I finished BioShock 2 tonight and much to my surprise, I enjoyed it considerably more than the original. 😮
Things I liked better about BS2:
Villain. Sofia Lamb is magnificent. Frank Fontaine from BS1 was more of your typical crime lord, white collar villain type. Sofia was all sorts of complex. Her character was very much Karl Marx to Andrew Ryan’s Ayn Rand. In BioShock 1, philosophy was part of the setting, in BioShock 2, it drove the plot. I like that. I also like how Eleanor saw the corruption on both sides and chose to forge her own path somewhere in-between.
Acting. Sofia, Sinclair, Grace, Eleanor, and Gil were all outstanding.
Story. This one is hard to explain without getting overly verbose. I found the story to more ‘personal’. Around two-thirds through the game, I desperately wanted to meet and save Eleanor. I felt a purpose. I cared for her. Her line “You’re the only good thing Rapture ever gave me” really cemented it and Sarah Bolger did a magnificent job as her voice-actor. I like the BS1 story, but I was never so emotionally invested. Then there’s the whole thinking/philosophy aspect, learning about big daddies and little sisters, and Gil’s tragic side story. I thought BS1 dragged at times; I even took a break from playing it for awhile. No way with the sequel. It caused me physical pain to stop playing last night knowing I was nearing the end. (Good thing I did though, because there was quite a bit left to do.)
Seeing the world through the eyes of a little sister. This one short sequence was brilliant, surprising, enlightening, and bittersweet.
Gameplay. Once I got the Drill Specialist tonic, I played probably 80% of the remainder of the game sans guns. It’s a bit like playing a vanguard in Mass Effect: Drill Dash = Biotic Charge. So much fun and with no ammo to worry about. With Telekinesis 3 you can pluck enemies off their feet allowing you to pulverize them with the drill while they hang there helpless, and the final insult, looting their body just before firing their corpse at the next enemy like a canon ball. Electro Bolt plus Drill Dash also makes short work of Big Daddies and Big Sisters without consuming much in the way of resources. And finally Cyclone Trap has been upgraded, allowing 10 as opposed to 5 active traps and they can be combined with other plasmids for combo effects. Great for difficult gathering sessions.
On the downside, BS2 is much more linear and doesn’t have nearly the variety in environments that BS1 has, though it does have greater variety in enemies.
I didn’t touch the multiplayer and probably won’t. I played through on the highest difficulty and didn’t have much trouble. The way the game respawns you without resetting enemy health makes getting through even the toughest areas only a minor chore. Once I had my drill maxed out, the difficulty was a non-issue, even the big battle against two big sisters was a breeze. I think I used two first-aid kits and one EVE hypo. Drill FTW.