Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 93 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 93
  2. Negative: 0 out of 93
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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]
  6. 80
    While BioShock 2 largely addresses the shortcomings of its predecessor, it also bears the curse of familiarity. Traipsing around Rapture is certainly still enjoyable, but it's kind of like a magic trick you've already seen -- not quite as impressive as it was the first time around.
  7. A less openly provocative game than its predecessor, and one that will capture less attention, but while it may be damned for subtlety it is every bit as deceptive, and perhaps that's the greater of the series' illusions regardless of what else a BioShock sequel might have become.
  8. 100
    Still, BioShock 2 not only re-captures the dystopian aesthetic, gripping narrative, and deep gameplay of Irrational's original, but it actually greatly improves on the BioShock experience as a whole, fine-tuning what made Jack's voyage to Rapture such a memorable experience two years ago.
  9. Taken as a stand-alone game, BioShock 2 is a wonderful experience and one hell of a ride. As a sequel, though, it hews a bit too close to the source material — almost as if the developers were afraid to branch out and try something new. That doesn't mean it's any less fun; just don't expect an evolution in gameplay. It's more like a minor update to an incredibly successful formula.
  10. 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.
  11. Rich, philosophical story...that's not as clever as the original story.
  12. 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.
  13. BioShock 2 is the general improvement of the first title. Everything about the gameplay is better, from the action to the level design. The plot is involving and the player has a continuous sense of progression with new weapons, monsters or plasmids. But there are several problems from the technical aspects to the aquatic sections of the game and above all BioShock 2 is a constant deja-vu. It is wonderful, very wonderful but not wonderful as the first game.
  14. This won't ruin your BioShock memories. A worthy sequel, albeit lacking ambition. [Mar 2010, p.70]
  15. In a world where sequels almost never do better than their originals, BioShock 2 does an impressive job of holding its own.
  16. 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.
  17. A conservative return to Rapture, but full of quality.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Most of all, BioShock 2 has one quality that makes us much more hopeful for the future of the series and its inevitable onward growth as one of gaming’s big franchises: it shows the capacity of Rapture to utterly change itself for the telling of a new tale, while somehow remaining the same.
  22. Executed with the utmost intelligence. [Issue#93, p.114]
  23. Bioshock 2 is another epic piece of story-telling laid over a set of core mechanics that, for now, still feels fresh and ahead of the curve.
  24. BioShock 2 isn't a groundbreaking follow-up that rewrites all the rules laid down by its predecessor. No, think of it as a sequel that fills in the gaps, adding exciting new dimensions to what's come before... You will be utterly absorbed. [Mar 2010, p.68]
  25. 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.
  26. In many ways BioShock 2 is a game about refinements, rather than wholesale changes.
  27. 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.
  28. A sequel that surpasses the original. The folks at 2K have delivered a game with more emotional and intellectual punch than the original game although you might feel a bit dirty for enjoying the game so much.
  29. If you're playing BioShock 2 for its multiplayer and not its narrative, then you're doing it wrong. Think of it as nice-to-have bonus materials in the pocket of a DVD you've been waiting for. You will enjoy it and it does add some value, but I doubt you'll often come back to it.
  30. BioShock 2 is a stellar first-person shooter adventure with plenty of boogey men scares and thrills around every black corner.
  31. The second trip in the sick architectures of Rapture is still highly enjoyable, but this time you'll miss the fascination of discovery.
  32. BioShock 2 had some big shoes to fill, and while it doesn't quite fill those shoes it still manages to get around in them without falling all over the place. BioShock 2 is still an enjoyable game in its own right, though, and it is certainly recommended to anyone who enjoyed BioShock.
  33. Bioshock 2 is basically the same game as Bioshock. Luckily the original was great and the sequel is just as much fun. Rapture is still one of the most amazing places to get lost into. [Feb 2010]
  34. The story feels disconnected and isn’t as strong as its predecessor but the gameplay has been improved upon for a much more enjoyable and fluid combat system.
  35. Bioshock 2 is a very good game. The journey back to Rapture is a success due to the new gameplay balancing: the combination between new powers, new weapons and new tonics is perfect to give the player the chance to specialise himself. We expected a little bit more from the multiplayer, well done but without anything special that makes it emerge among the other titles. Most of all, anyway, Rapture is non so fresh anymore, and the deja-vu sense is too strong.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. It's a better shooter, but the overfamiliar plot and setting makes for a less interesting game overall.
  39. There's a certain straight-to-DVD feel with this sequel, which constantly evokes the original without ever eclipsing it. But perhaps it's callous to stack it up too harshly against its brilliant predecessor. BioShock 2 houses great combat, an entertaining multiplayer game, some truly standout set pieces, and a story you'll want to see through to the end.
  40. BioShock 2 is a great game, despite being unable to surpass the original in any aspect. A good second visit to Rapture, that will delight fans of the first one. An engaging story, great visuals and a good gameplay, both on single player and multiplayer.
  41. In the culmination of this story BioShock 2 outdoes the original and establishes its own worth, with a closing sequence that hits every note perfectly.
  42. It's indisputably an excellent shooter: intelligent, satisfying, and a tiny bit thought-provoking, with big ideas and big fights that are never as clunky, irritating or unfair as BioShock. You should play it. But you should also know that - and here we'll borrow the game's own central theme of parenthood - it's a prodigy that never quite leaves the shadow of its father.
  43. The story is fantastic, the gameplay is spot on, visuals and sound are perfect, multiplayer is fine. It is however a lot more of the same, it doesn't really improve overall on the original.
  44. The original BioShock is a hard game to top, and BioShock 2 doesn’t quite do it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best games of this still early year, or that it won’t still be considered to be one of the best come year’s end.
  45. Rarely less than magnificent. [Issue#56, p.80]
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. Simply put, no game creates a better sense of atmosphere than Bioshock 2 with a really top notch story and some great visuals and sound too.
  54. It can't top the original, but BioShock 2 stands on its own as a great installment to a hopefully continuing series.
  55. 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.
  56. The game is a safe pickup for FPS fans, and something worth looking at for anybody wanting a unique adventure…assuming you played the original.
  57. The decaying splendour of Rapture loses some of its impact due it being your second visit there, but the gameplay is still rock solid. If you enjoyed the first game or like your first-person shooters to have a strong single player campaign then you can’t go wrong with BioShock 2.
  58. 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.
  59. For all that's been added, it was never going to recreate the dumbfounding awe of Rapture when experienced for the first time, which, unfortunately, played a pivotal role in the first game's appeal, and something required to allow the sequel's combat to flourish.
  60. On its own, then, BioShock 2 is a brilliant, if not-particularly-brave shooter story. But as a complement to the exciting and iconic original, it's a predictable but technically excellent second chapter to an unmissable FPS pairing.
  61. Although BioShock 2 isn't as much of an eye-opener for die-hard fans, there are still some well-implemented surprises throughout the single-player campaign.
  62. 2K have one again proved that Rapture, through all it's wild, twisted and crazy moments, is an unforgettable place to be. You may think you've seen it all before, but that's no reason to deprive yourself of what is most certainly one of the best titles of the year.
  63. 95
    The combat is more intuitive, the narrative exceeds almost all in its genre, the plasmid and gun customizations are richer, the multiplayer certainly stands on its own, and the nods to the first game is undoubtedly valued.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. Returning to Rapture--even a different part of the city--is naturally going to be less impressive. 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.
  68. By striving to be nothing more than its predecessor, BioShock 2 achieves something less.
  69. It's well over two year's since we first had the privilege to be submerged into the world of Rapture for the very first time. In contrast to the first outing, the sequel certainly delivers that same and unique feel with the combination of well thought out design and audio. It's not so much 'better' than the original, but provides enough twists and turns to keep us unadulterately submerged in this mesmerizing underwater (and demented) utopia.
  70. A thrilling story, inspired new characters and environments, refined gameplay and yes, even the multi-player, make diving back into the Atlantic an easy decision.
  71. It's more of the same, yes... but that's exactly what everyone who wanted to return to Rapture desired from the sequel.
  72. BioShock 2 is most enjoyable when it doesn't get clouded with a need to prove it can stand against literature or film; video games already trump these. As it stands, BioShock 2 is like its Little Sister, an ugly little thing that, if you stick with it, is rewarding.
  73. BioShock 2 may not be BioShock, but it doesn’t have to be. The world of Rapture is one I could revisit again and again, as long as there is some new wrinkle to the story to uncover.
  74. In the end, BioShock 2 is a product more corporate than passionate.
  75. It’s hard to fault the game for doing what worked the first time but I definitely didn’t feel the same sense of awe and wonder while slowly stumbling through Rapture this time in my encumbering suit.
  76. Deeper gameplay mechanics with an added layer of tactics, a great story and a very original multiplayer experience make BioShock 2 worthy of the first game, and a must buy for every gamer.
  77. Who’s the Daddy? You are - if you choose to play this brilliant action game.
  78. While this game may not be as strong as the original in terms of suspense or plot, it does make up for it with some neat innovations and a multiplayer mode that can be a lot of fun. For anyone in the mood for a good slice of storytelling then this is the game for them... and for those of you yearning for a return to Rapture, then this will be the perfect tonic.
  79. And with story aside, BioShock 2 improves on the original in every way. It's a far more solid experience that is a blast to play from start to thrilling conclusion.
  80. Perhaps the main obstacle facing BioShock 2 is that it lacks one of its predecessor's biggest trump cards: the shock of the new.
  81. BioShock 2 is a great game, but feels more like BioShock 1.5 than a full sequel.
  82. 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.
  83. 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.
  84. Sure, the philosophy is more obvious this time and there'll never be a real equivalent to Sander 'effing' Cohen but BioShock 2 still manages to live up to the high standard set by the first game - even if it doesn't exceed it.
  85. The star of the game though is undoubtedly the setting, and though I’ve enjoyed Bioshock 2 a lot less than the first game I am pretty sure that if 2K have got a third game in mind, I’ll be unable to resist the temptation to go back to Rapture once more.
  86. While some may say developer 2K Marin has let Bioshock 2 fall into the dreaded sophomore slump, I don’t necessarily think that’s true. It had to be unnerving to try to top such a runaway bestseller of a new property.
  87. 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.
  88. 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.
  89. 90
    BioShock 2 may be a clever spin on the are-you-good-or-evil convention, but it falls short of its predecessor by not breaking free of it.
  90. 90
    Bioshock 2 lives up to the high expectations and manages to surpass them. The small improvements in gameplay give you a smoother ride. The audiovisual style brings you an interesting setting; moral choices have an impact on the storyline and the addition of multiplayer options create a higher replayability. Fans of the first game will be enticed for hours, and newcomers looking for a new shooter won’t be disappointed by Bioshock 2. Highly recommended.
  91. If ever there were a sequel for a sequel’s sake, this is it, a stable, hectic shooter that has developed through a variety of tweaks, but never scales the heights of our first trip to Rapture.
  92. 90
    It’s unlikely the idea could survive another sequel without stretching the universe too far, but for now BioShock 2 is an unmissable journey back into a suffocating, intoxicating world.
  93. More than a new chapter, Bioshock 2 appears rather like an expansion to the first iteration. In spite of its vibrant settings and an impeccable control system, you get the feeling of déjà-vu from the first minute you are back in Rapture. So why did we give it a high score? Well, we still love Rapture after all!
User Score
8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 513 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 91
  2. Negative: 1 out of 91
  1. GarrettC.
    Feb 28, 2010
    10
    The story might not have as many twists and turns and the characters might not be as memorable BUT Bioshock 2 beats out the original in game The story might not have as many twists and turns and the characters might not be as memorable BUT Bioshock 2 beats out the original in game play in every way. Hacking is improved, duel wield weapons and plasmids, upgrades are more noticeable in plasmids and weapons and controls a lot smother. Sill has the creepy feel with new foes and a lot of decayed environments. Rapture is still awesome and the story of Bioshock 2 is the best you will find, well besides the original. Full Review »
  2. SiR
    Feb 21, 2010
    7
    Bioshock 1 is in my top three games of all time. Bioshock 2 most definitely isn't. Ultimately this is a good game but very Bioshock 1 is in my top three games of all time. Bioshock 2 most definitely isn't. Ultimately this is a good game but very disappointing. I wasn't compelled to immediately play through this a second and then a third time through like I did for the first Bioshock. The combat plasmids are all the same as the first Bioshock (come on 2K - a little bit of imagination here). It's short.The end is just stupid (just shoot two pipes then thats it??WTF??!!). Also the new multiplayer def aint no Modern Warfare. I love Rapture and I love Bioshock 1- but this sequel left me cold. Full Review »
  3. Aug 21, 2010
    9
    The 2 things wrong with this game is it's repetition and its re-playability. It was fun to shoot a splicer the first time but that seems to beThe 2 things wrong with this game is it's repetition and its re-playability. It was fun to shoot a splicer the first time but that seems to be all you do the entire story. The story is way to forward with one easily predictable twist,but i really don't care too much about the story. I might have a slightly biased review for this game since I'm good at the multi player but it does a good job of killing the camping element that dominates call of duty. the combination of plasmids and guns orchestrate a beautiful amount of variety while playing. Even the best of campers can't kill you more than once since they need a constant supply of eve.In short its story is a flunk and its multilayer did well. Full Review »