BioShock 2: Review Round-up

Along with Bayonetta and Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2 is one of the early big-hitters of 2010, and hits stores tomorrow. Does it match up to its rivals? Heck, more to the point, does it equal its predecessor, a wonderfully atmospheric romp and many people’s game of the year in 2007? Let’s equip the Review Round-up plasmid and find out:

Wired (full review here) suggest there may be too many new power-ups (“you’re loaded down with way too much stuff”), but the less linear levels, a greater emphasis on exploration, and an engaging story all earned brownie points:

“[Developer] 2K Marin did a great job. It chose elements of the first game that presented opportunities to be expanded upon, created new environments and characters that fit neatly into the universe and orchestrated a few surprising, engaging moments.

Destructoid (full review here) splits its write-up between the single-player campaign and hotly-debated multiplayer mode. In short: single-player good, multiplayer… ehh, s’alright:

“BioShock 2’s single-player campaign trades in some narrative quality for superior gameplay, and it’s a fair trade indeed. No, BioShock 2 may not feel like a fantastic follow-up to its predecessor, but it still feels like a part of its universe. It also throws in its own memorable set pieces, and quite a few terrific characters. […] The multiplayer can be fun, but it can easily come off as gimmicky.

1UP (full review here) praises the more tactical combat and production values, but isn’t convinced the narrative lives up to that of the original title:

“If you were hoping for another chance to jump in and explore Rapture, BioShock 2 probably won’t disappoint you, but you’re not getting the same caliber of twisted, engaging story this time around. It’s a standard, straightforward tale, with a few too many holes to be called truly “great,” but it’s still a fun ride.

Eurogamer (full review here) questions how much free will BioShock 2 really grants players, but liked the story (once it got going):

“The single-player campaign is still the main event. It will and should be damned for its long, slow start, during which the game struggles to make its intentions clear, but once past that the developers find a new tempo that wrings just enough extra quality out of the existing framework to justify your patience.”