BioShock 2: Great, good, or sorta meh?

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So, BioShock 2. Presumably you’ve heard of it. It comes out today, and I really can’t figure out how I’m supposed to feel. I’ve read plenty of reviews—Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s is my favorite—and they’re sorta all over the place. We weren’t cool enough to get a review copy, but that’s not a big deal; Steam to the rescue.

I think the general consensus is that it’s an OK shooter. The thing is, there does appear to be a bit of a split in the gaming world as to whether or not that’s enough, for it to merely be an “OK shooter.” There’s also a bit of a split with respect to the orignial game: was it great, merely good, or wildly over-hyped? That may well depend on your gaming history: if all you’ve played were “console shooters,” like Halo or Gears of War, then the game was probably good to great. If, however, you grew up on a steady diet of Deus Ex and System Shock then the game may have been a disappointment. How many times can you play “put-cursor-over-man’s-face-and-left-click” and still be entertained? It’s a question I find myself asking… myself.

It’s a shooter, and not much else. Rapture is the same, if not a little shinier, but that’s it. The story is more straight-forward (ignoring the junk science), but we don’t really learn anything in particular, or anything interesting for that matter. The combat is more streamlined, but 2K Marin resorts to re-spawning enemies. (Why are we still dealing with re-spawning enemies in 2010?)

It’s more of a shooter than the first game, if that makes any sense. The first game had adventure elements about it, perhaps enforced by the fact that it was our first time in Rapture, but this time around it’s all pew-pew-pew. Still, you’re better off playing this than subjecting your brain cells to Modern Warfare 2. Not even Tom Clancy could write such nonsense.

Then there’s an underlying fear that 2K found itself with a hit game, and a good game, and immediately thought, “Let’s franchise this bad boy.” Hence, the appearance of a [tacked-on] multi-player mode to artificially extend its lifespan until the inevitable BioShock 3, which I hear isn’t half-bad for what it is. It’s no Team Fortress 2, but it was never going to be, either.

Mass Effect 2 and Assassin’s Creed II were better sequels, it seems.

I’m curious to hear what y’all think about the game. It’s a big game, yeah, and it’s “good,” sure, but did you expect more from it?

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