Bioshock 2 is certainly the game of the moment, and it's been featured heavily over the last week or so, but we have news of another price drop for you! You can now pick up the PC version for just £17.99 from 101cd and its affiliate sister sites (BlahDVD, Base, DVD.co.uk), saving you £2 on the previous cheapest listing at The Game Collection, although delivery might take a day or two longer.
Bioshock 2 takes us back down the watery rabbit hole into the bizarre world of Rapture, eight years after the events of the first game, this time in the guise of "Subject Delta" the original Big Daddy. Rapture is now under the control of Sophia Lamb, a psychologist with very different ideological ideas from the city's founder, the late Andrew Ryan. Under her watchful eyes, the original Little Sisters have grown up into, whaddaya know, Big Sisters who have taken to travelling to the surface in order to capture young girls to follow in their footsteps.
Unlike that other recent big sequel, Mass Effect 2, I was not confident at all about Bioshock 2. In fact I think it's safe to say that most of us here at dealspwn were doing our best not to think about it at all until its actual release, so flayed were our nerves. So we all breathed a sigh of relief when we got our hands on the game. It's not quite everything we could have hoped for but it certainly isn't the disaster we feared either.
While Rapture remains as fascinating, beautiful and foreboding as ever, it has been stripped of some of the mystery that made the original Bioshock so memorable and captivating. Furthermore while the narrative is engaging and exciting, the story just doesn't quite live up to that of its predecessor. While there are still plenty of surprises to be found in the sequel, the overall sense is one of having seen it all before.
That said, Bioshock 2 remains an excellent game in its own right and there are areas where it actually shows significant improvement over the original. The combat mechanics are excellent, far better than in the first game and fights are more challenging and wider in scope, against more varied and more impressively designed opponents. The new element of danger makes the vita-chambers feel essential to survival rather than a cop out as was sometimes the case in Bioshock.
The addition of a multiplayer mode is a nice touch and well done, rather than feeling tacked for the sake of it on as many feared. The plasmids work well in multiplayer and, along with the Big Daddy suits and Capture the Sister mode, help to set the game apart from other online shooters. Not to mention the additional environments, these are a real treat, it's nice to see pre-disaster Rapture in all its glory.
So thankfully my fears have been allayed; Bioshock 2 is a worthy sequel and a very enjoyable game. Sadly it does not quite scale the giddy heights of awesomeness achieved by the first instalment but then so few games do.
Be sure to check out Matt's full review!