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

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Bought Bioshock 2 this afternoon.

Kinda disappointed that it's the same game with a different story and a couple of additions and alterations. It is worth playing if you loved the first one (as I did, I still play it on occasion) but once I finish it I'll just trade it in.

I am yet to find someone who doesn't like/love Bioshock 2 who didn't expect to dislike/not love it.

I am not in love with BioShock 2, but this comes as no real surprise. I didn't think I would be. My relationship with the first BioShock was so deep and profound that the best BioShock 2 could hope to achieve was for me to not hate it. No matter how good it is - and it is quite good - it's always just going to be a pale comparison to its predecessor, a BioShock rerun

This was the attitude of a significant portion of Bioshock fan's and it's those who tend to see Bioshock 2 as nothing more than a re-run.

It's something I can't understand either, Bioshock 2 is the only game where I have heard the criticism of being too similar, even Left 4 Dead 2 didn't get that much flack for it and the games practically identical to the first with the exception of 3 new enemies and melee weapons. The Halo and Gears of War games add nothing significantly new in their sequels either beyond continuing their stories (stories which a lot of people claim to be non-existent). Let's not forget GTA either.

I certainly can't agree that it felt too similar to the first. The level design and the quests were nothing a like. The combat, thanks to the new weapons and inclusion of escorting Little Sisters is also completely different. The only similarity are the enemies, and considering it's set in the same city, that's to be expected.

Each to their own though. I found Bioshock 2 to be just as good as the first, it was not as great in certain areas as there were no "wow" moments in the plot for example, but it improved significantly in every aspect of the game-play and the story was more touching and personal than before (especially the opening video/cut-scene where you are with Eleanor).

The game has faults of course. The ending story took a different turn than I was hoping for and I would have liked a more in-depth explanation of the Big Sisters (I also think having just one of them like they originally planned would have been better) but I disagree with most of the criticisms the game has been facing.

Susan Arendt:
I have the feeling that BioShock 2 will be a more consistent game, maintaining the same high quality throughout, as opposed to BioShock, which had some genius levels, and then some real duds. But the highs of BioShock 2 won't be as high as those of BioShock.

I do agree with this however, if we are talking about the story/characters/atmosphere that is.

JokerboyJordan:
*snip*

Pretty much what I mean. I can understand that considering the impact of Bioshock, people wanted to feel that again with the second, but it's a little unfair to hold this game to a different standard to all the others, how many others are set years apart with a new character along with completely new weapons and story?.

It's almost like people can't find any other criticism but feel that they have to say some thing negative about it.

When will people realise...

It's a damn sequel, there doesn't have to be major innovation or re-imagining of the game. It's meant to take the core gameplay principles of the first game, improve them and smooth out the rough old edges and fix what didn't work in the last game.

Sure it's nice to have innovation and there was, the hacking was simplified and now you could hack from afar; there was the ability to use plasimids and guns simultaneously; there was a more diverse range of enemies than the first. All contained within the brilliance that is Rapture.
I'm no game critic or reviewer but the game is still brilliant, there is only that lingering sense of familiarity that every reviewer is saying let the game down. If you wanted something completely new and fresh, go buy a different game. If you expected something different, then that would be to set Bioshock in a completely new location rather than a variation of the first, and that would take away everything that makes both the games so memorable.

And yes I did cry during the endings in Bioshock and Bioshock 2 :)

To be fair she probably already made up her mind about the game even before it released with that last statement.

However, seeing that Bioware was genuinely able to create yet another engrossing game with Mass Effect 2, having significant game play chances, Bioshock 2 just seems like a quick cash in, albeit 3 years later. It really just reeks of laziness when almost everything is the same and the MP seemingly tacked on because people complained that the first didn't have one.

Having the same issues as the first Bioshock on the PC with the unsupported widescreen resolution is further evidence that they simply took the old game and retreaded the whole thing. So no thanks to Bioshock2. I'm totally on the same indifference boat as Susan is for this game.

I still really like Bioshock 2.

I'm loving the return to Rapture, the imagery is still as beautiful and disturbing as ever, however, must... finish... Dragon Age...
(Not that there's anything wrong with Dragon Age, its just sooooooo long)

I liked bioshock 2 more than the first one, the gun play was better, the plasmids were more entertaining, and the emotional impact was (I think) greater.

favourite parts of bioshock?

watching the tail of the broken plane right at the beginning slowly sink into the sea, with the lighthouse in the background, dont ask why...might have been the first, shit the bed moment of; this is not your average game, and its stuck with me ever since, it was haunting

others include said plane crashing into the walkway and flooding it, i was like, wtf!!!!!!! awesome!!!!!!!

first meeting with dr steinman with all those corpses hung up, and the part with the piano player strapped to a bomb

one of the best, not THE best, but top 3

bioshock 2 is AMAZING towards the end.

*minor spoilers*

after that one part (those that played know where) i feel terrible doing anything to little sisters, adopt, harvest, or leave to their fate. audio logs are one thing, but (spoiler spoiler spoiler) seeing the world through their eyes is heartbreaking. that's been my problem with the series so far, too much story telling through audio logs, too much telling not showing. Stranger still since there's you know, camera's everywhere. i was also disappointed that the 'ghosts' theme wasn't kept throughout the game.

sure, the new is gone, and the 'newness' of commenting on philosophies is tired. but what really get's me is just how fucked up the Daddy/sister relationship truly gets. There isn't truly a 'good way' to beat the game, it's whether you get revenge now or later. and the killer question, how far are you willing to go for a woman you've been brainwashed into loving? despite the fact that you're saving this girl, and Lamb's plans, you're still tearing away a daughter from her mother.

Therumancer:
/SNIP

Seriously, why do people who obsess over what "wing" you are always have to find these things in other media when they're not invited. Of course Episode III had Padme referring to American politics at the time. Every comic book where the government does evil things is clearly some left-leaning liberal trying to smear the Reds... er, Republican led houses at the time.

Or maybe, just maybe, the idea of an Ayn Rand objectivist, a mentality that an incredibly small amount of people would know or even understand, is more alien and thus more interesting. We went from a guy who was obsessed with building a cult of man, a great society where man would worship himself through working for his wage. Then we learn of the city falling apart from within due to that same free enterprise going out of his control.

Bioshock 2 may as well be set in any cultist heavy environment because that's what we've moved on to. We've gone away from the strange and the unknown into a Rapture that's been taken over by a cult led by a psychologist. I just don't even see how people can expect the early impact of the game to not be entirely lessened. It has nothing to do with left or right wing anything, we've gone from being totally unfamiliar with the place (Rapture) and the minds of the people in there to revisiting Rapture alongside some cultists waiting on a comet.[/quote]

In some cases people might be reading into things. However in this paticular case the analogy to politics was apparently intended and part of the success of the game. Like it or not in this case, that was what "everyone" was talking about and what got the game so much attention. We've even seen political discussions about the original Bioshock right here on The Escapist. Yes, in some cases people might be "reading into things" but not here, and I think it has had a lot to do with why the expressed reactions to Bioshock 2 by the same group of people who were worshipping the first one are lukewarm at best.

As far as politics in movies, The Star Wars prequels were simply a mess. A better example would be things like "V For Vendetta" which took massive liberties with the storyline it was based on, and while still set in Europe was intended to have direct analogies to American politics at the time. Another even better example would be Marvel's "Civil War" in comics, which incidently was specifically promoted as a political commentary, newsletters to comic shop owners even presented it that way in trying to get them to stock the issues, specifically referring to things with terms like "superhuman gitmo". This is one of the reasons why what could have been an epic storyline had it stayed rooted in the Marvel Universe (which was building towards something like this for years) rather than having all kinds of character personailities and such altered specifically for the purposes of making an out of place political statement about Homeland Security in the real world and such. It only succeeded as well as it did because so many left wingers were involved.

I don't think the issue so much is anyone being "concerned" about left wing or right wing, but like it or not the labels exist because they are accurate in looking at trends and groups of belief, and do very much apply to cases like this.

In the end though I think it largely comes down to the fact that a lot of those who praised the original Bioshock, are reluctant to praise something that doesn't cater directly to their world view.

As far as the city being taken over by a cult lead by a psychologist, that's no more accurate really than a similar definition of Ryan's behavior. Where Ryan was a big fan of individualism, capitolism, and one succeeding by their own capabilities, Sofia Lamb is exactly the opposite and believes in everyone sacrificing their individual needs for the good of the community as a whole. Psychology is merely the tool she works through (and what she is an expert in, to have been invited to Rapture to begin with). The whole thing with "The Family" and the like is intended to be a very unsubtle referance to communism. Socialism also feeds into things because ultimatly SHE (the goverment) is deciding who gives up what, and believes very much in forcing people to make sacrifices for what she sees as the communal good. This taking the place of things like medical experiments, and trying to create an Asimov-like group mind out of the memories of people in Rapture. She (like Ryan) takes things to extremes, but her central philsophy is pretty much incredibly liberal and shows the problems with it.

You even have an entire section (Siren's Alley) dealing with the message that grass-roots type resistance movements (a liberal staple) are not always a good thing.

The overall message being that while Ryan was pretty psycho in his own way, and definatly ruthless, his system was at least workable, and only had serious problems due to massive pressures like Fontaine's syndicate, and her rabble rousing. Sophia Lamb's is not, because despite having an organization she can't even begin to reconstruct rapture, and ultimatly has locked everyone into a self destructive cycle, which she feels she can only break by creating a being which would house everyone's minds equally, and be dedicated to what she sees as the common good.

Such are my thoughts, I don't want to get into too many details.

In the end we will probably have to agree to disagree.

Yeah yeah yeah.

And for anyone that's played System Shock 2, even the first Bioshock was a bunch of silly bollocks.

I've seen enough people try and drive this opinion down this road before.

And I liked BS2 more than the first, but I guess that's just me.

If you want to read an article that doesn't whine so much about BS2, and really delves into what it is, read this:

http://ps3.ign.com/articles/107/1070382p1.html

Machines:

This was the attitude of a significant portion of Bioshock fan's and it's those who tend to see Bioshock 2 as nothing more than a re-run.

It's something I can't understand either, Bioshock 2 is the only game where I have heard the criticism of being too similar, even Left 4 Dead 2 didn't get that much flack for it and the games practically identical to the first with the exception of 3 new enemies and melee weapons. The Halo and Gears of War games add nothing significantly new in their sequels either beyond continuing their stories (stories which a lot of people claim to be non-existent). Let's not forget GTA either.

Don't think too much about it.

People in general are a bunch of hypocritical idiots.

I must be the only person in the gaming scene not played Bioshock 1, neither am I going to play Bioshock 2.

I have one on my PC, but it always crashes after I get the flame plasmid, so yeah...-Shrug- Plus, I already know what happens in the story so I can't just feel emotionally connected to it like others could going in fresh.

I must admit, the game did well at dragging my graphics card to it's full potential but my past experience with the game, plus the knowing most of the stuff about the story has really soiled me to it.

Maybe I should get it for my xbox instead, I much prefer console controls anyway, even if I suspect I won't really enjoy it.

Also, I don't understand what you don't like about it? Are you saying your just not as easy to connect, it feels samey, or you just expect it to be bad compared to the first and you can't help but feel that way?

I think that as a gaming experience, I enjoyed Bioshock 2 more than the first. I spent a good part if it feeling disconnected, but as Delta's origin was slowly revealed and the story became more clear, I became extremely engrossed in it.
And then the last two levels. Oh my god, they were amazing.

I think the prevailing opinion (BioShock 2 has better gameplay than the first, but can never really match up because it lacks the emotional resonance and sense of wonder) is somewhat a case of rose-colored glasses. Yes, it was amazing to explore Rapture for the first time and meet its strange inhabitants. Yes, the plot twists were wild and very well-executed. But many people seem to have forgotten just how terrible the last third of the game was. It was almost enough to spoil the whole experience for me. A contrived final boss and a crappy FMV cutscene chosen based on my actions that doesn't really show the impact of those actions? That's all I get? Really?

BioShock 2, on the other hand, has a much more consistent narrative. Eleanor is established right from the beginning as the driving force of the story. As the game progresses, you start to feel a connection to her. And finally, in the absolutely brilliant last hour or so of the game, when Eleanor finally "materializes"...

Personally, the third act of Bioshock 2 made me feel those feelings of amazement that the original gave me. For the most part I agree (that it's fantastic, but the original was phenomenal) but finish it then tell us how you feel because the ending (the good one at least) blew my mind.

SnootyEnglishman:
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

Sportsboost, Wrench Lurker, the tonic that specifically powers up the wrench...there's some more I'm sure, but between those you should be able to one-two-punch-kill many splicers, assuming you're researching properly.

I feel completely opposite this. I found BioShock 1 to be the worst game I had ever played, but found number 2 to be very entertaining.

misfit119:

Tiamat666:
Considering how "serious" the story is, they should have tried harder not to make The NPCs look like ridiculous cartoon characters.

I think you're missing part of the point of it all though. It was a living space that was meant to be cheerful. If everytime you wanted a snack you were greeted by a chipper voice it might help you forget that you havent seen the sun in 280 days, even if for a moment. Rapture was meant to be upbeat and part of the horror there is just how badly its falling apart into decay as the last remnants of a positive existence there slowly die out. It's actually kind of depressing.

Just imagine yourself, personally, in a world so desolate of life that the only thing talking to you, other than the voices on the radio, are crazed people out for your blood... or diddies coming from a machine.

And they look like people who have used masks to cover their deformities. It makes as much sense as anything else to cover up what splicing has done to your once pretty face.

I did get that point. That's why I said that it all does make sense plotwise. But I'm talking more about the presentation, the graphical style of the game. The vending machines are not just "cheerful", they are "comical". The NPCs don't look realistic or threatening, they look like cartoon characters. There is this huge discrepancy between plot style (dark, serious, sinister) and the graphical/sound style (comical, silly, cartoon-like).

For example, I think it would have been possible to have crazed women in skirts wearing masks attacking me with crowbars, and have it feel genuinely freakish and terrifying, which would have fit very well in the mood of the plot. But due to the graphical style of the game, to me, they simply look ridiculous more than anything else.

I think BioShock could have been a seriously freaky and scary game if they had put more realism in the presentation instead of taking such a comical course with everything.

I think that part of the problem is that you've played through the first Bioshock three times. If you had just played it once or twice shortly after it had been released, you may have enjoyed the second one that much more.

It's not you. Bioshock works when you are an outsider looking upon the events of Rapture in horror. And only then.

Later on in the original, when you increasingly become more of a "citizen" of Rapture than an outsider doing what you need to do to survive, it falls apart. As you say, the third act isn't the same as the first two, even though the Rapture levels in the later game are as compelling as the earlier ones.

Bioshock 2 sounds like it combines elements that didn't particularly work in the original and stretches it out for the entire game.

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