Saturday, March 23, 2013

BioShock 2, part 1

I'm still ludicrously early in the game, but I feel like I need to revisit BioShock for a while in order to give its sequel a fair shake. I have a suspicion that my memory's being overly generous, and another look would leave me much more sympathetic to this follow-up.

It's been a long time since I played the original, but I don't remember it being so transparently a game. I remember it feeling organic, exploratory, subversive. Maybe it's because Rapture isn't new this time around, but it doesn't feel as special.

Maybe nostalgia is smoothing off BioShock's rough edges, but everything in this sequel feels obvious and wrong. Everything has a countdown timer or a slowly-filling gauge, every other objective is a sidequest, and every location is a linear circuit around an area leading back to a one-way door at the entrance.

So far, it's a pale imitation of everything that made the original feel special. It might be better mechanically (I haven't found the gunplay or plasmids significantly different from my memory), but if I'm honest it's not the mechanics that made BioShock great. And without all the stuff that did make it stand out, I don't think this one's worth a whole lot.

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