I never understood why Bioshock was so highly regarded. Sure it had a unique setting and gorgeous graphics, but when you got down to it, it was no more than a common fight-your-way-to-the-end-of-the-level shooter. That's all it was.
Bioshock 2 is exactly the same. Exactly. Fight your way to the end of each level. You are given goals to accomplish, but all they usually require you to do is open the way to the next level. You encounter the same enemies over and over, thuggish splicer or leadhead splicer, a couple of Big Daddies per level and occasionally a Big Sister, and it's just on and on like that. Collecting money and items to help you survive is still a vital part of the game, and probably my favourite aspect of it.
You may have read that this game takes place before the fall of Rapture, and so (like I did) hoped that it would be a little more interesting this time, people to talk to and so on. But if you read the website carefully you'll see that it's only the multiplayer game that takes place before the fall. The single player campaign takes place after the events of the first game. Andrew Ryan is dead (killed by the player) and a new tyrant has taken over the city. You battle your way through the ruins of the city, and the only people you encounter (99% of the time) are splicers. Same o' same o'.
This time around you play as a Bid Daddy (which I personally didn't like) who was killed defending his Little Sister. He lay there in a puddle for ten years (yes, ten years) and then suddenly, somehow, and for some reason, he wakes up again, and sets off to find his Little Sister.
What I did like about this game are the graphics. They're gorgeous. And it runs so smoothly on the 360. It is just a really nice game to play. The setting of Rapture (with its wonderfully deranged denizens) helps make the game a unique experience. I also really liked the large, interesting and non-linear levels. With most games these days the levels seem to be getting smaller, more restrictive and ever more linear, so it was really nice to play in an environment where I had to keep checking my map to find my way.
I was pleased to discover that you can turn off the Vita Chambers (in the Options) so when you die you don't respawn, you reload a save game. Just a personal preference and I'm much obliged to the designers for realising that all gamers are different, so giving us options is a good thing. But enemies still respawn in areas you've already cleared out.
And no checkpoints! For once, a console shooter that actually lets you save your game where you want! You don't have to keep replaying the same bit over and over when you die. What a novel idea!
A good game if you just want more of the same that Bioshock provided, but I got bored after a while when the novelty wore off.
Tip: To disable the annoying pop up hints and prompts turn off Adaptive Training in the Options.