now playing: Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 Bioshock was my standout game of 2007 so a purchase of Bioshock 2 was pretty much an automatic reaction. I couldn’t wait to return to Rapture and I’m happy to say it was well worth the trip.

This time it’s gameplay that takes centre stage while the crumbling art deco environment and story, for me the most interesting part of the original, slipped below the ridiculously high standards set by it.

In this sequel the villain is Sophia Lamb; a character born of a kind of counter philosophy to Andrew Ryan’s Objectivism from the original. However without Aryn Rand’s rich source material to draw from this concept comes across often contrived and not thought through (surely the opposite to Objectivism is plain old Stalinist Socialism?) the story never really grabbed me and I quite quickly lost many of the plot threads weaved throughout the game. Add to this levels that try a bit too hard at providing odd and spooky set pieces – clapped out amusement parks, museums and you start to lose the sense that Rapture was ever a working city, something the original managed to do well despite it’s bizarre premise.

Fortunately the shooting and plasmid combo that underpinned the first game so well is back and largely improved upon. The central idea in this game is to protect the little sisters while they harvest Adam from the many corpses that litter Rapture. This, it turns out, is a dangerous business – setting up traps and working out your defence strategy against the hordes of oncoming splicers that are attracted to the little sisters is the order of the day. The battles are great fun, frantic and often epic.

I wonder where they will go next with the series? it’s kind of hard to tell on the strength of Bioshock 2. There are rumours of an MMO in development, which I think would be good and perhaps a welcome change of pace for the series; I’d like to see and explore more of the city!