It's Not You, BioShock 2, It's Me

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It's Not You, BioShock 2, It's Me

BioShock 2 is almost identical to its predecessor...with one very notable exception.

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I'm actually getting the exact same feeling as you while playing through Bioshock 2. I beat Bioshock 1 in about 3 days of gaming nirvana. I got Bioshock 2 on release day and still haven't finished it. Like you said, it just fails to feel new to me, but it is really well done.

Maybe it's just me, and I'm not trying to start anything, but I didn't feel anything so fantastic with Bioshock.

I never found it too amazing to blow my socks off (nice phrase, eh?) although it was good.
Maybe it's just my lack of perception, but Bioshock almost felt cliche outside of the story.

I'm still playing my copy of BioShock right now and trying to figure out how to power up the wrench so i can beat Fontaine's ass with it

i've actually made a post before commenting about this very same point
it doesn't feel like a sequel
it feels like a really long expansion pack
a really GOOD expansion pack, but an expansion pack nonetheless

You're right, in many respects. I never got an emotional response from the big moral choices, (all 3 of which are boring "kill or don;t kill" scenarios), which the first Bioshock didn't have a problem with. I think Bioshock 2's main problem was the lack of interesting small villains. Sander Cohen, as you pointed out, was great. A very interesting character. You can see and hear what a giant loon the guy is, and you get a genuine emotional response. Bioshock 2 doesn't really have that, at any point.

Not that it's a bad game, at any rate. I personally thought the combat was FAR better than the first, the upgrades and weapons were more interesting, although the fact that I was always swimming in money and ammo wasn't giving me much of a "survival" vibe, it was, in retrospects, a better game. And the ending, OH GOD, THE ENDING! Seriously, that was some good stuff, right there. Basically everything from when you are... uh... tied down (keeping this as spoiler free as possible) was pure, solid, shining, diamond-encrusted platinum.

I must admit, whilst I utterly enjoyed Bioshock 2, I had the same feelings as you when I was ploughing through waves of Splicers, sure, it looks pretty and it holds up well as a game of its own, it's very well designed and the gameplay is top notch, but there's that horrible sense of "been there, done that" about the whole experience.

To the game's credit though, it's pretty much polished everything from Bioshock to an absolute mirror shine, but I'm inclined to agree, the experience just doesn't feel new at all. Rapture enthralled me the first time round, but there's less of that sense of amazement the second time.

Susan Arendt wonders if there's an audio diary as heartbreaking as "Saw Masha Today" in BioShock 2.

Don't mind me while I cry uncontrollably...

Masha was the turning point for me in Bioshock, I didn't see the Little Sister's as ammo after that audiolog, and I stopped harvesting them.

I didn't play Bioshock because of the fighting, I didn't really like the way the guns and plasmids "felt", its to do with the lack of punch they had.

colonel_alzheimers:
Like you said, it just fails to feel new to me, but it is really well done.

Spot on. I love it, but it's just a more polished version of the first game. Not a bad thing I guess but the main appeal for the first game was the shock of amazing the setting was. It's worn off a bit now, but it certainly hasn't become stale.

I completely agree it feels like more of the same and that in itself makes the game just feel weaker. If there had been a larger selection of plasmids and if they had made your main plasmid different than in the first one (electricity) I think it could have been a better recreation, unfortunately they just didn't set it apart from the original.

It's like all they wanted to do was bank on the success of the first one with as little effort as possible. Like the only people they hired again were voice actors, mappers and modelers and left the programmers and designers out of the loop, like they didn't get the memo to show up to work.

A solid experience none the less but just doesn't stand quite as tall as it's predecessor.

I never got into the hype of Bioshock, the original. While it was certainly well done, the best thing going for it was the unique atmosphere and polish. I just couldn't get over the fact that was merely a decent shooter. Just Point A-to-B shoebox shooting. Was never anything special to me, but I definitely appreciated it's quality.

Bioshock 2 rolls around, and I can honestly say I really don't care at all. There is nothing about the sequel that interests me. I mean, how can you have a sequel to a unique game that scores all it's points with story and character originality. To me, it would be like having a Dead Space 2.. more creeps in the ventilation shafts and long hallways with flickering lights.

All in all, I imagine it's a pretty good game, but they also lost me with the attention to multiplayer. Remind me again, why do we need multiplayer in a story driven game? Come on now.

I had fun with the things I did in Bioshock, and because I could also do all these things and more in Bioshock 2, I also had fun in that one. It did do a lot of things just like its predecessor, but that's not entirely a bad thing, because Bioshock did these things good, and so does Bioshock 2, although not always as good.

A very sad audiolog? There are a few, but none of them are as heartbreaking as Masha. The final audiolog you pick from Mark Meltzer's body is somewhat like it.

I must be crazy, because I was not impressed with the original BioShock at all. But hey, that's just me. And I've felt the same thing you feel about other games.

I tried playing Bioshock and got bored about 4hrs into it. I really don't get what's so great about this series.

First of all, you should finish the game before being so harsh about it. This is really a game you should judge after you┤ve seen the ending. I know it falls short in terms of characters (Though I personally thought that Gil for example was far more interesting than Steinman) but there are a lot of things to love at the end. And replaying it for the second time I felt much closer to everything the story tried to tell.

I have to agree. BioShock 2 is a very good game, it just has too much deja v˙ about itself. Whilst playing through I was thinking about how much it reminded me of the first game, how some of the great stuff has stayed and how some of the other, less great stuff stayed.

I think that 2K played it a little bit safe and in doing so made a very good game, but just not as ground-breaking as the first. Overall I would say that BioShock 2 is on par with the first, but no better.

Interestingly for me, the gameplay of the first was a bit of a deal breaker for me and I lost interest at some point near the end, eventually going back to finish it but again got bored chasing Ryan and even so close to the end I didn't actually finish BioShock 1. I did find the first 30 minutes of the game exceptional and engrossing, and maybe I just wasn't playing right but I found it fairly tedious. Then BioShock 2 comes out and I thought... meh! But, considering the upgraded combat system I thought I'd give it a go and guess what? I loved it! This game was amazing the story was great and the combat was exceptionally fun. Nothing like drill slamming Splicers and sending them flying 20 feet through the air. I suppose being a return to Rapture means there wasn't the same sense of wonder at this underwater metropolos, and as the article stated the opening of the first BioShock was legendary - but this time around I was itching to explore every nook and cranny, research and kill every baddie, and I again quite liked the recordings. Also, the new weapon selection I really enjoyed plus dual plasmid/gun wielding was just awesome and brought that much needed simplicity to the action.

I actually like it almost as much as its predecessor. Gameplay has been vastly imrpoved, and I feel the level design was far better this time around.

The only thing that didn't quite match up was story/characters. No one was as fascinating as Andrew Ryan or even Sander Cohen in the second one, and the story, while excellent (and with a much better end game sequence - it didn't drag on like the first), couldn't live up to the original. Also, the atmosphere and feeling of newness just could not match the first, since - as everyone has said - it's been done before.

NOTHING the developers could have done would change my mind.

I consider the games equally good. But Bio 1 did it first, and so it will always be more special to me.

Hmmm, I actually greatly prefer the second one.

The first game has exceptionally bad pacing, and just left me frustrated for the entire game. Having said that, I did spoil the story for myself before I played it.

The second one is a much tighter experience, with (in my mind) a more emotionally engaging experience.

In regard to the "terribly depressing audio log", there is one that's almost as sad as "Saw Masha Today". I don't remember his name, but there are a few logs left by a man trying to find his missing daughter, who happens to have been (SHOCKING!) turned into a Little Sister. Anyway, eventually you

This, children, is what we call a pyrrhic victory.

Let me preface this by saying I absolutely love Bioshock, and I am currently I think about 1/2 way through Bioshock 2. (In Siren Alley)

What I see Susan talking about is something similar a lot of people said about the 2nd Matrix movie. Many people were blown away by The Matrix, it was an interesting idea, had good characters, some great action, the whole 'bullet time' effect, and introduced a really cool sci-fi world. Years later the 2nd movie came out and we wanted that same level of 'Wow!', but there wasn't one. There was nothing 'new' to discover, it was just the continuation of what we know. Sure there are a few new faces, but there really isn't anything 'new' to evoke that sense of wonder.

So far, Bioshock 2 is similar in those regards. We know and understand the world. Sure things are more run down now, there are some new faces, but we are largely just experiencing the same world a second time. There are some various gameplay changes, but not so many that things feel different, and that's a good thing I think. Where there was Ryan, there is now Lamb. Where we had Atlas, we have Sinclair. Where we had Dr. Steinman and Cohen, we have Grace and the Preacher guy.

Overall so far (since I haven't beaten the game) I think 2k has created a great continuation of the world they created. Susan, I would tell you to set your DVR to record the Olympics and see what new things you can discover about the world of Rapture.

I actually somewhat liked how they kept it the same. Because, it is as mentioned, still keeps all the charm, all the familiarity and all the epicness the first game brought us!

Bioshock 2 improved the gameplay of the original Bioshock by quite a bit, so you'd think it would be a better game.

But it's true; the spark is gone. I didn't play the original Bioshock for its mediocre gameplay, but for the atmosphere and the story, which I think Bioshock 2 is lacking. The story isn't as tight (or rather, it's tighter, but just isn't as good), there is no more mystery to Rapture, and the whole moral choice gimmick still comes off as strained, even if they did try to make it more relevant this time around. I didn't like the ending either, to be honest. I felt like it was trying to tug at my heartstrings, but it failed and wound up being pretty corny. And this is from someone who actually liked the ending to the original Bioshock (the good ending, that is).

Anyway, my point is that Bioshock 2 improved the gameplay of the original Bioshock but was a step backwards in terms of story and atmosphere, which was Bioshock's main appeal to begin with.

Maybe not as heartbreaking as Saw Masha Today, but you'll get a nasty shock in the form of an Audio Diary on the corpse of a Big Daddy in Fontaine Futuristics.

I really should have seen this coming, myself. Bioshock has a place in my heart, but Bioshock 2 sits on my shelf. It felt like a well made game, but it didn't feel new. I could force myself to finish, but I'd rather replay Mass Effect 2. I'll get back to it eventually, once the mood seems right, but humanity is in danger and there are collectors to fight.

Regiment:
In regard to the "terribly depressing audio log", there is one that's almost as sad as "Saw Masha Today". I don't remember his name, but there are a few logs left by a man trying to find his missing daughter, who happens to have been (SHOCKING!) turned into a Little Sister. Anyway, eventually you

Would this be the Mark Meltzer logs? This was actually a great tie in to what 2k did for the lead-in to the game. If you visited www.somethinginthesea.com in the months before Bioshock 2's release you were following the story of Mark and played various puzzle games to uncover story about Bioshock 2, and even about the creation of Rapture. The site is still up and you can see everything that is there.

The second half of the game IMO come quite close to Bioshock 1's level of storytelling and immersion. Gil Alexander is an awesome character, and the final stage of the game is just as awesome as the final stage of Bioshock 1 was. Play through the whole game before you judge it as a hollow expansion, because the story really picks up partway through the game, in my opinion anyway.

While I don't disagree with you, Susan, and this might just be a virtue of how I play the game, but for me there are some moments in Bioshock 2 that are incredibly downright heartwarming as well as being a lot of fun that weren't present in the original.

Personally I prefer Bioshock 2, but recognize the first one as the better game.

I find that 2 is better paced, and more consistent in its story, up to the much more satisfying ending than the first one.

The problem is that it never reaches the highs of the first (but it never gets as bad as its lows either). The sense of discovery is all but gone, and none of the characters are as good as, say, Andrew Ryan or Sander Cohen (I think it says a lot about the first Bioshock that Fort Frolic, one of the most celebrated levels, was nearly irrelevant to the overall plot).

It's been said in various places that as a game Bioshock 2 is vastly superior to it's original. Using plasmids and weapons at the same time is much better, encouraging you to use both as opposed to favouring one or the other.

Anyway that's not the point. It's not the game, it's the emotional attachment you have to the story. I think there are 2 main issues; The first is the fact that there isn't a great deal new to show off, at least nowhere near the first game where EVERYTHING was new. When you arn't experienceing somthing new every level you get the feeling of "been here done that."

The other issue is that in the first, you wern't told who "you" were. The fact was, ala Half-Life, for all intents and purposes the player IS the protaganist in every sense. While there is some unknowns about Delta (and I'm not quite finished so I could be wrong) the fact is you walk into his shoes with a great deal of pre-conceived notions about Big Daddies and Rapture in general. As far as I was concerned when I first started the game, Big Daddies, while usually unfortunate victims, are pretty single minded and straightforward. A lot harder to eke out a connection with that in mind as opposed to a clearly human charecter with a blank slate.

Could change my mind by the time I'm finished though. Still a damn fine game, and look forward to finishing it.

BioShock 2... I finished it the day it came out (~6hrs) and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the game, I was left unsure what to think about it. For me BioShock 2 expanded on BioShock 1 and its story more than anything else - You learnt about the trigger phrase a bit more via audio diaries, you felt the effects of BioShock 1's conclusion... I'm going to spoiler tag the rest of my thoughts just in case.

carpenteria:
It's been said in various places that as a game Bioshock 2 is vastly superior to it's original. Using plasmids and weapons at the same time is much better, encouraging you to use both as opposed to favouring one or the other.

Anyway that's not the point. It's not the game, it's the emotional attachment you have to the story. I think there are 2 main issues; The first is the fact that there isn't a great deal new to show off, at least nowhere near the first game where EVERYTHING was new. When you arn't experienceing somthing new every level you get the feeling of "been here done that."

The other issue is that in the first, you wern't told who "you" were. The fact was, ala Half-Life, for all intents and purposes the player IS the protaganist in every sense. While there is some unknowns about Delta (and I'm not quite finished so I could be wrong) the fact is you walk into his shoes with a great deal of pre-conceived notions about Big Daddies and Rapture in general. As far as I was concerned when I first started the game, Big Daddies, while usually unfortunate victims, are pretty single minded and straightforward. A lot harder to eke out a connection with that in mind as opposed to a clearly human charecter with a blank slate.

Could change my mind by the time I'm finished though. Still a damn fine game, and look forward to finishing it.

This is true, but I found that those pre-conceived notions are partially what made it even better, because I think it's pretty obvious from the outset that you're not a normal Big Daddie. By the end of the game you find out the history of Delta, Big Daddies, and Big Sisters. The first game was about the failure of Rapture and of Ryan's dream but this game is almost exclusively about the sisters and the daddies and how it all ties into Rapture (well and the whole Ryan vs Lamb, self vs utopian stuff but it's all related).
Let's just say the last area of the game and the end of the story is very, very interesting. Although the actual ending may be dissapointing to many, but I won't go into further details.

And Coldalarm: you beat it in 6hrs? Wow... that's why I didn't play on easy. Or medium. I probably took 10-12 hrs to beat it. Can't really say but it took several days and at least 3-4hrs per.

Pocotron:
Maybe it's just me, and I'm not trying to start anything, but I didn't feel anything so fantastic with Bioshock.

I never found it too amazing to blow my socks off (nice phrase, eh?) although it was good.
Maybe it's just my lack of perception, but Bioshock almost felt cliche outside of the story.

I'm in agreement with you here. The game was good, by all means, but not particularly great, and especially not excellent. The art style and architecture was somewhat interesting, but it didn't have any notable effect on me.

I look at it like this. BioShock is kind of like a decent cake where the icing forms a piece of abstract art that everyone but you seems to really enjoy. They're focused on the icing, proclaiming this cake extremely tasty simply because this art is so "thought-provoking", while you're actually eating the damn thing thinking,This cake isn't bad, but I've had better.

Wolfram01:

carpenteria:
ErdyErdyErdy

This is true, but I found that those pre-conceived notions are partially what made it even better, because I think it's pretty obvious from the outset that you're not a normal Big Daddie. By the end of the game you find out the history of Delta, Big Daddies, and Big Sisters. The first game was about the failure of Rapture and of Ryan's dream but this game is almost exclusively about the sisters and the daddies and how it all ties into Rapture (well and the whole Ryan vs Lamb, self vs utopian stuff but it's all related).
Let's just say the last area of the game and the end of the story is very, very interesting. Although the actual ending may be dissapointing to many, but I won't go into further details.

Well thats good to know. It would seem that most of the positive comments seem to stem from those who have actually finished so I should probably get to that then. :)

If only there wasnt 8 hours of work between now and home...

I have to side with the people who don't feel so grand about BioShock at all. It's certainly a good game - it's a decent, atmospheric shooter with a storyline and unique setting. But I had a hard time accepting it at first. I hate clowns and I hate circusses, and something about Rapture and the villains there reminds me alot of both.

I had alot of moments where I felt the game was trying really hard to scare me or making something seem dramatic, but it just didn't work out. There was simply too much sillyness and ridicule in the enemies, the sounds, the look of the world, for me to take it seriously. I just don't dig into crazy women in skirts wearing masks attacking me with crowbars. I guess it makes sense in the context of the storyline, but they could have worked on the graphics to make it look more presentable. Considering how "serious" the story is, they should have tried harder not to make The NPCs look like ridiculous cartoon characters.

I had to force myself to continue past the first few levels, because the game seemed too silly for me. I have to admit that it got better later in the game and eventually I found it quite enjoyable, but nothing jaw-dropping as everyone had led me to expect.

And I don't get how people call this a sequel to System Shock. Having a few minigame-puzzles doesn't make it anything like System Shock. BioShock is still a shooter. System Shock is a cyberpunk 3D adventure game.

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