Bioshock 2, the sequel to water-logged shooter Bioshock, is finally on store shelves, so we'll all have the chance to find out whether the return to Rapture lives up to the gold-standard set by the first game.
Personally, after several hours of play, I love Bioshock 2... with reservations. There are only so many things you can do with a sequel, especially to something as innovative, distinctive and impressive as Bioshock. You can try to make it bigger and more badass, but that too often results in something over-the-top and ridiculous. Or you can go in a totally different direction with it: But that often leads to bitterness on the part of fans of the first game. The makers of Bioshock 2 wisely chose to take a middle path, and make some incremental improvements to the game without really trying to "outdo" the original in terms of story and/or "Wow!" factor. That makes for a great game, but not a game that's better or as good-as the original.
Going back to Rapture is like returning to a city you had a great time in. I found myself greeting each element from the first game with the kind of excitement I usually reserve for old friends. "Look! A Leadhead Splicer! Ooh, there's an ammo vending machine!" But there's just enough new stuff to keep the experience from being a total re-tread. So I really like the game, but, so far, there's been nothing that matched the "Oh. My. God" amazement of that first trip down the bathysphere in Bioshock.
What do you think? Have you played it yet? Do you plan to? How does it stack up to the first game?
For a more in-depth (get it?) look at the game, check out Jake Gaskill's review!