Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
  1. If you're still wondering if BioShock 2 is better than the original as you enter the final level, by the time you beat it, you'll have no doubt. This is one of the best games you'll ever play. [Mar 2010, p.62]
  2. The weapons are better. The plasmids are better. The enemies are better. At some points, even the storytelling is better. What's most amazing and surprising about BioShock 2, however, is that by diving deeper into Rapture's tortured history and exploring more of Rapture's haunted world, it actually manages to make the original BioShock better, too.
  3. 100
    If BioShock 1 is ultimately about what it is to be a slave, the sequel shows – with a sophistication rarely seen in gaming – what it is to be a parent, with the power to love or to harm.
  4. The thrilling single player lives up to the standards originally set by the predecessor and the addition of a very strong multiplayer takes Bioshock 2 to another level. It may be too soon to call Game of the Year, but Bioshock 2 is certainly a contender and a very strong one at that.
  5. As far as single player goes, I think nothing will capture the initial highs you got from taking in Rapture for the first time, and the enormous twist the original delivered. However, the sequel's story is just as intense and has its own narrative highs and a mean twist of its own, and I think the end payoff is a bit more impactful and sinks in better than the ending of the first BioShock.
  6. Was the return to Rapture worth it? Absolutely. Although the odds seemed stacked against the developers, having to do without both Ryan and Levine, they have delivered a rich, awesome trip through one the most fantastic video game environments ever built.
  7. Unless the familiarity really gets to you, you're going to love BioShock 2. It's a lovingly crafted, carefully constructed masterpiece of narrative richness and smart game mechanics. It can even be enjoyed as a straight-up shooter thanks to its innovative, tactile combat system. [Feb 2010, p.72]
  8. It's definitely a great game and will likely be on top ten lists at the end of the year. It's just not a perfect 10.
  9. 93
    BioShock 2 is a game developed for all those square-eyed shooter fiends who wanted to explore the ocean floor, shoot-em-up with others online, and never play one of those annoying pipe-puzzlers again so long as they lived.
  10. Perhaps BioShock needed a sequel, and perhaps it didn't. Regardless, BioShock 2 is here and it's a great sequel that fixes the problems of the original and crafts another compelling tale within the walls of Rapture.
  11. Bloody amazing! The original game went beyond those clichéd first person shooters and in creating a sequel, the developers have fleshed out the city of Rapture even more but more importantly, have streamlined the gameplay, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Of course, without the detailed characters and story of BioShock 2, it would not have reached these levels and of course, the luscious graphics.
  12. Before heading into Bioshock 2, you had to wonder if a sequel was necessary. The original Bioshock was so perfect that fans couldn't even imagine how '2K Games' would approach a sequel. Well, 2K and its collaborating studios have pulled off a brilliant sequel that holds up to the critical acclaim of the first game.
  13. 91
    It's a game in which story, setting, and gameplay are expertly blended to create an experience that's as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.
  14. 91
    In raw gameplay terms, BioShock 2 improves on the original in everyway, with a deeper combat system, a broader set of enemy types and the addition of a fully-featured multiplayer mode.
  15. Rich, philosophical story...that's not as clever as the original story.
  16. The fantastic setting and light RPG elements really pull you in, and the customizations, challenging game play and new online multiplayer modes will keep you coming back for more. It's definitely worth it to book a trip back to Rapture.
  17. 90
    This second tour of duty with far superior toys is everything it needs to be, though. Familiarity breeds a little contempt, but as, simply, a game in which you shoot monsters in city under the sea, it's better in every respect.
  18. Maybe Bioshock 2 is not as emotionally engaging as its first iteration, but at same time retains the main virtues of its predecessor. A game that shows the maturity that the First Person Shooter has achieved in this generation.
  19. If 2K had managed to tell a story that equalled or bettered that found in the original, we'd have been left with an unquestionably better experience, rather than just a more exciting, smarter shooter.
  20. Much of it looks and feels familiar, but 2K Games proved that there is a whole other side of Rapture worth exploring, as well as new and interesting stories to tell. Gripping, wondrous and at times horrifying, it's a superb effort that opens the door for perhaps another game, but don't worry about that. For now, put on that Big Daddy helmet and pay this phenomenal city a visit.
  21. Bioshock 2 is an atmospheric, immersive game that does more than just hold a candle to its beloved predecessor. The campaign is engaging, the multiplayer is great, and the new gameplay elements are excellent.
  22. 90
    Refined gameplay and a wonderfully imagined return to Rapture makes Bioshock 2 a must play experience, and one of the best games available this generation. Incredibly effective and, like the first, leaves an impression that lasts.
  23. Props to 2K Games for delivering such a strong sequel. Bioshock 2 offers an absorbing experience, runs smoothly, plays like a dream and has a fantastic story. This is how games that are driven by stories should be. Already one of the best games of 2010.
  24. Who's the Daddy? You are - if you choose to play this brilliant action game.
  25. BioShock 2 feels like coming home after a long holiday. The game has a lot of elements which we saw in the first game, but also some nice improvements. Rapture is still a very nice place to explore and we love the fact that you can use guns and plasmids at the same time.
  26. BioShock 2 is a worthy follow-up to the critically acclaimed odyssey in Rapture. While there is only a modest amount of updates, the game stands well on its own through a new and exciting story, online multiplayer, and tremendous presentation.
  27. 90
    It may lack the narrative impact of its predecessor - BioShock's jaw-loosening plot twist is one of gaming's finest - and the art deco wonder of Rapture may have lost some of its artistic wow factor, but there's still plenty to applaud here. Instilled with the same graphical beauty, eerie atmosphere and depth of character that made the first visit to Rapture such a discomforting yet immersive pleasure, it's the fluid dual-wielding gameplay, tense tactical set-piece battles, and the truly terrifying shriek of the Big Sisters that convincingly propel BioShock 2 towards greatness.
  28. By relying, and cashing in on, what made the Bioshock so great, 2K has made a worthy sequel. However, they did so without surpassing the original. Bioshock 2 isn't exactly what its predecessor was in terms of novelty but remains a great game that every gamer should check out, whether you've played the first outing or not.
  29. BioShock 2 is a much more involving experience than its predecessor. The world of Rapture is as scenic as ever and playing Big Daddy is a memorable experience. Hollywood please take note – this is how good sequels are made.
  30. A fantastic game and although the progression may be similar to the first, the action feels a lot fresher.
  31. 90
    BioShock 2 is the sequel of the fantastic BioShock and this time you play a prototype Big Daddy, a few years after the original BioShock. The gameplay isn't much improved and the graphics are a little bit the same. It sounds negative, but the game is at every perspective of high quality, thanks to the new plasmids and weapons.
  32. Plot-wise, this doesn't match the original. However, the combat has been spliced to near-perfection. [Mar 2010, p.64]
  33. Bioshock 2 won't win any awards for its visuals, and maybe the sequel's story isn't as captivating as the first game. But for the most part, the sequel lives up to the original and fans of the original will still love every ounce of what this game has to offer.
  34. Bioshock 2 is a worthy heir of the first chapter, from the storytelling to the gameplay. Hence it's still a great FPS-adventure title, but the magic and genius of its predecessor is somehow lost.
  35. BioShock 2 is a great game, but feels more like BioShock 1.5 than a full sequel.
  36. BioShock 2 had a huge mountain of unrealistic expectations to overcome the moment it was announced. Even though it's not quite as excellent as the first game was, BioShock 2 is one of the most enjoyable games I've played in a long time.
  37. 88
    A very good game indeed, well worth the cash, but it doesn't quite reach the masterwork status of the first game. [Issue#189, p.68]
  38. Some new features and an interesting story make BioShock 2 to a more than equal sequel. It's a pity that there are not many scenes that really take place under water and deliver that feeling of being trapped.
  39. A conservative return to Rapture, but full of quality.
  40. Rapture may not be as mysterious and intriguing this second time around, but it is nonetheless host to a powerful and moving tale that allows you to better realize--or pervert--Ryan's principles at your own discretion. Regardless of whether or not this is a return visit to paradise lost, there is plenty to be found here to make it a worthwhile, meaningful, and compelling one.
  41. Bioshock 2 is a wonderful experience which is gripping from start to finish, it doesn't stray too far from the original though, which may be its downfall in some people's eyes.
  42. It can't top the original, but BioShock 2 stands on its own as a great installment to a hopefully continuing series.
  43. 85
    The graphics and the sound in BioShock 2 are well done, but the gameplay hasn't changed much since the first title. The story and the atmosphere in Rapture are still the best part of the game and therefore the main reason to buy this work of art.
  44. BioShock was so ahead of its time when it first came out, that its sequel can be forgiven for simply following in the same path and hitting the same notes.
  45. Whilst Bioshock 2 may feel very similar to the original game, it does expand on the characters and story that were introduced in the original game and once again allows you to create a very customisable playing experience through the use of Plasmids and Tonics.
  46. BioShock 2 sets out to make a name for itself, and overall it does. It improves on the original's gameplay while telling two different stories across modes. The experience isn't as powerful at the end, but the Little Sister bond makes up for that.
  47. BioShock 2 is a great game that I thoroughly enjoyed playing. Unfortunately, the experience wasn't as fresh as I'd have liked. It seems like the dev teams didn't take enough chances for fear of alienating the rabid fan base. Still, despite the overwhelming familiarity of the title, there's a load of quality gaming to be found here. It's definitely worth suiting up and heading back into Rapture.
  48. If your interest lies solely with the single-player experience - and let's be frank, this is why we counted down the days until BioShock 2's release - I walked away from it pleased, but also unfulfilled. BioShock 2 eventually becomes the sequel I hoped for, but spends too much time getting there. [Issue#203, p.82]
  49. 83
    If you were hoping for another chance to jump in and explore Rapture, BioShock 2 probably won't disappoint you, but you're not getting the same caliber of twisted, engaging story this time around. It's a standard, straightforward tale, with a few too many holes to be called truly "great," but it's still a fun ride.
  50. As for the gameplay, it's essentially the same, but improvements with weapons and plasmids makes it a little deeper. The addition of multiplayer just ices this cake and gives you a little more reason to add Bioshock 2 to your library.
  51. 80
    Sure, the wonder of experiencing Rapture for the first time is gone, and yes, the engine is really starting to show its age, but the most important element -- BioShock 2's narrative -- lives up to its heritage.
  52. But the smart additions on the gameplay side make BioShock 2 rewarding in a different way, while those who want to know more about Andrew Ryan's underwater city will find just enough to make the return trip worthwhile.
  53. 80
    While I did have some problems with the multiplayer lag I would recommend Bioshock 2 to anyone who is a fan of great worlds, amazing atmosphere, cool characters, and fun action without hesitation.
  54. BioShock 2 is an enjoyable experience in its own right regardless of the few niggles which hold it back from being a true masterpiece.
  55. Bioshock 2 is an admirable experience, one that doesn't compare to the narrative of its predecessor, but carries forth the fun gameplay that was originally inspired some two years ago.
  56. The only thing missing from Rapture is the thrill of the new. [Mar 2010, p.104]
  57. Being the sequel to the phenomenal Bioshock this title certainly has a lot to live up to, but Bioshock 2 does manage to deliver an engrossing and entertaining experience. There are virtually no innovation when it comes to the core concept and gameplay though and exploring Rapture often feels like a rehash of the first game. Despite the lack of new ideas the game is still very entertaining and the plot maintains the high standard set by the first game.
  58. If you enjoyed the first game, you will most likely enjoy this game because it's very similar.
  59. The feeling of Rapture being something remarkably unique is gone and the gameplay gets a bit to frantic at times but Bioshock 2 is still a great action game with a fantastic story.
  60. The gaming mechanics and the polish really impress, but the story never reaches as high as the first game. But despite that I'd like to visit Rapture time and time again. More sequels please.
  61. The game didn't do enough in my eyes to improve on what made the first game so great.
  62. The surprises aren't there and neither is the awe one feels the first time they booted-up their copy of BioShock and laid eyes on Rapture.
User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 429 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 59 out of 70
  2. Negative: 4 out of 70
  1. SR
    Feb 20, 2010
    10
    Playing this game actually made me better at BioShock 1. On the Survivor (hardest) difficulty mode in the first game I couldn't make it Playing this game actually made me better at BioShock 1. On the Survivor (hardest) difficulty mode in the first game I couldn't make it past finding the first plasmid (since I would just keep getting outflanked by splicers and shot in the back of the head) but now I am cruising through and I am maxed out on med kits and EVE hypos (I think because Bioshock 2 forced me to prepare more carefully in the scenarios where you have to defend little sisters while they are getting EVE from corpses). I really wish I had a webcam so I could put on Youtube the first time I defended a little sister successfully (in Bioshock 2) because I did it on the hardest dificulty level with only the wrench, rivet gun, electricity plasmid and no med kits (I just kept getting wrench headshots on splicers which I had bottlenecked in a doorway). The next time I successfully defended a little sister on the first attempt just by using the hypnotize (enrage) plasmid on all the splicers and they just all killed each other for me. Something about the gameplay in Bioshock 2 just seems to make more sense to me than it did in the first game, but it's clearly applicable to how you approach the first game. I think the thing is that Bioshock 2 is a little more obvious about how it forces you to visualize how you are going to approach encounters; maybe it just gives more obvious clues than the first game did. Or maybe Bioshock 2 just isn't as good at keeping its secrets as the first game; either way I feel like I understand (and love) both games much more now than I would have expected (and I can't believe I was actually on the fence about buying this game or Dante's Inferno last weekend!). Full Review »
  2. Dec 19, 2012
    6
    Bioshock 2 is clearly a game made to make money. The only significant gameplay change between Bioshock and Bioshock 2 is the new LittleBioshock 2 is clearly a game made to make money. The only significant gameplay change between Bioshock and Bioshock 2 is the new Little Sister mechanic (and the related Big Sister attacks). For those who don't know, this mechanic means that now, whenever you find a Little Sister and kill the Big Daddy, you can take the sister with you to collect Adam from corpses while you get hit by waves of enemies (that smell you collecting Adam?). It's a very frustrating mechanic, and tends to ruin pacing. The rest of the gameplay is copy/paste from the original Bioshock. The story is simultaneously a sequel and a prequel. You are playing in a time after the events of Bioshock, but all the diaries you find are from a time before the events of Bioshock. These diaries feature Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine, and many of the other old characters. The new diaries establish a whole new issue that Ryan was apparently worried about around the time Fontaine was becoming a problem. It seems very much like it was tacked on just to be able to include Ryan in the story. In fact, the whole game just seems like it was tacked on to the old Bioshock to make money. Is it a good game? Well, Bioshock was a great game, and this copies that, so sure. Is it original? No. Is it as great as it was to visit Rapture for the first time? Of course not. But if you're having trouble finding other good games to play, this one won't disappoint you too much. Full Review »
  3. ZypherF.
    Feb 17, 2010
    4
    Bioshock 2 it looked great and interesting but it fell horrifically short in everything I was expecting. The Big Sisters arint that Bioshock 2 it looked great and interesting but it fell horrifically short in everything I was expecting. The Big Sisters arint that threatening or scary the deep sea exploration? No such thing its a linear game 100% of the time. And the graphics are a horrific steaming pile of doodoo and crayon stains horrific infact I dont believe I see a difference between Bioshock 1 and 2. Shooting is much harder because humanoids have a hitbox to the head the size of a pin needle however once you reach end game getting headshot on the 'harder' enemies is nearly impossible not to do since they have massive big daddy heads and die in one shot. The storyline doesnt add up by the slightest it keeps saying that the events in rapture where happening all the time during Atlas's rebellion yet in Bioshock 1 there was no such thing so how does Andrew Ryan fit into any of it and how does the now have anything to do with the before. The game despite being a SEQUEL comes off as a prequel with nothing really clicking to each other to make sense. As for the multi player cool fun interesting untill it dies out because it suffers all the problems of the single player fps poor hitboxes god awful graphics and no real way to aim accurately not to mention how many people already cheated the system after the first day it came out. Full Review »