasmids, which make you a better killing machine the more you play. With perks available just often enough that it always seems the next one is right around the corner, the game becomes highly addictive in multiplayer. There are some lag issues, and a few bugs that can be annoying, but for the most part, multiplayer in BioShock 2 is a welcome addition to the game.

Value - 65 / 100

BioShock 2 provides about 10 to 12 hours of single-player game play. Even if you take your time and explore every aspect of the game world, you’ll be hard pressed to play much beyond 12 hours. This factor by itself doesn't mean it's not worth the money, but when you consider that the game doesn’t really bring anything new to the series, it's hard to recommend spending $50 for it. BioShock 2 does have a multiplayer aspect, which extends its playability lifespan somewhat, but considering that BioShock was such a story driven game, many players will look elsewhere for an FPS shooter.

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I would recommend waiting for the price to drop between the $30 and $40 range before buying.

Lasting Appeal - 60 / 100

Unlike games like Mass Effect 2, which provides dozens of different endings based on the choices you made during the game, BioShock 2 has only 4 endings--2 evil endings and 2 good endings. Suggesting that you’re going to want to see them all would be a stretch. Unlike the first game, BioShock 2 provides little emotional connection with the Little Sisters. I found that while I wanted to finish the game and see how it ended, but I wasn't moved enough to want to do it all over again to see a slightly different version of the ending.  I would find it hard to want to play the game more than twice before getting bored with the story.

Pros and Cons


  • Visually stunning game
  • Much improved FPS gameplay
  • Solid Multiplayer


  • Uninspired story
  • Only 10 to 12 hours of gameplay


While improving on many of the flaws in gameplay of the first game, BioShock 2 fails to provide the strong and compelling story that made the original so intriguing. While still a solid game, those who were hoping for the superb twists and an engaging story like the original BioShock will be mildly disappointed. It was a monumental task to give players such an engrossing story again. 2K Marin gives a great effort, but comes up a little short.

Overall 82/100 - Good


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