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Reviews Comments: The Chain's Greatest Link Bio Shock 2 game review by Alhazred

Bioshock 2 has an extremely undeserved reputation.

The gameplay is far superior to the other two, with easy use of both weapons and powers, and no limited inventory. Subject Delta is a rare breed in effective silent protagonists; from the very first scene, our knowledge of the setting is exploited to make us as connected to Eleanor as he is. We know he can't be her real father, we know their existence and their relationship to each other can be nothing short of tragedy from the start. As we see Eleanor's connection to him hold fast even after she's deprogrammed simply because she knows how terrible her mother is and she has no one else, we are put front and center to that tragedy. Even the bad endings are satisfying because they revolve around how that relationship turns out. Sofia Lamb is an effective antagonist: we never question her conviction and her more subdued personality compared to Fontaine gives her evil a more personal quality. Unlike the first game's cartoonishly absurd bad ending, the crux of every ending here is based on what kind of people Eleanor and Delta have become. More subtly, the plot does not go off the rails like the first game, especially, did. The emotional climax comes at the actual climax instead of several hours too early.

This entry, like much Infinite, is hurt by Hype Backlash. The ultimate role the Big Sisters play in the plot, indeed, the very fact that there are more than one, is inferior to the original idea scrapped late in production. While Lamb proves to be a more interesting villain than the Big Sister-as-Big Bad would have been by virtue of having a face and a belief system to disagree with instead of just simple villainy, the Big Sisters are reduced to a Boss in Mook Clothing. Tennenbaum vanishes almost as quickly as she's introduced until Minerva's Den. Finally, while the endings may provide closure with reflection on the choices you've made, those actual moments of choice are downright banal and certainly do nothing to advance the concept of morality systems in games, a concept that was in serious need of advancing when this game came out and still now as of this writing.

This is by far the strongest game in the trilogy, suffering from neither the first's pacing problems and clunky gameplay, or Infinite's undelivered promises and convoluted ending.

Comments

  • threeballs
  • 13th Oct 13
couldn't disagree with you more I'm afraid, with the exception of the gameplay (improved from the original) the game pales into comparison with the others. The characters are far less intriguing, Lamb feels no where near as intelligent or dangerous as Andrew Ryan, instead she seems just a smarmy voice on the radio prattling on about her philosophies. Delta, like Jack from #1, has to carry the game being a silent protagonist, but while Jack character made sense, he was a stranger to Rapture yet with a strong connection to it, he has to be talked through the city, we learn as he does, and when the big twist comes it is genuinely shocking, giving us, the player, sympathy towards him and the want to see him succeed. Delta, meanwhile, is a mook in a suit, we are told he was an average joe who found Rapture and was transformed, but that's about it. The psychic connection between him and his little sister was lazy writing at it's finest, as Yahtzee pointed out "Adam is like the Force in Star Wars, all purpose plot filler."

The game could have been interesting, had it followed the detective character instead of Delta, he had a genuine reason for going to Rapture, drive to make him keep going, he's new to the scenario, and would very likely begin using the plasmids to aid in his quest. Big Daddies don't work as protagonists, they are lumbering automatons with no free will or goals, the attempts to give Delta these characteristics do not work, instead it's like playing the whole game like Jack at the end of the first game wearing the pieces of the suit.

The game is a mess, and stinks to me of development hell, with so many different re-writes and changes to the characters and story, the game reflects this and is a jumbled collection of occasional interesting ideas swamped under poor writing.
  • Turrican
  • 13th Mar 17
I was expecting to hate this game, but I wound up enjoying it far more than Infinite. Completely avoiding the Halo-like gameplay limitations of only 2 weapons and regenerating shields made it a far more satisfying gameplay experience, and the plot really expanded on the concepts introduced in the original, and although the characterisation doesn\'t quite match up, it\'s still a great story.
  • maninahat
  • 14th Mar 17
I thought it was a vast improvement over the gameplay of the first game, the only misstep being how the Big Sisters will try to kill you, regardless of how you treat the little sisters (this makes no sense).

In terms of story, the game couldn't beat the uncanny twist of the first Bioshock, nor capture the original shock and awe. But I like how it ends up becoming a much smaller scale and personal story by the end. This is what gets recycled in Infinite, with the crazy, sci-fi world ultimately serving as a physical manifestation of clashing perspectives, belonging to just a couple of closely related people. I also like how the story takes a lumbering, bovine man who can fight off enemies by the dozen, and turns them into a hapless, sympathetic victim of circumstance. Minerva's Den does an even better job of it. It also helps that it has a much more sensible, morality based ending depending on your choices, rather than a saint/supervillain ending of the first game.

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