Game On!: "Bioshock 2"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Three years later, "Bioshock 2" tackles the heady task of measuring up to the beloved original. The new game struggles a bit to find its footing before proving that ground re-plowed can still bear fertile fruit.

Rapture, the failed utopia of millionaire industrialist Andrew Ryan, has seen better days. This sequel expands the conflict of the colony's genetically modified inhabitants and their slide into insanity, telling the story through the eyes of one of its special inhabitants.

It's hard to imagine, but "Bioshock 2" manages to tell a more engaging tale than its predecessor - possibly thanks to a stronger focus on the moral decisions hinted at in the first game.

Ten years have passed since the events of "Bioshock," and a new pair of power players are fighting over the vestiges of the colony. As with the first game, don't expect everything to be what it seems.

This time around, you get to play as one of the colony's most recognizable citizens - Big Daddy, a Scooby-Doo monster with a drill for an arm. Big Daddy was an iconic enemy from the first game, but he's now more intelligent and versatile.

Along with using Big Daddy's trademark drill arm and rivet gun weapons, player get upgraded superpowers. Every weapon in the game feels improved. It's fun to charge an enemy only to push your drill arm into them and press them against a bulkhead.

In a changeup, "Bioshock 2" includes a number of online multiplayer modes. These are appropriately modified versions of the standards, with a "Bioshock" feel. While fun, they won't likely unseat "Call of Duty" any time soon.

"Bioshock" felt sort of like a cross between Ayn Rand and "Citizen Kane," and the groundbreaking action game looms large over its sequel. Fans of the first title will find a lot that's familiar and much that's improved in this outing. Happily, exploring Rapture is just as enchanting and frightening the second time around.

"Bioshock 2"

System: Windows PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Players: 1 (competitive play online)

Price: $60

Rated: M for Mature

Who should buy it?: Undersea explorers

GameOn! Grade: A+