February 17, 2010
There has been a trend over the last six months for sequels to take the promising first stab at a new franchise and improve upon it very successfully, whether that be Assassin’s Creed 2 taking an original premise mired in repetition and creating a wonderfully varied, long adventure out of it; or Uncharted 2 taking the very solid and slick Drake’s Fortune and turning the dial up to 11 for Among Thieves, improving upon it in every way. BioShock 2 then, was always going to have its work cut out – the original foray into Rapture was a stunning game, one lavished with universal acclaim, Game Of The Year awards and even a BAFTA. It was the shock of the new that elevated BioShock to it’s lofty critical perch; total immersion in a city like no other the player had ever experienced. Shorn of that surprise, would a return to Andrew Ryan’s ‘utopia’ deliver the same highs in Rapture’s dark depths as its predecessor?
February 15, 2010
Although it was never quite going to match up to the Modern Warfare 2 juggernaut for sheer depth, Digital Extremes’ multiplayer component for BioShock 2 feels like a missed opportunity. It introduces some innovative features that really lend it its own personality, retaining the essence of Rapture and the BioShock universe, but poor balancing, ropey animation and lacklustre maps let the whole thing down.
February 11, 2010
Set in the submerged, dystopian city of Rapture and championing the power of the self over the collective, the original BioShock proved that game developers could take literature as its chief inspiration and still craft a fun but mature game based on its premise. The works of author Ayn Rand, particularly The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, played a crucial part in forging the atmosphere and underlying ethos of Rapture, and was the primary reason why I stuck with BioShock through to the bitter end when the gameplay mechanics had grown a little repetitive. Two and a half years later, I was keen to find out whether the narrative of its successor, BioShock 2, was the game’s saving grace or one of many highlights.
December 8, 2009
The newly re-launched website for upcoming FPS Bioshock 2 is exactly the kind of digital experience that a videogame demands – dripping with atmosphere and steeped in the aesthetics of the game. The interactive Flash diorama, loosely based around a doll’s house, blends seamlessly at certain points with actual gameplay teaser footage, and adds an air of grimy menace with eerie sound effects and unsettling dialogue (click on the doll in the bottom left segment of the house for a chilling example of this).
Everything combines to evoke memories of Rapture, the underwater dystopian city (based on the philosophies of personal favourite Ayn Rand) that comprised the setting for the original game, and returns for the second, albeit 10 years on. As the first title was one of my all-time favourite videogames, the sequel has a lot to live up to; and my expectations are tempered by the fact that the franchise has switched from the hands of developer 2K Boston to those of their colleagues’, 2K Marin. Regardless, if the website is an accurate indicator of the flavour of Bioshock 2, it would appear that all the atmosphere of one of gaming’s most memorable settings has been retained. Roll on February.