Monday, March 01, 2010

BioShock 2 a round-up review

The simple summation would be that I've finished the game at medium difficulty and have gone straight back in on hard.

Okay it's still BioShock so what's different?

You can use plasmids and weapons at the same time.

Hacking is much better, rather than pull you into an out-of-game mini-game hacking occurs in real-time; so you have to make sure you're clear before you start or have to move around at the same time as trying to hack. The mini-game pops up at the bottom of the screen and you try to stop a needle in a green or blue zone as it moves along, hit white and you get a zap, hit red and it calls security. It works well, except for those who are colour-blind who have, quite rightly, been complaining on the forums.

The research camera is now a research video camera. Much better as you don't have to try and get a shot of a splicer attacking you to get the bonuses points, just point, hit record and off it goes. Also no longer a need to worry about the 'ammunition' for it.

Tonics aren't split into tracks any more, so you don't have to worry about whether you have room in that particular track to install that newly bought/found tonic.

You can't go back to previous areas. Once the train leaves with you on it you can't return. In some ways a shame, but in others it allows a much better sense of immersion. I'd say it was a plus.

Much harder. I found myself using ammunition types and tactics on medium that I'd only applied on the hard difficulty for the previous game.

Messages from Eleanor, everything goes pink and you're view is obscured by her face; had one happen just as I'd attacked a Big Daddy not helpful.

Very slow menu switching. Press select and get the map, press left and wait... and wait, and then it changes. It's as if it's loading up each section every single time you access it.

Helmet cam - which I turned off.

Multiplayer. Not something I've got into yet, I want to run through on hard first, then give it a go.

So that's what's changed, what hasn't that should have been?

The textures are still off in places. The final scene was plagued by compression artefacts that simply shouldn't exist for a Blu-ray disc.

The Scrounger Tonic that allows you to switch the items found is still a pain - find a crate with 5 Dollars in it and 'scrounge' and now there's only 4 Dollars! What gives? Where'd the other dollar go? Shouldn't there be 9 Dollars now?

The all-or-nothing approach to searching. You're at full health and find a crate with Vitamins, 2 Dollars and a bottle of Merlot. You want the Dollars, but you'll consume the two food items with no benefit to health and a penalty to EVE.

Playing most tapes require a press and hold of the X button, but X is also the activate button. So pick up an audio tape from a desk and press X to play it and you search the desk. Does anyone not play the tapes as soon as they're found?

Still some frame rate problems, either with crowded scenes, or in the fast-moving Big Sister fights.

Telekinesis controls seem to have changed. Before it was hold trigger to pull in, release to throw out. Now it seems you hold the trigger to pull in then after a short period of time it throws by itself at which point you pull something else in because you're still holding the trigger.

The initial installation with the repeating orchestral music track. It's only once, but when you realise all the other loading screens show tips to the accompaniment to music+lyrics tracks makes me wonder why something wasn't done for this one-off bit.

Autosave still sticks to the same slot and appears as an over-writable option in the Save menu. These are the only two games I've seen that do this and it's unacceptable.

Plasmids still migrate around the selection wheel. This really is annoying as weapons don't. Okay fair enough the number of slots for weapons is equal to the number of weapons so each can have its own place and there are more plasmids than slots so they can't. But if I pick up Electroshock 3 with Electroshock 2 installed I don't expect it to move around the wheel. Have each slot in the track correspond to a slot on the wheel, set up the track so it shows up like this that way when I go to pick a plasmid in the heat of battle I don't come out wielding Telekinesis instead of Inferno. Yes the game pauses, but still I shouldn't have to think about this.

Ah well it's still a good game.