Miracle's Whip - Bioshock 2

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Miracle's Whip: Bioshock 2

Welcome to my very first 'Miracle's Whip'.

Feel free to leave constructive criticism.

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When Bioshock arrived in 2008, it pleased many a gamer with its fourth-wall breaking twists, philosophical musings and its sub-aquatic art-deco dystopia.

It was not without its flaws, however, many complaining of the overly long fetch quests, enemy difficulty scaling and its final confrontation, which was about as much fun as a slap in the face with a dead kipper.

Have a new developer and a new protagonist done the wondrous city of Rapture justice? Well, yes, for the most part.

Story

The city is now in an even worse state of disrepair than it was back when Jack came to visit, and the drug addled human waste (or Splicers) have become even more jacked up on Adam, making them a far more formidable foe this time around.

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Big Daddy's suit allows him to channel his farts into his hands and light them in your face... ouch

There are new leaders rising to power in Rapture, and an elusive but always ominous character named Sophia Lamb takes over from Andrew Ryan as your unseen antagonist. There are also the Big Sisters, female versions of Big Daddy, but their origin and purpose is a mystery. You play a prototype Big Daddy who has awoken from a long, shall we say... absence and your goal is to re-unite with Eleanor, the little sister you are scientifically and emotionally bonded to.

To say any more about the story would be ruining it for you, suffice to say that it is very well told and has some intensely emotional moments.

Visual Presentation

It should come as no surprise that Rapture looks fantastic again. It's like the entire game was designed by a 1950s Caravaggio. The developers use dynamic lighting and tenebrism to make every corner feel like a threat, every ruined monument a gorgeous, eye catching focal point. The visual style oozes class, with Neon signs flickering on and off, eerie blue shrines reminding you that Lamb is watching, and the beautiful art deco theatres, restaurants and train stations crumbling into ruined, violent hellscapes.

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So, eh, your ominous glowing uni-eye is nice, wanna go grab a coffee? No? You'd prefer to set me on fire and rip my face off? Damn... shot down again.

There are some underwater sections which look impressive too, with strange plants glowing in fantastic colours and various fishies popping along to have a look at you.

It's not perfect, however. There are some very low-res textures here and there, and some clunky looking items and furniture with, I hate to say it... big old jaggies. It wouldn't be so bad if the rest of the game didn't look fantastic, just be prepared now and again to be knocked out the immersion by some last-gen graphics.

Character models are a lot better than the awful, hideous monstrosities in the first game, but can still look a little unfinished and clumsy in parts.

Sound

The sound design is excellent for the most part. Voice acting is of a high standard throughout and really draws you into the stories of the crazy, tragic characters of Rapture. Lamb and Eleanor in particular have some excellent voice-work, and the little sisters will break your heart with their sad little voices.

There are some sound balance issues, however. Each gun has a very different volume level. The machine gun is barely audible and feels a tad unsatisfying because of it, while the shotgun just blows your damn ears off. There was also a truly horrible music bug, which I will discuss in a bit...

Gameplay

Gameplay is certainly a step up from the first game. Guns feel meatier, you can now use your plasmids and weapons simultaneously and the aiming mechanic feels more precise.

The focus is more on defensive gameplay this time, showcased by a new mechanic in which you defend a little sister from hordes of incoming crazies as she gathers you some ADAM.

You can harvest or save her as expected, with the rewards for each varying. You eventually get gifts from saving them so I honestly feel the good road is, in the long run, the better bet. Plus, how the hell could anyone kill them, I mean look at their little faces...

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If you pressed 'X' here, I hate you.

There are a great variety of combat styles to pick from. Want to freeze your foe and shatter him with your electrocuting shotgun? You got it. Prefer to set a swarm of bees in his face, stand back and laugh at his misfortune before setting a whirlwind under him and throwing into the ceiling? No problem. Want to lay traps everywhere and fall off your chair with delight as they get mangled by trap rivets, mini turrets and hypnotised Big Daddies? Off you go.

And then there's the drill... my god is this weapon satisfying to use. Its charge attack works in a similar way to the biotic charge in Mass Effect 2 and it is just wonderfully violent and satisfying. You can choose to focus on the drill too, and this play style is very rewarding. Drill plus plasmids = spellsword build.

Tonics upgrade your abilities again, and can be used to make the (quite irritating) hacking minigame easier. Hacking gives you access to cheaper items and mechanical allies, as before.

Combat can become a mess sometimes though, most noticeably in large battles with a few enemies at once. The blur effect when you get shot is very annoying and causes confusion, and elemental effects can cause the frame rate to drop quite badly, which is pretty much unacceptable in a 2010 mainstream release.

Also, when a Big Daddy gets involved in a ruckus between you and splicers, it becomes utter chaos. Which can be fun, but is mostly just frustrating.

Big Sister battles are strategic and fun, but nothing to get too excited over.

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Rapture's residents don't really do subtle, it's all about the hyperbole

I encountered no less than three game breaking bugs in my first playthrough. My left trigger and right stick both stopped working, forcing reloads, and on one level the screeching string crescendo music for a Big Sister's entrance got stuck on a loop all the way to the end of the level, which was utterly maddening and forced me to start the whole level again in order to experience it properly.

Multiplayer:

Competitive gaming gives me anal herpes. My Gold Account is happily inactive right now, and I don't plan on returning to the rage-inducing world of online anytime soon, so this review is focusing on the campaign.

Overall Opinion

I really enjoyed Bioshock 2. It was a little on the short side, but the ending I got was so moving and beautiful I didn't mind. Seriously... if you are a bit of a sap like me the 'good' ending of this game will make you cry like a baby, it's that stunning. I youtubed the bad ending, it's also pretty emotional.

Rapture isn't quite as mesmerising this time around, but that's only because nothing can compare to the first time you discover a new universe. This applies to every sequel ever made.

It's fun, it's pretty and it feels good. All in all, it has bettered the original in almost every way and whether or not you plan to get into the multiplayer, it's well worth getting for the campaign.

Take another trip along the great chain and lose yourself in Rapture.

Verdict:

Buy.

A side note- I have to thank my awesome girlfriend for buying me the game as a surprise, as I was broke and couldn't afford it. respect!

"If you pressed 'X' here, I hate you."

As you might guess from my avatar. (EDIT: It was a little sister at the time)
I LOVE THE LITTLE SISTERS SO FUCKING MUCH!

I got the saviour achievment in my first play through.

Demented Teddy:
"If you pressed 'X' here, I hate you."

As you might guess from my avatar.
I LOVE THE LITTLE SISTERS SO FUCKING MUCH!

I got the saviour achievment in my first play through.

Yeah I got that too, was a nice little surprise. I definately agonised over Alex the Great though...

Pretty good review though your humor sometimes breaks the flow of the review; well placed humor is great but when it comes out of no where I had to stop and reread. I also have to point out that you do actually find out who are the big sisters and what is their purpose from the audio tapes.

Rednog:
Pretty good review though your humor sometimes breaks the flow of the review; well placed humor is great but when it comes out of no where I had to stop and reread. I also have to point out that you do actually find out who are the big sisters and what is their purpose from the audio tapes.

Yep, I'm aware of that, I was describing the story as it exists at the beginning of the game, so as to avoid spoilers.

The humour was only there for the captions, but it's a fair remark nonetheless.

nice review, really liked the humor, please do more

I applaud you sir!
[Applauds]

Two points:
1. There is a genetonic that makes it so plasmids nearly doesn't drain your EVE, but it limits your weapons to the Drill, the Research Camera and the Hack Tool.
That. Was. Awesome.

2. How. In. The. HELL can you have 6 First Aid Packs and 6 EVE Hypos?
I could only have 5...

I likey much.

Easy to read, didn't require any backtracking and a good length. I award this review my personal stamp of Bruce Campbell.

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This is the first time I've ever awarded this, so good for you!

As for Bioshock 2, I wasn't going to get it, but I might now. I'll wait until they patch it for PC first and the price drops.

Brad Shepard:
nice review, really liked the humor, please do more

Thanks a mil :)

TheNamlessGuy:
I applaud you sir!
[Applauds]

Two points:
1. There is a genetonic that makes it so plasmids nearly doesn't drain your EVE, but it limits your weapons to the Drill, the Research Camera and the Hack Tool.
That. Was. Awesome.

2. How. In. The. HELL can you have 6 First Aid Packs and 6 EVE Hypos?
I could only have 5...

Thank you!

1. I should have pointed that out actually when I was describibg the spellsword build.

2. You can acquire tonics that raise your carrying capacity for each.

Furburt:
I likey much.

Easy to read, didn't require any backtracking and a good length. I award this review my personal stamp of Bruce Campbell.

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This is the first time I've ever awarded this, so good for you!

As for Bioshock 2, I wasn't going to get it, but I might now. I'll wait until they patch it for PC first and the price drops.

Wow... if Bruce likes it then I'm definately doing more!

MiracleOfSound:
Thank you!

1. I should have pointed that out actually when I was describibg the spellsword build.

2. You can acquire tonics that raise your carrying capacity for each.

1. If I remember correctly, you get that near the end*, so it would be something of a spoiler, wouldn't it?

2. Oh...
Why didn't I find those?

TheNamlessGuy:

MiracleOfSound:
Thank you!

1. I should have pointed that out actually when I was describibg the spellsword build.

2. You can acquire tonics that raise your carrying capacity for each.

1. If I remember correctly, you get that near the end*, so it would be something of a spoiler, wouldn't it?

2. Oh...
Why didn't I find those?

No, they were somewhere in the middle as far as I recall. In fact, I'm pretty certain I purchased them at a gatherer's garden!

MiracleOfSound:
No, they were somewhere in the middle as far as I recall. In fact, I'm pretty certain I purchased them at a gatherer's garden!

I agree with most of what you said but I always thought the Big Sister battles were amazing and really exciting, in that kind of OH SHIT OH SHIT I'm gonna die kind of way.. exhilirating would be the word I'm looking for.

The only real problem I've had is the music repeting bug but that only happened once, oh and another problem would be I can't play the damn thing now because my PC exploded.

And I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought the drill charge was satisfying, I was beginning to worry about my sanities.

The Ammunition-Tonic you are talking about comes from researching alpha series.

(Didn't flag it as a spoiler, because the information can be taken from the games main menue)

TheNamlessGuy:
I applaud you sir!
[Applauds]

Two points:
1. There is a genetonic that makes it so plasmids nearly doesn't drain your EVE, but it limits your weapons to the Drill, the Research Camera and the Hack Tool.
That. Was. Awesome.

2. How. In. The. HELL can you have 6 First Aid Packs and 6 EVE Hypos?
I could only have 5...

i think its an ADAM upgrade or a tonic, since ive seen the max being 5 6 7 and 8

Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?
Sorry, as a fan of the more basic FPS's I prefer a large library of instruments to rip people's organs out from varying distances and ranges so I need to know this before I make a decision on this game.

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?
Sorry, as a fan of the more basic FPS's I prefer a large library of instruments to rip people's organs out from varying distances and ranges so I need to know this before I make a decision on this game.

There are 6 different weapons.
8 if you count the Camera and Hack Tool.

The Shotgun
The ...first gun
The SpearGun
The Grenade Launcher
The Machinegun
The Drill

EDIT: And you can upgrade them at the Power To The People stations, just like in the first game

TheNamlessGuy:

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?
Sorry, as a fan of the more basic FPS's I prefer a large library of instruments to rip people's organs out from varying distances and ranges so I need to know this before I make a decision on this game.

There are 6 different weapons.
8 if you count the Camera and Hack Tool.

The Shotgun
The ...first gun
The SpearGun
The Grenade Launcher
The Machinegun
The Drill

That's it? What about weapon modification?

Ninjamedic:
That's it? What about weapon modification?

That's where the Power To The People stations come in.

You can upgrade the weapons 3 times, once per station.
I think there are about 7-8 stations in the game, total

TheNamlessGuy:

Ninjamedic:
That's it? What about weapon modification?

That's where the Power To The People stations come in.

You can upgrade the weapons 3 times, once per station.
I think there are about 7-8 stations in the game, total

Any Advice prior to renting it?

Ninjamedic:
Any Advice prior to renting it?

Fully upgrade the shotgun.

It's worth it.
It really is.

Get the ammo upgrade first.

Oh, and save all the Little Sisters.

Oh, right, I forgot: BUY IT

TheNamlessGuy:

Ninjamedic:
Any Advice prior to renting it?

Fully upgrade the shotgun.

It's worth it.
It really is.

Get the ammo upgrade first.

Oh, and save all the Little Sisters.

Oh, right, I forgot: BUY IT

Right, right and right then.

MiracleOfSound:
snip

wait... hold up... Gold account? do you need to pay for Bioshock 2 multiplayer?

edit: didnt notice it was the 360 version.

TheNamlessGuy:
That's where the Power To The People stations come in.

You can upgrade the weapons 3 times, once per station.
I think there are about 7-8 stations in the game, total

Actually, there are 14 of them if gamefaqs is to be believed. (Yeah, I don't want to miss any upgrades, so sue me for taking a peek! :P)

OT: Good work! Appropriate length, fitting pictures, nice wording... and I definitely enjoy your brand of humor. Please, keep it up, I want to see more reviews!

(It's a weird coincidence... since I can't play AvP until Friday [damn you, Steam!] I rented Bioshock 2 today to bridge the time. Heh. Now I probably won't stop playing until 4am. ^^)

Heh. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the glitches.

Can I backtrack EVERYWHERE, or are some audio diaries are missable?

Huh. The choice "Harvest" and "Adopt" were swapped at my game. So I had to press X to adopt the Little Sister.

So, I pressed X.

Korten12:

MiracleOfSound:
snip

wait... hold up... Gold account? do you need to pay for Bioshock 2 multiplayer?

You have to pay for any multiplayer on XBOX Live.

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?

Noted for next review.

My personal fave is the fully upgraded shotgun, as it fires electric bucks. The Rivet gun is great for traps, the Spear gun becomes a sniper rifle when upgraded and there's a machine gun, rocket launcher and my beloved drill.

Onyx Oblivion:
Heh. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the glitches.

Can I backtrack EVERYWHERE, or are some audio diaries are missable?

Actually it's not like the first game, once you're done with a level you can't go back. Kinda sucky.

MiracleOfSound:

Onyx Oblivion:
Heh. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the glitches.

Can I backtrack EVERYWHERE, or are some audio diaries are missable?

Actually it's not like the first game, once you're done with a level you can't go back. Kinda sucky.

Awww fuck. I'm about 1-2 hours in (at the part where you need to get Incinerate, to minimize spoilers, since that doesn't spoil anything), and was hoping to backtrack...

MiracleOfSound:

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?

Noted for next review.

My personal fave is the fully upgraded shotgun, as it fires electric bucks. The Rivet gun is great for traps, the Spear gun becomes a sniper rifle when upgraded and there's a machine gun, rocket launcher and my beloved drill.

No that's all i needed to know, your review was perfect anyway, hope you do a BBC2 review!

Sonicron:

OT: Good work! Appropriate length, fitting pictures, nice wording... and I definitely enjoy your brand of humor. Please, keep it up, I want to see more reviews!

(It's a weird coincidence... since I can't play AvP until Friday [damn you, Steam!] I rented Bioshock 2 today to bridge the time. Heh. Now I probably won't stop playing until 4am. ^^)

Indeed you will, it's a pretty compelling game! And thanks for the comments, much appreciated :)

Onyx Oblivion:

MiracleOfSound:

Onyx Oblivion:
Heh. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the glitches.

Can I backtrack EVERYWHERE, or are some audio diaries are missable?

Actually it's not like the first game, once you're done with a level you can't go back. Kinda sucky.

Awww fuck. I'm about 1-2 hours in (at the part where you need to get Incinerate, to minimize spoilers, since that doesn't spoil anything), and was hoping to backtrack...

I don't think you've missed any power to the people stations anyway... just make sure you find the one at the start of that level you're on, it's to the left before you go into Ryan Amusements.

But if you're collecting all the audio diaries it might be worth starting over and exploring thoroghly... it's up to you!

Ninjamedic:

MiracleOfSound:

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?

Noted for next review.

My personal fave is the fully upgraded shotgun, as it fires electric bucks. The Rivet gun is great for traps, the Spear gun becomes a sniper rifle when upgraded and there's a machine gun, rocket launcher and my beloved drill.

No that's all i needed to know, your review was perfect anyway, hope you do a BBC2 review!

I can't afford BBC2 for a while, plus no Gold Account means no multi... but I have Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 to keep me busy and might do reviews on them!

MiracleOfSound:

Onyx Oblivion:

MiracleOfSound:

Onyx Oblivion:
Heh. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for the glitches.

Can I backtrack EVERYWHERE, or are some audio diaries are missable?

Actually it's not like the first game, once you're done with a level you can't go back. Kinda sucky.

Awww fuck. I'm about 1-2 hours in (at the part where you need to get Incinerate, to minimize spoilers, since that doesn't spoil anything), and was hoping to backtrack...

I don't think you've missed any power to the people stations anyway... just make sure you find the one at the start of that level you're on, it's to the left before you go into Ryan Amusements.

But if you're collecting all the audio diaries it might be worth starting over and exploring thoroghly... it's up to you!

Eh...I'll replay it. And on the second playthough, I will press X instead of Y.

MiracleOfSound:

Ninjamedic:

MiracleOfSound:

Ninjamedic:
Would ya mind going into more detail with the weapon variety?

Noted for next review.

My personal fave is the fully upgraded shotgun, as it fires electric bucks. The Rivet gun is great for traps, the Spear gun becomes a sniper rifle when upgraded and there's a machine gun, rocket launcher and my beloved drill.

No that's all i needed to know, your review was perfect anyway, hope you do a BBC2 review!

I can't afford BBC2 for a while, plus no Gold Account means no multi... but I have Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2 to keep me busy and might do reviews on them!

Looking forward to that, also your girlfriend is god. My brother's gf got me borderlands and a wii classic controller for christmas. :D

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