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. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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]
  24. Executed with the utmost intelligence. [Issue#93, p.114]
  25. In many ways BioShock 2 is a game about refinements, rather than wholesale changes.
  26. 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.
  27. BioShock 2 is a stellar first-person shooter adventure with plenty of boogey men scares and thrills around every black corner.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 499 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 78 out of 89
  2. Negative: 1 out of 89
  1. GarrettC.
    Feb 28, 2010
    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
    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
    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 »