Heading back to Rapture was all I had hoped for in a vacation

User Rating: 8.5 | BioShock 2 X360
Just finished my first run through the solo campaign, with a little multiplayer tossed in for good measure. Overall, the game played out pretty much like I expected, given the first game and the reviews I had read prior to picking it up.

Gameplay itself seems pretty much the same. Not having to switch back and forth from weapons to plasmids is a big improvement and really cranked up the fighting and made everything much more fluid. The maps had the same feel, though with the "goal" arrow available, I had an easier time exploring without accidentally triggering an event. I also found the interaction with the little sisters to be much more enjoyable this time around, and that piece really drove me along as well as the story.

Not sure what to attribute it to, but I found the big daddy fights to be much more realistically possible this time around compared to last time. Some might say they were too easy comparitively, but I found that the fights were much more enjoyable, though, as I said I'm not sure if that's due to knowing what to expect from the last game, or if the game was changed to allow for more balanced fights. Still, the big daddies and sisters are no push overs, and the use of environment can significantly impact the conforntations.

I did find that perhaps there was a bit too much inventory around to assist. I spent a significant portion of the game with an almost full wallet, full first aid/eve, and nearly full ammo. On the one hand it was nice to never have to worry about being stuck on one gun, but for large portions of the game I never felt like I was in any danger either.

Sound and graphics were just as good as the first. I really liked how the sound cut out during diary recordings. I can't remember if that was in the first game, but it helped me hear the story snippets much better.

Finally, story was pretty solid. It's definately hard to top the first game's, but this was pretty on par with that. I attribute any shortfall, in retrospect, to expectations I had from the first, and my desire to see them top themselves here.

My foray into multiplayer has been nice too. I have mixed feelings about formats that level you up and unlock weapons and such as you go. Mostly because you find yourself grossly overpowered by others early on. It hasn't been too much of a problem so far, and I've made my way to lvl 5 thusfar. The formats are pretty commonplace, but adding that Rapture layer over the top makes it more enjoyable than other multiplayer shooters I've taken part in. Plus having a set character (you can switch, but it's not just random clothing like most) with a bit of storyline themselves makes it even more immersive.

Overall, I'm very pleased I decided to pick up the game. I'm looking forward to seeing how I can change the ending, as well as making it to the "silver club" in multiplayer.