Note: This contains spoilers to the Original BioShock 2.
Ask people which of the BioShock games is the best one, and one by one the line will fill up and people will say, BioShock 2. At the time of it’s release, which was a mere three years after the original game released and was the best thing that anybody had seen since sliced bread. BioShock 2 was met with greatest of indifferences, many people and I personally felt that the game was pushing an idea which was already seen in the original and that idea was told perfectly from complete to end and others loved it. Others didn’t want the game and I always will believe that BioShock should have been left alone and it should have been a one game type of thing and leave it alone. But time has been kind to BioShock 2, and that’s a plus.
Over time, I came to love BioShock 2, but not as much as the original. Currently, I’m replaying the game via the Remaster and I’m surprised on how much it held up and I’m surprised at the improvements of the game. It’s a much better game then the original, gameplay wise and mechanic wise. It’s definitely the best one in the entire series.
In BioShock, we visited Rapture in the wake of a civil war that destroyed the city and left it a rotting paradise beneath the waves of the Atlantic. Rapture was hanging on by a thread and by 1968, Rapture was no longer hanging by a thread. The city is falling apart, the ocean is starting to reclaim the city inch by inch and it’s truly a fallen paradise where dreams have been left to die and Splicers are now feral and more dangerous.
I can truly say that returning to Rapture in BioShock 2 does not do any favors because you’ve already been there which was the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Whenever, I hop into the bathysphere and returning to the Kashmir at the beginning of the original, I get waves of nostalgia and goosebumps as I hear “If I Didn’t Care.” by the Ink Spots. In the sequel, I get hits of nostalgia but that’s it, it just feels so familiar.
Other then the familiar, you get a new perspective which is from a Big Daddy. The prototype Subject Delta who’s real name is Johnny Topside and he was a diver who accidentally discovered Rapture and you must find Eleanor, who is your assigned little sister. Johnny Topside aka Subject Delta has free will so he can do what he pleases and that’s mighty dangerous to have a free thinking Big Daddy and a new villain who is has intriguing as Andrew Ryan tries to have him killed but fails in the end as you can either spare or kill her.
The best part of BioShock 2 was expanding the locations and expanding the lore to this underwater utopia. While the original took you to the most high class of areas like Fort Frolic and the Kashmir Restaurant seen in the very first level, the sequel revealed that there were indeed poorer parts of Rapture and showed the darkness of this leaky bucket of broken dreams and lost promises. Early on in the game, you visit Pauper’s Drop which was an housing estate for workers working on the Atlantic Express before the Bathysphere rendered it obsolete and after that level, you visit Siren’s Alley which was a shrine to all the sins in the world like gambling, prostitution, and booze but now it has become something much worse. Like every city in the world, there needs to be a underbelly that is dark and very seedy.
But not even that can shake the feeling that you’ve been here before. While, you get to see the Adonis Luxury Resort to Fontaine Futuristics and they reveal more of the history of this plundered utopia but it doesn’t do anything because you’ve already been here. The imagination is lost. One thing that shines was the gameplay of the game, it felt more weightier and super crunchy when you swung your drill at a person’s head and also, you could duel wield plasmids which was amazing which helped because you could experiment with different plasmids when you adopted a little sister and defended her.
BioShock 2 is a wonderful and fantastic game but it stands in the shadow of the game that took everything you knew about gaming and flipped it on it’s head, and also it left a dent on the world and in the industry. No other game of it’s kind left a dent on the world like the original BioShock did, in the sequel the story was predictable and never reached the heights that the original had. The story was human and more heartfelt but it will never be as fondly remembered as the original which is a shame because it deserves as much love as the original.
Check out my review of BioShock 2: Remastered coming soon.