I just finished my play through of Bioshock 2 earlier this evening and with the game still fresh in my head I figured I would write a little bit about it and see what you guys thought too. I was, am, a big fan of the original Bioshock with my favorite parts being the atmosphere of the game and the whole Andrew Ryan cutscene/moment regarding the phrase "Would you kindly?". But I also recall hating the ending boss fight with lame and silly it was compared to the rest of the game. I saved the Little Sisters throughout the game and while that felt great and the "good" ending was really satisfying since you got to see the little sisters grow up and I thought to myself what a great game.
So in enters Bioshock 2 a game with no Ken Levine behind it so of couse I was skeptical of what was in store for me. Once I started to play I began to notice how the sequel nailed the atmosphere which I feel is a major part of the series. Granted playing as a Big Daddy didn't quite have the same feeling as when you played as one during the original game where you moved slower and felt like a large and powerful giant. From the very beginning I was interested in the story and loved where it took me. The addition of the Big Sisters added a tenseness every time I rescued a Little Sister knowing that there was a chance I was about to be in for the fight of my life very soon. Not to mention that by the end of the game I feared seeing a Big Sister so much that the twist at the end provoked a shocking reaction but more on that later. The three people you have the choice to save and kill, Grace, Stanley, and Gil, added a little bit to the game and rather than go for an achievement or have a "good"/"bad" play through I simply to save/kill who I wanted based on their actions and what I thought I would do in the situation which made for a great time. I personally choose to save Grace and kill both Stanley and Gil.
Once you reach Persephone and see Elanor and Lamb the story really heats up though. With Lamb attempting to kill you and sever the bond between you and Elanor it leads to one of my greatest gaming experiences in recent memory. And that memory is getting to be a Little Sister. I simply love that you get to see how they view the world and every time you are drawn into reality the difference between what she sees and what is really there is stunning. Of course as a Little Sister you have to collect the three Big Sister parts for Elanor which of course made me quite sad to see her become one of the monsters that had haunted me for so long. However once she became a Big Sister I realized what their real purpose was and not only was I not afraid of them anymore I even appreciated them. This of course leads to gaining the ability to summon Elanor to your side at anytime during a fight which is not only the greatest ability every but probably the coolest thing in recent history then to see the greatest power in the game suddenly be on your side and fighting with you.
The last chapter has some of the greatest disappointments in the game but is also what makes it better than the original. The fight with Sinclair not only felt unneeded but was not how I would have wanted to end the life of one of the most constant characters in the whole game especially considering that there wasn't even a way to save him. That said the final fight in the game is pretty much a last ditch effort/final stand against Lamb and so much better than the fight against Fontaine in Bioshock. The last stand left me with a great taste in my mouth as I watched myself die and Elanor harvest me so that I could always be with her. The ending was not only more thought provoking the original but it was also simply better done.
Suffice to say that while I love the first game and what it does. I simply think the sequel is better. It nails everything the first game did and then fixes what I didn't like about it. Not to mention that I thought the plasmids and weapons were better in the sequel too. If you read this and haven't played either yet then what are you doing? Go play some of the best games of this generation! If you read this and skipped the sequel because Ken Levine wasn't behind it then you are missing out a great game and one that I think is better then the first in every way. If you have played both do you agree with me? I would love to discuss this game and look forward to seeing everyones reaction.