BioShock gained great acclaim in 2007 as a hybrid game with action, first-person shooter and role-playing aspects. It immersed players in the rich tale of a dying under water world envisioned as a place where science would continue unhindered by the oppressive regimes on the land above.
I never thought BioShock really needed a sequel. It was phenomenally well done, extremely immersive, beautifully polished, and at the end of the game, the story wrapped up. If anything, I would have liked a prequel, set in the time when the city, Rapture, was in the middle of falling into chaos. But developer 2K Games chose the opposite route with BioShock 2, which is set 10 years after the original. And rather than playing as a human, this time the gamer is inside a "Big Daddy," one of the armored antagonists in the first game.
Having played and loved the original, I felt right at home in Rapture. The environments, playing style, enemies, weapons and general strategies all were very familiar.
As with the first game, the story grips you immediately, adding depth and philosophical ponderings as you progress.
At first, the game felt almost exactly the same as the original, but that didn't last long. Quickly, the story line of the Big Daddy takes over, and you are introduced to some new and challenging gameplay elements.
First is the interaction with the "Little Sisters" of the world. In the first game, you were tasked with rescuing these little girls from the Big Daddys, who are their oppressive protectors. In BioShock 2, however, it's your turn to control the Little Sisters, a great departure from the original game.
The only complaint I could possibly have is the player's character: the Big Daddy. In BioShock, to fight a massively armored Big Daddy meant to pull out all the stops. You would use the most powerful plasmids (powers such as lightning and telepathy) and weapons available, set as many traps as you could think of, and still be prepared for one hellacious fight that you very well might not survive.
However in BioShock 2, playing as a Big Daddy, it's not nearly the same. The game does a good job of portraying the feeling of strength, armor and the heavy weight of the Big Daddy, but when it comes down to it, this is just superficial. In a firefight, you seem to take on as much damage as, if not more than, BioShock's player character, a normal human.
One new element to the game that is sure to please a certain crowd is multiplayer, for which gamers clamored for in the original. The multiplayer aspect is fairly straightforward and, although it's not the most advanced multiplayer game, it does provide some fun and intense online matches.
Ultimately, BioShock 2 is a worthy successor to the original. If you played and liked BioShock, then you will like BioShock 2. It feels very much the same but with new powers, new weapons and more polish. It is again an immersive and story-driven game, well delivered, and it will have you on the edge of your seat.