Bioshock 2 certainly had some big shoes to fill on its return trip to Rapture. The original caught gamers in awe and wonder of the underwater city created by Andrew Ryan. This time around though, you step into the shoes of a Big Daddy. Ten years after the original story finishes, you awaken with vague memories of a Little Sister and set out to find her. The intriguing and breathtaking city of Rapture is back in all her glory and for those of us who loved the original game, Bioshock 2 gives you more of what captured your heart in the first place.
The game retains most of what made the original such a classic game; the same sense of 'can't wait to see what’s around the next corner' while at the same time making locations and events memorable. The story adds to the lore of the city and the plot from the first game is interwoven nicely between the two. Although it is a little odd how the antagonist of Bioshock 2, Dr. Sofia Lamb, is never mentioned in the first. The game remains open-ended in the minutia of the story, with the key difference being a focus on the interaction between the Big Daddies and the Little Sisters, while adding in new “characters”, the Big Sisters. While things are still fairly linear, there is plenty to be had.
The weapons are largely familiar, but includes the always-awesome drill. The gunplay feels crisp and reactive, but adds the ability to dual wield plasmids and guns which makes combat quite frantic and exhilarating. Besides the Big Sisters, though, Rapture seems almost a little too much like you left it.
The game boasts the same beautiful graphics, water and lighting effects that made you catch yourself staring out windows at other buildings you hope to reach. The ever-creepy sound returns as well, with the demented call of splicers on the hunt for more Adam always around the next corner. The audio and visuals are both high points of the game and serve to make the world that much more engrossing.
While all that is nice, the game itself lacks a bit of the “it” factor the original had. But for me, the series isn't about any of the main characters, but more about the city itself – it’s the story of Rapture, and how it ended up the way it is. I'd say my feelings on the Bioshock series are a little biased as I fell in love with the first and honestly already know I will play the next one. I can say that if you played the first and enjoyed your time in Rapture, that Bioshock 2 is another heaping spoonful of the same creativity and ingressiveness. The game is a safe pickup for FPS fans, and something worth looking at for anybody wanting a unique adventure…assuming you played the original.