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BioShock 2 Released 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the look-at-little-sister dept.
BioShock 2 launched today for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows, ending the wait for a sequel to the original 2007 blockbuster. The events in BioShock 2 take place 10 years after the story from the original game. This time around, players control a prototype Big Daddy in an attempt to overthrow the new leader of Rapture. Early reviews for the game are quite strong, though the developers were prepared for fan backlash over some of the changes they made. The Guardian's Nicky Woolf praises the new storyline, and adds that "there is a fundamentally excellent shooter here too, with some of the best combat dynamics in the business." Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Alec Meer also had good things to say about the combat: "I can't stress this enough – as a game about shooting people, it's very responsive and very rewarding." However, Meer expressed disappointment that some of the impressive new concept art didn't get used and that the story and environment couldn't match the novelty of the original game. "Part of Rapture's great wonder was that it was just believable enough, if you squinted your brain a bit (or a lot), but this lathers on so much wild sci-fi that it's much harder to connect to it. The Sisters are elevated from horrifying genetic/psychological experiment into all-powerful messiah figures capable of pulling any old deus ex machina out of the hat. Making them into so much reduces the power and the sadness of what they are. As a result, the concept feels too exhausted to ever be used again."
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BioShock 2 Released

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  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:56PM (#31075872) Homepage Journal

    BioShock 2 launched today for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows, ending the wait for a sequel to the original 2007 blockbuster.

    Wow, a huge three years between games.

    You guys never played Zelda, Metroid, Diablo or StarCraft, have you?

    • Re:Ending the wait? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:59PM (#31075940)

      Or half-life, Doom, Quake, or...

      I'm still skeptical though. The original bioshock didnt even keep the same mouse sensitivity through level loads/changes, that's a pretty fundamental problem.

      Metacritic alone is proof that "reviews" don't mean anything about the quality of a game, just look at Far Cry 2: The "professional" rating is near perfect and the aggregade of ~500+ user ratings is pretty much the opposite.

      • DAMMIT! AggregaTe! Now I sound like I'm talking about some kind of sports drink.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        "reviews" don't mean anything about the quality of a game,

        Final Fantasy: Dirge of Cerebrus got bad reviews just because the fanboys were expecting the same old shit. I thought a Final Fantasy FPS was a welcome departure for the series, and it was very well done for an afterthought.

      • by SpeZek (970136)

        just look at Far Cry 2: The "professional" rating is near perfect and the aggregade of ~500+ user ratings is pretty much the opposite.

        That's because the "professional" reviewers don't play the whole game. So for something like Far Cry 2, they only got slightly bored with the repetitive gameplay, the game-stopping glitches, and the woefully terrible savegame system (I was wondering why my game had become terribly slow...turns out my save folder was 5 GB from quicksaving).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by layingMantis (411804)
        Agreed. I am staying away from Modern Warfare 2 due to the insane discrepancy between critical reviews (~94) and user reviews (>60), on metacritic. And it isn't a ps3/360 exclusive, so there's not even the "dipshit fanboy voting against the other console's games" effect to account for. The same "critics with their collective heads up their butts" phenomenon exists with movies too - check out the high reviews of "Lost In Translation", one of the most overrated films I've seen. Bottom line is that y
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by KDR_11k (778916)

          Oh crap, don't remind me of Lost in Translation. After hearing so much about it I rented it and watched it with the family. We all agreed that it was a terrible movie.

          Professional reviewers seem to review more on polish than actual fun. My favourite examples here are MaBoShi's Arcade (WiiWare) and Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360). MaBoShi is extremely polished. Really to an insane degree, you can even download it to your DS and play on the go. The only downside is... the core gameplay is uninteresting. M

          • by Pojut (1027544)

            ::begin self promotion::

            Perhaps you would be interested in my game reviews then? I try to approach them as somewhere between a game reviewer and a game player. I like to think I do OK, although my writing could use a little work :-) Some reviews of games I've done recently:

            Mass Effect 2 [livingwithanerd.com]
            Torchlight [livingwithanerd.com]
            Modern Warfare 2 (Single Player only) [livingwithanerd.com]
            Borderlands [livingwithanerd.com]
            The Dark Spire [livingwithanerd.com]

            I do my best to keep personal excitement out of the review and stick only to my experience playing the game, but alas I'm not always able to :-( ::end

      • Metacritic alone is proof that "reviews" don't mean anything about the quality of a game, just look at Far Cry 2: The "professional" rating is near perfect and the aggregade of ~500+ user ratings is pretty much the opposite.

        Professional reviews are paid for, film at 11 rated highly by sellout monthly.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Wow, a huge three years between games.

      You guys never played Zelda, Metroid, Diablo or StarCraft, have you?

      civilization, simcity ...

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Or System Shock 1 & 2 which Bioshock was supposedly originally going to be a continuation of.
    • by steelfood (895457)

      I guess they were expecting a DNF-type wait.

    • by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @07:17PM (#31079748)

      You guys never played Zelda, Metroid, Diablo or StarCraft, have you?

      I play Duke Nukem, you insensitive clod!

  • DRM? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zero_out (1705074) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @02:58PM (#31075922)

    What kind of DRM does the PC version have?

    I never bought the first game, due to the draconian DRM. By the time it was eased, there were so many other great games on my list to purchase and play that I never got back around to Bioshock. The end result: They lost my business.

    • Re:DRM? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:21PM (#31076328)

      Supposedly it has:
      - securom
      - steam
      - Games for Windows Live

      All at once. Of course rumor has it the pirate bay version was available yesterday and had all those things stripped out.

      A lot of people refuse to buy this game because of the DRM.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        yeah, that's a whole lot of "I'm going to pirate instead of buy because that's a whole lot of garbage", at least to me.

        Adding windows live even when securom is removed isn't even a tradeoff. It's worse.

        • Re:DRM? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DeadDecoy (877617) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:59PM (#31076892)
          Ugh, I really hate windows live, especially when it's incorporated in steam games. It's like hey: we put DRM in your DRM so we can lock down your game while we lock down your game. The worst part are the involuntary patches that can get up to or greater than 100 mb. Just when you're ready to play, they slap you down a couple of pegs.
          • by Blakey Rat (99501)

            What does Windows Live have anything to do with DRM?

            All it does it integrate the PC game with the Xbox Live system, so you can track achievements, IM Xbox Live-using friends, etc. It also provides voice chat for games that don't already have that.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by DeadDecoy (877617)
              True, it's not DRM per-say, but for some games, it's not optional and feels like a an unnecessary and cumbersome third-pary add-on. For instance, I had purchased DOW II, upon downloading the 4+ gig behemoth, I had to install and run windows live, even though I only wanted to play the single player campaign. The absurdity about this is that Steam + Live is that it's redundant. Steam already tracks achievements, friends, etc. So why must I be forced to install and run Live? While it's not technically DRM, it
              • by Blakey Rat (99501)

                While it's not technically DRM, it feels like DRM because it's tracking software that the user has little control over if they want to play their game.

                That's complete nonsense. Don't devalue the term "DRM" by applying it to things that aren't Digital Restriction Management in any way, shape or form.

                In any case, as an Xbox owner, I appreciate it... my achievements all go into the same place, instead of having a set in Steam, another set on Xbox, etc. Steam and Live aren't redundant until Live runs on *all* S

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by DeadDecoy (877617)
                  If I owned an xbox, I'd probably appreciate live with the same fervor you exhibit. But I don't, and I've found that using Live outside of the proper MS environment unpleasant. I still don't think I cheapen the word DRM by considering Live synonymous with it. While Live isn't the core DRM technology, they do enable game serials to be linked you your Live id. This can make Live a more integral part of a DRM system as a whole because it helps developers track and uniquely identify you (as best as possible). Gr
            • Re:DRM? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Itchyeyes (908311) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @05:29PM (#31078254) Homepage

              GFWL isn't explicitly DRM, but it has some DRM-ish aspects to it. For example, with an online account you must be logged in to access your save games on many newer games. Granted, you can create an offline account, but you can't share save games between your online account and offline account. So if you start a game online, you better be prepared to finish it online. This problem is further compounded by two things. First, games using GFWL must be patched through GFWL. There is no alternate route if say GFWL's servers are down. Also, you can only be logged into your GFWL account in one place at a time. That might not seem like a problem, but if you have an Xbox 360, then your GFWL account is likely shared with your gamertag. So if your wife wants to watch Netflix on the Xbox and you want to play Red Faction: Guerrilla on your PC, tough luck. Only one of you can log in.

              So like I said, GFWL isn't exactly DRM. But keep in mind that the problem that people have with DRM is not that they can't pirate the games, it's that it restricts legitimate use of the product, or at least makes legitimate use unnecessarily convoluted and cumbersome, which is exactly what GFWL does.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by KDR_11k (778916)

            That and unlike Steam you can't even tell Windows Live to download the patch while you browse the net or something, you have to start the game and stare at the progress bar that won't tell you how much time is left, if you alt-tab away it halts the download.

      • by WarlockD (623872)

        Meh, its not as bad as it sounds.

        http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55023 [2kgames.com]

        You can turn off Live for windows (I won't, I am an achievement whore) and I buy most of my games from stream anyway so fine with that.

        But why even bother with securom anymore?

        • I want to have none, I will compromise on Steam. Their current offer is unacceptable. Strip out securom and live, and we'll talk.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CeramicNuts (265664)

        Wow. I still haven't picked up the first BioShock because of the DRM.

        2k released a Civ 4 bundle with NO DRM. Maybe they'll come around in a few years.

    • Re:DRM? (Score:4, Informative)

      by beef3k (551086) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:34PM (#31076532)
      From the release notes of the crack:

      Protection: SecuROM+XLive+PA
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        It's a sad day when you have to turn to the "illegal" venues to actually get accurate information about the DRM of a game you might have bought.

    • Re:DRM? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Totenglocke (1291680) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @04:14PM (#31077140)

      The DRM for Bioshock 2 is even worse than before. Securom is still there and requires online activation and now there is Games for Windows Live forcing it's own online activation and 15 install activation limit.

      The real kicker is that 2K has a thread where they lie and claim they "scaled back" the DRM by removing the 5 install limit set by Securom - but it's irrelevant since GFWL has it's own install limit. Oh, and if you buy it on Steam? You get the Steam DRM + Securom + GFWL - that's 3x DRM......and yet 2K claims that they listened to customers after the fiasco that was Bioshock's DRM.

    • by westlake (615356)

      I never bought the first game, due to the draconian DRM. By the time it was eased, there were so many other great games on my list to purchase and play that I never got back around to Bioshock. The end result: They lost my business.

      The problem is that they don't need your business:

      Bestsellers in PC Games [amazon.com], Bestsellers in Console Gaming - Hardware and Software [amazon.com]

      Bioshock is #12 on the PC list, just out of the top ten. Bioshock was released in August 2007.

      Bioshock & Oblivion Bundle [amazon.com] [XBox 360]

    • by brkello (642429)
      I understand your concerns. But honestly, consoles are a form of DRM.
  • What's new? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jim Hall (2985) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:00PM (#31075958) Homepage

    I really enjoyed the first game. It had a lot of new elements thrown into it. Far from being a straight-up shooter, there was quite a bit of exploration required. Some areas reminded me of Thief for the PC. I liked the options to "level up" your character, and the moral choice to harvest / not to harvest the Little Sisters. (Although I didn't realize that it was all-or-nothing with that, so while I only harvested 1 Little Sister [the first one] I got the "bad" ending.)

    Graphically, the first game felt a little dated, even at launch. But it was a great example of what a great story and plot arc can do to overcome graphics.

    That said, I'm not looking forward to the sequel at all. I'm going to skip this one. Meer reflects the same thoughts I had when I first learned of a Bioshock 2: "Part of Rapture's great wonder was that it was just believable enough, if you squinted your brain a bit (or a lot), but this lathers on so much wild sci-fi that it's much harder to connect to it."

    I don't think the follow-up will hold up. Part of that is that too many gamers (like me) would keep comparing a sequel to an original game that was (in many ways) groundbreaking. And it's awfully hard to live up to that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      I don't think the follow-up will hold up. Part of that is that too many gamers (like me) would keep comparing a sequel to an original game that was (in many ways) groundbreaking. And it's awfully hard to live up to that.

      This was exactly how I felt...until I realized that I was being foolish. I've never said this about a sequel before, but in the case of Bioshock 2, I don't care if it's more of the same...more of the same of Bioshock is a GREAT thing. Even if it doesn't improve on anything, it would still be worth playing based on the fact that we get more Rapture!

      Sorry if I sound like a drooling Bioshock cultist, but seriously, ask yourself...would more of the first game be a bad thing?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aqualung812 (959532)
        I would agree if it was more of what was in Bioshock 1. However, the team that did the first one went out of their way to point out that they were NOT AT ALL involved with this one. That makes me think there are some pretty big differences, and I doubt they are for the better. Still, I'll try it at a friend's house (that has no kids and can buy games on a whim) and see if I like it.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:10PM (#31076156)

      Hands down, System Shock 2 was better in every way than Bioshock (well, OK, graphically Bioshock is far better but then you'd expect that given the progression of engine abilities).

      Most specifically, I like the background of Bioshock BUT the twist in the middle of the story really pissed me off, at least the way they handled it from user interaction. They were going somewhere subtle and then all of the sudden you have no choices (despite supposedly the game being about choice) and a Mu-Ha-Ha villain lacking only a twirly mustache.

      That's not to say at some point I will not play Bioshock 2, I just have trouble really putting my heart into it after Bioshock was such a weak game compared to the story and gameplay of System Shock...

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        That's not to say at some point I will not play Bioshock 2, I just have trouble really putting my heart into it after Bioshock was such a weak game compared to the story and gameplay of System Shock...

        ...why are you comparing the two? Even though they had many of the same people working on them and shared thematic similarities, they were two very different games.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tim C (15259)

          they were two very different games

          Note: mild spoilers ahead.

          System Shock 2

          * you awake to find yourself in the middle of a catastrophe; disorientated you must fight to survive in an unfamiliar environment
          * you can specialise in combat, psi powers or a mixture
          * there are automated systems and vending machines that can be hacked
          * there are collectable upgrade modules that can be exchanged for upgraded stats, new psi powers, etc
          * there are hypos, first aid kits, food and drink that can be used to increase healt

          • I came up with a tiny, tiny subset of that list but yours is really comprehensive and really lays out the great number of similarities.

            One thing, although there is not exactly a skill tree the way you acquire new plasmids is along the same lines of how you would gain points to acquire new skills, it just means you can sort of adapt your "equipped skill tree" along the way, though only to a certain extent as you cannot afford the whole tree. I am not sure if I like that less or more yet, though the SS2 appr

        • ...why are you comparing the two? Even though they had many of the same people working on them and shared thematic similarities, they were two very different games.

          Although the mechanisms by which you leveled up differed, they seemed really similar to me - Plasmids/Psionic powers, hacking skills you could improve, hacking into turrets, scripted events... some of that is common now, but the main point I am making is there's nothing Bioshock did that was really revolutionary because the elements that made Bi

        • by mjwx (966435)

          ...why are you comparing the two? Even though they had many of the same people working on them and shared thematic similarities, they were two very different games.

          Welcome to (_)SYSTEM SHOCK 2\(_)BIOSHOCK

          After a short (_)TRAINING\(_)BATHYSPHERE section you awaken in a (_)SPACESHIP\(_)UNDERWATER CITY that is in a clear state of disrepair, signs of something going horribly wrong and so forth. Immediately you are contacted by (_)POLITO\(_)ATLAS who explains that something went wrong and they want to meet

      • by antdude (79039)

        Someone should mod System Shock games to use BioShock engines, but then companies won't like it. :(

        • We just saw a reboot of Star Trek, and Spiderman is already about to reboot too...

          Why don't truly classic video games like System Shock get reboots like movies and TV? I mean, take the same story and tweak it a bit. I think companies figure people have played through it already so they would not buy it - but aren't there about two whole gaming generations around that have never even heard of System Shock? And if you sprinkle a few surprises in there I'll be just as happy to play though a great story agai

    • by brkello (642429)
      I guess I don't mind if they take liberty with reality in a video game. I am more of a story person with most games. But Bioshock seems more of an FPS to me. As long as they tighten up the actual game play part of it from the first Bioshock, I will be happy. The engine felt really...slow...compared to a regular twitch-based FPS.
  • Part of Rapture's great wonder was that it was just believable enough, if you squinted your brain a bit (or a lot), but this lathers on so much wild sci-fi that it's much harder to connect to it.

    I'm a little bit afraid of the person who thought Bioshock was "believable".

    • by vlm (69642)

      I'm a little bit afraid of the person who thought Bioshock was "believable".

      In a genre that gave us Prey, Halflife, and Doom, Bioshock was not too bad...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by shadowrat (1069614)
        halflife? Prey and Doom are clearly not based on reality, but when i played Halflife that first time, i SWORE i was riding on a train.
    • Re:Immersion (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:30PM (#31076440)

      >I'm a little bit afraid of the person who thought Bioshock was "believable".

      Dunno, obviously the fantastic elements are ridiculous, but there's no shortage of Randians and other nutters looking for some kind of new floating society. The last time I heard about this nuttiness was "The Freedom Ship," kinda a libertarian/randian/right-wing fantasy about living on the seas tax-free (ignoring the massive ship assessment fee of course!). I think its 100% believable to think that fanatics would attempt to try to start their own little society or compound. Religious types seem to do it all the time.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I fully agree that we should put all these Randroids adrift in the middle of the ocean so they won't be forced to use the roads, military, fire departments and schools they don't want to pay for.
  • by thomasdz (178114) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:01PM (#31075982)

    If it's anything like "rogue" or "nethack" crossed with "tetris" and "super mario" ... I'm ready to play!

  • DRM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keithjr (1091829) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:03PM (#31076024)
    What's the story with DRM on this game?
    • Re:DRM? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:06PM (#31076082)

      What's the story with DRM on this game?

      http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55023 [2kgames.com]

      • by Chalex (71702)

        Wow, that's 57 pages of people asking the official representative to describe exactly what the limitations of the DRM are, and not getting a complete answer that doesn't conflict with what it says on the box or on Steam.

        It sounds like you need to have SecuROM (max 5 activations, whatever that means) and also Microsoft Games for Windows Live (max 15 activations, whatever that means) and you need to register online with Microsoft before being able to use the disk you purchased at the store.

  • who thought the original was boring?

    • by Reason58 (775044) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:13PM (#31076196)

      who thought the original was boring?

      System Shock was far from boring.

    • Nope. I'm with you.

      Walk around in trashed faux 1920s underwater cavern... kill zombie... find key... kill zombie... listen to over the top voice acting... kill zombie... kill zombie... kill zombie... kill big daddy... kill zombie... find key... kill zombie...

      I thought the first game was nice to look at, had an interesting background plot compared to most games, but was pretty damn average to play. The fps combat was decidedly mediocre, and it felt like there were two or three types of enemies in the whole

    • Disappointing in addition to boring. It's like the perfect picture of everything that is wrong with the dumbing down of gaming to cater for the console crowd, emphasized that much more when people claim that it's some sort of spiritual successor to System Shock 2. Bioshock shouldn't be allowed to be mentioned in the same paragraph as SS2.

      It has all the standard gripes with a console FPS, sluggish aiming, a horrible FOV, massive targeting reticule ... and then it ends up using that amazing setting, atmospher

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday February 09, 2010 @03:50PM (#31076748)
    I really couldn't get into BioShock. I had just played Dead Space and they both felt like essentially the same game and same story line. You arrive, transport is destroyed, find yourself thrown into environment overrun with monsters, get your prompts from a "friendly" on the radio, etc. I made it through the first chapter, then quit. Oh, and the sound was annoyingly "off" somehow, maybe not properly mapped to the sprite's distance in the background.
    • I picked up up on a Steam sale a couple months ago and did not get far passed the first 'big daddy' before succumbing to the horrible UI and the tedium it caused. It marked the first time I set down a game that was so well reviewed because it was intolerable from a gameplay perspective. Typically, I will suffer through most drawbacks if the story is compelling enough, but in the case of Bioshock, I was not hooked by the story before my patience was up. Initially, I chalked this up to being an old game, but
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Fallingcow (213461)

        If you like FPS games I strongly recommend you try STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, if you haven't.

        It didn't get a whole lot of press, but it's one of the best single player non-Valve FPS games to come out in--oh, years probably.

        No console version, PC only, which probably helped. It's (sorely needed) proof that the genre isn't completely worn out.

        It's available on Steam. Should be super cheap by now.

    • Out of curiosity, what did you think of Deadspace?

      • It's a beautiful game and they deserved to win awards based on some of the imagery, but the storyline was asinine. The scare factor was a 10 and there were times I had to stop just to recover my wits I was so scared of monsters jumping out at me. But, I just couldn't get over elements like shooting limbs (made no sense), poorly implemented 3rd person view (aim was sometimes impossible to achieve), wacky plot shifts, the "putting out fires" never-ending tasks, weapons upgrade process made it impossible to
    • I tried BioShock once. I made it about 10 minutes before I quit. I thought the game was pretty awful, but that is just my opinion.
  • ...if they had allowed you to play as a Little Sister, the target of every Splicer, crawling through the ducts for safe transit, popping out here or there to try and drain some Adam from a corpse, scampering around various Big Daddy's for protection (or deliberately drawing enemies to Big Daddys to get them killed), perhaps being able to set traps or sabotage things.

    I suppose a scenario like that would've made the game more puzzle-like rather than a shooter, but I think it still would've been pretty interes

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