Return to Rapture with Bioshock 2, as a Big Daddy, no less. And if you're magpie-like tendencies often attract you to editions of the collector variety, then Bioshock 2: Collectors Edition can be bought from Play for only £24.99!
The Collectors Edition of Bioshock 2 bundled with 12" vinyl record of the Bioshock soundtrack, an audio CD of the same soundtrack in case your not from the 1930s, 3 Rapture advertisements in the style of their virtual counterparts, and a 164-page hardback art book. All housed in a solid, stylish case. Play's offer is the cheapest deal around, and at quite a price-margin. Delivery's free, only it might be too big to fit through the letterbox!
Averaging a score of 88 on MetaCritic and a solid 8 from our ever-reliable editor Matt, Bioshock 2 picks up ten years on from the original, and in the wake of Jack and Fontaine's climactic encounter, Rapture has been sinking into oblivion. But something, or someone, has been kidnapping young girls, taking them down to Rapture and transforming them into Little Sisters, in an effort to return Rapture to its former glory. And so you're story begins, again, in fact. You're a Big Daddy, the first, known as Subject Delta. You're believed to be dead, shot by Sophia Lamb, a psychiatrist who's assumed Ryan's role as Rapture's overseer. But you're alive again, somehow, and you're former Little Sister seems responsible. You must find her. The only problem is, she's Lamb's daughter. And Lamb isn't happy you're alive, and with an army of Splicers at her disposal, she'll do whatever is necessary to remove you from the land of the living once again.
The structure and overall narrative direction is essentially the same as the original. Like Jack, you're brought back to Rapture against your will, but instead of Atlas whispering in your ear, it's Tenebaum, creator of the Little Sisters, who'll guide you through Rapture's dripping, decrepit halls. Being a Big Daddy means a few privileges Jack lacked upon arrival. Remember the Big Daddy's enormous drill? You're equipped with it from the beginning, along with a heft rivet-gun to replace the bog standard pistol. Delta's armory grows, with giant shotguns, mini-guns, and even spear-guns. Plasmids are still around, and you can fire both your current weapon and plasmid of choice at the same time now. Overall, Bioshock 2's moment-to-moment combat experience is superior to the original, what with dual-wielding weapons and plasmids, improved AI and enemy types, and epic encounters with the Big Sisters. Imagine if the Big Daddy's shed their lumbering weight, attended ninja-school and were forced to watch One Tree Hill marathons, over and over again. Lithe, nimble and very, very angry.
But the story lacks the narrative punch of the original, and the philosophical overtones which helped shape a game which at its core was about shooting mutants in the face into a story with depth and meaning, are less well-woven into the plot and remain somewhat vague. Lamb is a compelling character, but can't compare to Ryan, whereas Tenebaum is a bland, one-note cipher who's cause is difficult to care for. And it's impossible to judge Bioshock 2's story without considering the pink elephant in Rapture. A plot-twist. Thankfully, they don't resort to the same trick, but it does result in the second installment feeling decidedly unspectacular in comparison to its older sibling's jaw-dropping moment.