Refined gameplay, the plot's twists and turns, and moral choices make this sequel worth your time and will grow on you.
Rapture is an underwater city built by Andrew Ryan, an industrialist who believed that people had no limits in what they could accomplish in such a city. However, the city deteriorated as genetic modifications were being used and people turned to splicers. Splicers are the most common enemy in Bioshock 2. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you as entertained as Bioshock's plot.
The game offers the same plasmids and gene tonics as before, but there are new plasmids and tonics to play with for defense and for attacking enemies. This time you play as Big Daddy, the big tough guy Bioshock players were battling to either rescue or harvest the Little Sisters. Big Daddy now has to battle other Big Daddies to either rescue or harvest the Little Sisters. From the beginning Big Daddy is quite weak but you can build him up gradually with plasmids and tonics to make him tougher against enemies that will become tougher as the game progresses.
An important addition to the game is the Big Sisters. They seem to be the female version of the Big Daddy, but are tougher and more athletic. They don't take kindly to your handling of the Little Sisters. After a few Little Sisters are rescued or harvested, a Big Sister will arrive and try to tear your apart. You will have to be well equipped to defeat these Big Sisters. There is also the Alpha Series, which look like Big Daddies but are failed Big Daddies from experiments. The gameplay appears to have been refined for Big Daddy resulting in more fun gameplay. It can get chaotic many times when you have to decide what weapons to use against which enemies and what plasmids to use against which enemies. This can happen especially when protecting Little Sisters from splicers who are desperate for the Adam she is extracting from corpses.
The hacking has been modified for the better. You can now use darts to either auto hack or hack them remotely from a distance. A failed hack can either lead to a loss of health from shock or can alarm robots to fire at you. You can improve hacking by purchasing the appropriate tonics with the Adam.
One of the best plot twists occurs when Big Daddy become a Little Sister for a short time in order to acquire the Little Sister equipment for Eleanor, a character trying to help you throughout the game. There is no combat involved but it provides a different perspective of the plot and a break from being a Big Daddy.
Whether you choose to rescue or harvest the Little Sisters affects the ending of the game. Decisions you make regarding the lives of other characters will determine what resources you will receive for combat. Therefore, the game gives you moral choices that enhance replay value. The plot gets better as you advance through the game.
The visuals are very similar to the first and are not a great improvement over Bioshock as it doesn't look like anything fresh. However, the graphics are still very pleasant to look at. Any criticism of the game's graphics is really nothing more than nit-picking.
Bioshock 2 is a great game with gameplay that is better than its predecessor, as the gameplay is refined. The plot becomes more interesting as you progress and the game allows you to make moral choices, so it is not totally linear. Bioshock fans will definitely love it. Those who didn't play Bioshock can still find Bioshock 2 entertaining.