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Bioshock 2!

The sequel to the award winning adventure game has finally arrived, and is bigger then ever, but will BioShock 2 be able to meet the high standards of the first game?

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Have You Seen...? BioShock 2 is stationed in the same place as the first title, a utopia for the rich, famous, and powerful called Rapture. Rapture is a place where the brilliant can do nearly whatever they like, without being hindered by anything or anyone.

However, Rapture's demise began when an unusual substance, found inside a specific sea slug, is discovered. This substance, called "ADAM" allows the user to instantly alter their DNA using a process called "Splicing".

Splicing the DNA with the ADAM can give you unimaginable power, such as massive intelligence or terrifying strength. When overused though, it can turn the user insane.

Eventually, nearly all of the denizens of Rapture became addicted to this powerful gene altering essence and the entire civilization fell into ruin. Now, nearly every person living within Rapture is insane, and will kill anything for the chance at getting more ADAM.

This time around you will be playing as the Big Daddy, the hulking beast and most iconic character from the BioShock world. The Big Daddy is the sworn protector of the Little Sister, little blood-drinking girls who harvest ADAM from dead bodies and keep it inside of themselves.

Sea slugs within them separate the ADAM from the blood they drink, but because they carry the ADAM inside of themselves they are walking targets for the mad citizens of Rapture.

The game begins before the fall of Rapture, as you follow the Little Sister to collect ADAM. When she is attacked, you are eventually separated from her but remember nothing after that point.

Roughly ten years later, you awake in an attempt to find your Little Sister and find out who, or what, you are and what exactly is going on.

The storyline of BioShock 2 is very unique, as it was in the first game. Throughout the game you will encounter a number of other characters that have a significant affect on you, and all in all the story just feels like it comes together extremely well.

Daddy's Home: On the gameplay side of things, playing as the Big Daddy brings just a bit of change to the combat and how the world and environment react to you. As the Big Daddy, you possess more powerful weapons then you may have seen in the first BioShock. From a drill that you can use to eviscerate your enemies with to rivet guns that can pick away at foes with from a distance.

Environmentally, you will also not be attacked by certain things. While cameras and sentry bots can still spot you, some things like "Trap Rivets" (basically trip wires) will never harm you.

Come To Papa: Throughout the game, your main opponent will be the "Splicer". Splicers were once residents of Rapture, but have since gone mad. The majority of the time you will catch Splicers fighting it out for each other's ADAM supply, but at times you will encounter organized groups.

While your common foes are no longer sane, some people have left "Diaries" around the city that you can listen to for insight on the story and your ultimate objective. Sometimes they are from the enemies you face before their mental breakdown or sometimes it is from mysterious individuals that may be allies down the road.

In the game, Splicers are actually quite intelligent. They will sometimes hide behind cover, and if traveling in groups they will surround and attack you from all angles.

Even on the "Easy" difficulty, the game can pose somewhat of a challenge at times, especially when multiple forces are being thrown at you.

The gameplay in BioShock 2 is actually very similar to its predecessor, and if you liked the first game's combat, you will find yourself right at home here.

L337 Hack0rz: A big portion of BioShock 2 is the ability to hack certain systems around the city. From health dispensing vending machines and ammo distributors to sentry bots and computer systems, you will often find yourself fiddling with the innards of circuitry.

When hacking, you will be required to stop a moving marker inside a green or blue zone. You can also stop it in the red or white zone, but stopping it there will only hinder you (if stopped in the red, you will set off alarms. If stopped in the white, you will receive a shock).

The hacking mini-games add a nice little touch, and depending on what you're tinkering with the hacking can get quite difficult and, if you set off alarms, frantic.

Not so fresh anymore: The visuals in BioShock 2 are mostly unchanged from the first game. While the graphics were quite impressive the first time around, after two years of passed time you cannot help but feel like the graphical engine is showing its age a bit.

Now, I am not saying the graphics are bad by any means. You will see detailed environment and lifelike characters throughout your journey, but the visuals are just not as strong or popping as they were two years ago.

On the audio side of things, you will find a lot of thins to appreciate. The voice acting in the game is superb and every character will easily engross you into the storyline and universe of Rapture.

In addition to that, environmental noises help add a nice degree of eerie-ness. From ominous creeks and yells to hearing the final breaths of a random dying citizen, there are plenty of sounds to keep you "in the game".

Variety Pack: BioShock 2 includes a brand new addition to the franchise that has garnered very mixed reactions among the gaming community: multiplayer.

It is already well known that the BioShock series is heavily focused on the narrative of the single player, but this time around 2K and Digital Extremes (the makers of the multiplayer) have decided to add some multiplayer action into the mix.

In the multiplayer, you work for Sinclair Solutions Consumer Rewards Program as a Plasmid test subject. You must compete against and alongside other S.S.C.R.P. members in order to gain ADAM (experience in this case) and level up.

First off, there is a large variety of gaming modes to choose from in BioShock 2.

Survival of the Fittest, which is basically just a free-for-all mode where you battle against up to nine other players in an all-out war to earn points. You earn ADAM for each kill, and the first to 200 points, wins the match.

Civil War is your typical Team Deathmatch mode. Your team goes up against the enemy team and just murder each other until the timer runs out or a team reaches 200 points.

Capture The Sister is a team-based mode where both teams will fight for control of the single Little Sister in the match. In each match, one team will be assigned as the defenders and the other will be coined as the attackers.

Turf War is not unlike the mode "Domination" in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. There will be three territories on the map, all of which both teams will be vying for control of. As you control each territory, you and your team gain points and the team that hold a territory for the longest period of time wins.

ADAM Grab is similar to the Capture The Sister mode, except in a free-for-all format. Everyone in the game will attempt to find, seize and keep others from taking the Little Sister. The first player to hold the Little Sister for three minutes (of accumulative time) wins the match.

Team ADAM Grab is the exact same as the free-for-all format, except the players will be divided into teams.

Last Splicer Standing is another free-for-all mode, but without the use of respawns. You die, you don't come back until the next round. The goal (obviously), is to be the last Splicer standing by eliminating all of your opposition.

All in all you will have a solid variety of multiplayer modes to choose from when you decide to get into it.

Turning Green: On the gameplay side of things, you will be able to customize your character before you jump into the frag fests.

You will be able to change your "Loadout" (which weapons you will be bringing with you into the fight), as well as visual features such as adding masks and swapping out your melee weapon.

By no means is the customization huge, but it does add a little something if you get sick of hearing your teammates complain about your appearance (you can't see yourself after all!).

Once you get into the battle, I do believe you will be pleasantly surprised with how well the multiplayer works in BioShock 2. Now, this isn't the type of multiplayer that should be compared to Modern Warfare 2, they are just two different games, but BioShock 2 does do a solid job of keeping your entertained throughout the matches.

As with most multiplayer games, in the beginning you will be rolling with nothing but a peashooter to kill with. But as you progress and level up, you will soon unlock better weapons and Plasmid abilities (shooting fire out of your hands, launching insects at your enemies, etc.) to use in the heat of battle.

As is also common with multiplayer shooters, if you are not used to this style of multiplayer gaming (and many will not be), expect to look like a Bi-Polar head case when playing this game.

Until you get the hang of the controls (which will be alien to some), weapons and feel of the maps, screaming at the TV, throwing your controller and attacking nearby things would not be uncommon.

Rent vs. Buy: BioShock 2 had little to improve upon from the first title, but I do feel that the follow-up does its predecessor proud.

The storyline is very well done, the voice acting is brilliant, the combat is intense and the multiplayer is surprisingly enjoyable. Honestly, one of the biggest flaws in the game were the visuals, which is not a huge problem at all.

If you liked the first BioShock or are looking for something just a slight bit deeper then your average mediocre FPS, you cannot go wrong with at the very least giving BioShock 2 a go with a rent and I suspect many gamers will add this title to their collection.

Report Card

BioShock 2 had little to improve upon from the first title, but I do feel that the follow-up does its predecessor proud. You cannot go wrong with at the very least giving BioShock 2 a go with a rent and I suspect many gamers will add this title to their collection. (Krakrabbit.com)

B+


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