At first glance BioShock 2 is just another first person shooter game. The player’s mission is to guide the main character through the remains of the underwater city Rapture, fight mutated humans and security robots and free the main character’s protégé.
What makes BioShock 2 a really good game is the excellent design and the elements of roll-playing and strategy games incorporated into the story:
- The underwater city Rapture is a fascinating scenario. Its inhabitants managed to build this monument of human ingeniousness but failed to establish an utopian society. As a result the would-be paradise turned into hell on earth. This is very well reflected in the grandeur of the architecture which is now mostly in ruins.
- At the beginning the main character’s abilities (and armament) are very limited. Over time he can however pick up two types of genetic enhancements, Plasmids and Tonics. Plasmids provide active powers like telekinesis or the ability to throw fireballs. Tonics provide passive abilities like camouflage or faster movements. These enhancements are however not easy to procure. A few of them can be found in secret locations but most of them need to be bought with a substance called ADAM. And collecting ADAM proves to be challenging as well. The player frequently needs to decide how to make best use of the limited supply of ADAM.
- Over the course of the game the player encounters a number of minor characters. Some of them are friendly, others are hostile and a few can even switch sides depending on your behaviour. All in all they are very well written and voiced which contributes to the atmosphere of the game.
- The player frequently has to defend a Little Sister against fiercely attacking Splicers. But thanks to an arsenal of special weapons like trap rivets, mini turrets and proximity mines it is possible to prepare for such a confrontation in advance to get the upper hand in the fight.
- The behaviour of the main character during the game decided the ending of the story.
BioShock 2 doesn’t feature an original game concept but it is really well made. Overall it is definitely worth playing and even tops the first game, BioShock.