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.
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