Before I dig in to the heavy stuff, I just want to mention that Battlefield Bad Company 2 is now pre-ordered, hopefully it will deliver a far better experience for online gaming than Modern Warfare 2 did. I believe I ordered the Limited Edition of BC2, but I don’t think it’s more than a few extra weapons unlocked. It cost the same anyhow. Let’s proceed with the more detailed game tests then, shall we?!
Bioshock 2! Bio-fucking-shock 2 man! It seems to have fallen right into my lap this game, I just loved the original. An amazing atmosphere, truly original experience and fantastic design, all made the first Bioshock game nearly an impossible game to match. “So it doesn't match the first game then!” I hear you say, well no, not exactly, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game!
The game takes place 10 years after the original, and lets you find out what happened to the underwater utopia that is Rapture in the role of the first Big Daddy. I personally liked this choice and the game gives a great insight in many details of the city that you wondered about. It takes a lot of time to make you understand the little sisters more and you get a better feeling of the scale of Rapture. I really enjoyed the places where you walk underwater and parts where rooms fill up with water!
However the game does not deliver some of the genius scenes from the original, like the meeting with the mad doctor or the sick artist, it lacks some of those “key moments” that stood out so strongly. It does add the fights with the new Big Sisters, but these never really make such an impact on you and remain very anonymous.
The story in Bioshock 2 is good, but it takes time to plan out. I thought the first game lost some quality towards the end, this game is the opposite. At first it’s rather an underwhelming feeling and it doesn't have the initial amazing feeling of exploring Rapture for the first time. However Bioshock 2 builds slowly up to a great ending and the last part of the game lets you see Rapture in a very different way. So all in all you could say that if you play Bioshock 1 and Bioshock 2 as one long game, it will really amaze you in the beginning, then water out a bit, then build up again to a grand finale!
Graphically I must admit that little has changed, and while the first game made my jaw drop, Bioshock 2 simply just doesn't look different. It still looks good, but many games have surpassed it in the last three years. On a positive note though, the design of the environments are really atmospheric and a cut above most games out there, not quite up to scratch with the first game, but it has its moments. Again I must bring up the underwater sections, they look really cool!
So to summarize then, Bioshock 2 isn't the game the original was, and it never could be either in my eyes. It lacks some of those eye-opening scenes that really burnt the original game into my memory, but it does add new and welcome elements and additions. The game doesn't go wrong as a really good sequel and it tells a detailed and great story, maybe even more understandable and stronger than in the original in fact. Fans of Bioshock 1, do not hesitate to dive into Rapture again with this game. Newcomers, however, should start at the beginning with the original.
Other stuffNext up are some DLC’s I’ve been playing. First up is the Lost in Nightmares DLC to Resident Evil 5. It’s a rather small, but cheap add-on that explains more of the story before RE5’s timeline. It’s about the mission where Jill and Chris explore the Spencer estate. This side story is a real homage to the original Resident Evil on PlayStation 1. It is more puzzle-orientated and the mansion will bring back some fond memories from where the series began in the mid-nineties. It only takes about an hour to complete, but I’s a nice trip down memory lane!
I have also played through two add-on packs for Assassins Creed 2, the amazing sequel that came out last year, which in my eyes was one of the best games of 2009. It fixed everything about the original game, has lots of depth in the story, amazing cityscapes and graphics and was a long and great 25 hour playthrough. The first DLC pack is rather short and tells the story of the Battle of Forli, a true historic event and puts you up against two brothers as they capture and seize the town of Forli.
The second DLC is about the Bonfire of the Vanities where many people burned up thousands of objects that were thought to promote sin, like art and books. This DLC is actually the best and lets you take part in many small missions which focus heavily on assassinating the targets quietly. Both DLC’s a very cheap and I highly recommend them for fans of Assassins Creed 2, they do not include achievements though, which is a bummer.
Well, that’s it for now. Apart from Bad Company 2 I'm actually not really waiting for any other games at the moment. Which is nice in a way, so I can continue on unfinished business (edit: games).
(This article was first published on Monday, February 22, 2010 on my original IGN blog.)