Review: Bioshock 2: Remastered

About this Game

Bioshock 2: Remastered

Publisher

2K Games

Developer

2K Marin

Release Date

February 9, 2010

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

21-35h

Platinum Difficulty

Easy

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

Yes

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Unzip Him, Daddy, Unzip Him!

After playing Bioshock for the first time and getting that platinum I felt more than ready to plat the sequel. But without a difficulty glitch and with tougher enemies, how did I fare? 

Bioshock 2 Review

I feel like when I was hearing about Bioshock all those years ago in school, the big one people were talking about was Bioshock 2. They liked Bioshock 1 and all but they loved Bioshock 2. And it seemed as though the only reason people liked it so much was because you “played as a Big Daddy”, which meant nothing to me. However, not knowing what a Big Daddy was, I was certain they had to be some incredible, powerful enemy. 

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Researching a Big Daddy

In honesty, they’re not really. They’re not that strong, even on Hard Mode, they don’t attack you on sight so there’s no reason to fear them. I gotta admit, though, they’re just about the coolest thing about Bioshock.

Tales of Rapture

So, yes. You play as a Big Daddy. You’ve got this whole backstory about how you used to be the Big Daddy to one specific Little Sister (even though Little Sisters seem pretty communal in the world of Bioshock – as wrong as that might sound) called Eleanor. 

That’s pretty much all we know going into the game. You’re a Big Daddy, you’ve been sort of dead for a while, you’re looking for your favourite Little Sister in all of Rapture, and there’s a bit of a bitch in control of Rapture now that the bellend from the first game is gone. 

Your connection to Eleanor ties you to the story of the main protagonist, the aforementioned bitch, “Lamb”.

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Apparently, Lamb is always watching.

Thus, we have a goal. Find out what Lamb is doing with our Little Sister, find our Little Sister… Profit?

The story pans out in a pretty similar way to the first one, just with less twists. Like, practically no twists. I’m thinking back to the story now and I’m thinking there might have been no twists. 

Essentially, we have an end goal which is in a certain, distant part of Rapture. To reach it we have to make our way through several other parts of Rapture, with each visit to the next area we need to complete some task involving another side-character or new Plasmid ability in order progress to the next area. 

It’s honestly pretty uninteresting. Once again, the game fails to get me invested in any of the characters, they just assume that by saying “Your character cares about this character” I’m suddenly going to care about them too. Maybe it’s just me, but I just didn’t care about any of them.

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Tenenbaum makes a return in her role from the first game as carer for the Little Sisters

Half of them you don’t get to know properly in the length of time that you see them, and the rest have zero character development or complex backstory. I have a really difficult time empathising or relating with any of them enough to care about what’s happening with them.

In that sense, I think Bioshock 2’s story is much weaker than the original Bioshock’s story, which is unfortunate because this sequel certainly looks much better…

A visual upgrade

Usually, when developers make a sequel to a game, they’ll upgrade a few textures here and there, maybe add some new enemy types, but the look of the game will be pretty similar. Especially back in the PS3 generation. 

However, 2K kind of surprised me here by remaking the models of every enemy. They may have also improved the textures a lot, but as I’m playing on PS4, all of the textures look great regardless.

The character model overhauls are fantastic, Little Sisters look more human and less like bug-eyed freaks, Big Daddies look more threatening, even Splicers look much cooler. The best overhaul in my eyes is the Spider Splicers.

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Look how creepy this dude is! They’re so cool.

In the first game, they were just goofy-looking and not all that threatening but in Bioshock 2 the Spider Splicers are genuinely terrifying. Their movements are more unsettling and creepy and their faces and proportions are super uncanny, leaving a feeling of definite discomfort in the base of your stomach when you first see them.

Even the environments feel more lively, there’s real diversity in what you’re seeing, not just the ability to take short walks outside of Rapture on the seabed (as I mentioned in my Bioshock review) but also the interiors are a lot more diverse, changing more drastically with each new area of Rapture you explore, albeit, still not all that much.

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A trip to the theatre with my Little Sister.

I will say that not everything is so dark in the environments now, though. There seems to be a lot more lighting, breaking up the visuals much better and helping to make the areas easier to differentiate.

Big Daddy’s Big Arsenal

Combat comes in a nicer package too, being that you’re now a Big Daddy, normal-sized weapons would be too small for your big hands. Now, we’re equipped with the big boy guns, a Rivet Gun, a Spear-gun, a Gatling gun and more. Including the iconic Drill melee weapon which Big Daddies tend to carry around with them.

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“Daddy drills Big Sister” is a surprisingly popular search online these days.

Even though these guns pack more punch and feel more satisfying to use, the developers upped the difficulty in the game a little so the enemies take longer to take down even with the difficulty on easy and, in that sense, you somehow feel weaker as a Big Daddy than you did as a human in the first game.

Of course, you also have plasmids. Most of which haven’t changed for the sequel except maybe a few additional mechanics and effects being tied to them. I feel like I used them a lot more this time around as the developers seem to have made them more useful, or maybe the boosted difficulty just made them more necessary.

Tonics also make a comeback. Much of them are the same as in the first game, but there are a healthy number of new additions to help diversify your gameplay. 

There is a lot of fun to be had in setting up your Plasmids and Tonics, certain combinations can make your playthrough more comfortable and make you feel a lot more powerful depending on how your setup aligns with your unique play style.

Mechanical Parts

Further changes can be found in the game’s hacking mechanic. Instead of a long, drawn-out and often unfair hacking minigame, you’ve got a much smaller timing-based puzzle in which you just need to press blank when a needle enters the safe areas on an on-screen gauge. 

The best thing about hacking in Bioshock 2, however, is the fact you can do it remotely using Remote hacking darts. Just fire one at a security camera or turret across the room and duck around a corner to complete the hack without being noticed.

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Hacking is quicker, and easier.

The biggest issue with this, however, is that it doesn’t pause the game as it did in Bioshock. Instead, if you want to hack something in the middle of a dire combat situation, you’re going to have to be able to take a few hits and do your best to still complete the puzzle.

While I did enjoy the fluid-and-pipe puzzles in the last game, they did take too long and were much too repetitive to be so long.

Overall the sequel is a big improvement on the first game but I felt like the story wasn’t anywhere near as good or impactful, despite both being disappointing in their own way.

My Bioshock 2 Platinum Trophy Experience

The biggest difference between my Bioshock platinum journey and my Bioshock 2 platinum journey is that I needed to complete the game on hard mode. The first game had a trophy for that too, but there was a very simple glitch which made it so you could just complete the game on easy and switch to “Survivor” difficulty right at the end.

No such glitch here, though. There is an invincibility glitch which I used for a very short stint early in my playthrough, but due to unreliability, I decided to play it legit. You can read about this glitch in the tips section below.

I decided the best approach would be to complete the game on easy to get all of the collection, research and misc trophies with relative ease and then I could do a separate hard mode run for that last hard mode trophy.

Of course, for my easy mode run, I had to turn Vita Chambers off in the settings to ensure I got the trophy for not using them, because doing Hard Mode without Vita Chambers would have been ridiculous.

Daddy’s collection

Collectable trophies are easier now given that you don’t have to find every Audio Diary.

You only need 100 of 129 Audio Diaries and given how these are often hidden in plain sight, being able to miss up to 29 of them is awesome and freed me up so much more to enjoy the game rather than constantly stressing about scouring every location.

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You can view your Audio Diaries to help with tracking them if you choose to keep a list.

Or it would have, except the game is not free to roam like it’s predecessor and doesn’t let you revisit levels once you have left them. This is a huge problem if you find yourself in the last area without enough Audio Diaries. So I, once again, put all my effort into making sure that not a single stone went on unturned.

Due to my efforts, I had the trophy somewhere around the second-to-last stage and didn’t need to track my progress at all.

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Plink. Gotteem.

Getting all 11 plasmids was easy because they were either given to me as part of the story or I needed to buy them from the Gatherer’s Garden. I simply had to ensure that at least some of my adam from each Little Sister went into getting a new Plasmid if any were available.

Ensuring I had all of the weapon upgrades was a more difficult task. Often the game would just have them right in plain sight as I was going through the story, but there were a few times where they were hidden away quite well and I had to have faith in myself that I’d be able to find them all in every stage. I went through with the assumption that there would be about one per level, and I wouldn’t leave a stage until I had one or was comfortable that there were no more to be found.

Alongside all this, I had to ensure I was spending as much money as I could, killing as many splicers as possible with traps and hacked security and getting every little sister in every stage and “dealing with” them (easily trackable in the pause menu again).

Oh and one last thing… That damned Research Camera made a comeback…

Biómon Snap 2!

The research camera is a bit simpler this time around. With the camera equipped, you just point it at an enemy and press blank to start filming. The game will then conveniently equip the last weapon you had equipped for you so you can begin attacking the enemies on film.

With each recording of the same enemy, you would want to use different plasmids and weapons to defeat them in order to get more research points. Repeatedly killing the same enemy type using the same plasmid or weapon would result in less and less score. So for the rarer enemies you would want to use as many different weapons and plasmids on them as possible to ensure you have enough score.

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You can track research, and the bonuses they give you, in the touch-pad menu.

Once again we need full research on every enemy type. This time, however, the different Big Daddies, such as Rosies and Rattlers, all count towards one “Big Daddy” research value. But probably because there are now some new enemy types to research:

  • Brute Splicers
  • Big Sisters
  • Alpha Series Big Daddies

Brute Splicers are big gorilla-like splicers who pack a punch and jump around with surprising speed. You’ll first encounter them quite early in the game and then never see them again, which made me start to panic as I hadn’t completed my research. Luckily there are a lot of them in the last level and I was able to get the last 1 and a half research level I needed.

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This Brute Splicer is just trying to show off, I think.

Big Sisters are the toughest enemies in the games and take some real effort to beat. One will appear every time you clear all of the Little Sisters in the level, so you want to get as much research done as you can during those battles. But there are also quite a few in the last level you can use to finish off your research.

Alpha Series Big Daddies are easy to beat, they’re the weakest of all Big Daddies and don’t take much to take down. They’re also more than common enough for you to complete your research with ease.

Come on, Mr. B, time to find some angels.

Collecting the little sisters is much different this time around. Once again, we do want to “Rescue” them all in our first run at least, as well as not killing any important NPC characters in order to secure the “Savior” trophy. 

The first irritation here is that for some reason they swapped around the Rescue and Harvest buttons. In Bioshock, Rescue is blank and Harvest is blank. In Bioshock 2, Rescue/Adopt is blank and Harvest is blank. So obviously there were a few times where I very nearly harvested a Little Sister by accident.

In Bioshock 2, when you kill a Big Daddy, leaving his Little Sister alone, your options are to “Adopt” her or “Harvest” her. You can no longer Rescue a Little Sister on the spot, you need to adopt her and take her to a Gatherer’s Vent in order to rescue her. You can, however, Harvest her on the spot, stealing her ADAM.

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Harvesting Little Sisters is pretty hard to watch. Luckily, the game absolutely batters the screen with motion blur so you don’t have to watch.

Once again, you get more ADAM (essentially EXP for purchasing upgrades, plasmids and tonics) by harvesting a Little Sister, but this is evil and will give you the bad ending. You will eventually get more net ADAM by rescuing the Little Sisters because they will bring you a reward for saving them. They will leave small teddy bears near Gatherer’s Gardens which will contain a hefty amount of ADAM, a tonic, and some ammo.

You can also increase ADAM gains by taking an adopted Little Sister to go gathering. You can do this up to two times before being forced to make a decision about rescuing/harvesting the Little Sister.

By holding blank the adopted Little Sister will shoot out an ethereal jizz stream which will guide you to one of a few ADAM-filled corpses dotted around the map. At these corpses, you can then trigger a mini-game which is actually one of my favourite parts of the game, which may or may not be an unpopular opinion. I just enjoy the strategy of setting up for a gather.

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Doing enough gathers will net you a sweet trophy.

Once you tell the Little Sister to begin gathering ADAM from the corpse, a lot of Splicers and other enemies will be drawn to the event and will try and attack the Little Sister. So you need to defend her until she is done to be rewarded with more extra ADAM.

Now, because a few of the weapons have trap ammo you have the ability to really create a defensive perimeter around the corpse before you start gathering. There are 4 types of traps you can set up:

  • Trap Rivet: Small laser-activated rivet which will hit enemies who walk through the laser.
  • Trap Spear: You don’t get these until later in the game, but they allow you to set up electrified tripwires. I found them very difficult to set up, and they can be triggered by yourself and even your adopted Little Sister.
  • Proximity Mine: Once again, you’ll get a grenade launcher in the game and one of it’s ammo types are proximity mines which you can set up around the area. Be careful though as these will set each other off if they’re too close.
  • Mini-Turret: Small handheld turrets which you can throw on the ground and they will continuously shoot at the approaching enemies until they’re destroyed.

Gathering gets a lot harder later on, which makes one particular trophy for doing a gather without getting hit once very difficult. Luckily I managed to get that trophy quite early, outside the Fishbowl Diner in Pauper’s Drop.

Hard Mode 

Speaking of things getting more difficult… My Hard Mode run was pretty darn tricky.

I might as well have been made of paper. I could take a few punches before needing to heal, but if any enemies had ranged weaponry I had to be really careful not to get spotted or shot at.

Health Kits were extremely important to have on me at all times but I went through at least two of them with every encounter.

Eventually, with enough practice, a few deaths, and having got used to the best methods for dispatching most enemies, I was able to make it through the game. The last level was absolutely brutal and I died far too many times but luckily I had Vita Chambers switched on and they’re surprisingly useful.

They’re not just checkpoints, they actually remember which enemies you killed in most cases before dying and so they stay dead which makes things a whole lot easier.

I have some tips below which might help you with your own hard mode run, should you choose to take it on.

During this run I got the bad ending, because I had been harvesting Little Sisters. Having experienced them both, I can safely say that they barely differ at all except the extremely obvious.

Bioshock Platinum Trophy Tips

Hard Mode advice

There are a few things I recommend doing during this run to have an easier time. 

Firstly, choose your favourite weapons to use based on your experience from the Easy Mode run and only upgrade those. For me, I found that the rivet gun and then much later on the speargun, were the best weapons for quick headshot kills, making fights easier. So I focused my upgrades on these and the drill which often came in handy. 

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You’ll want to keep your eye out for upgrade stations, even on your hard mode run.

With certain tonics equipped, the drill would do more damage making it a good weapon for getting out of a sticky situation. 

There are also tonics which make you do more damage when you’re undetected by an enemy. Again, great for the drill, but this also means that a stealthy rivet to the face can take out a lot of Splicers quickly and efficiently. Equipping a tonic for headshot damage with this also makes everything so much easier.

You also want tonics which cause you to burst elemental damage when hit. Fully researching Alpha Big Daddies will give you a tonic which makes you send out a shockwave of one of all 3 elements at random whenever you are hit which is of great help for getting rid of enemies if they get too close.

It’s important to note also that hitting an enemy who is being electrocuted, is on fire, or has been frozen, will deal critical damage. For that reason, I ran around with the electro-bolt plasmid (which is the only one I fully upgraded towards the end) and the rivet gun equipped and used a shock-headshot-shock-headshot pattern of attacks until each enemy died. 

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Fully upgraded, Electro-bolt will hit multiple enemies at once.

For most Splicers, this will actually be a one-shock-and-one-shot kill, especially if you have upgraded the damage on your rivet gun. Upgrading the rivet gun for the heat upgrade is extremely useful too, as it can set enemies on fire which sometimes does just enough DoT damage to finish them off after a single headshot.

Electrocuting puddles which have enemies stood in them is also a one-hit kill on most Splicers, so look out for opportunities like this, and make sure you’re not stood in the water with them or you risk hurting yourself.

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This Plasmid was truly the best weapon in my arsenal.

Whenever you get a Little Sister, gather for a bit if you think you can handle it on Hard, and then harvest them. You get less ADAM in the long run, but you will get more ADAM sooner, meaning you can really start to power yourself up earlier in the game and make things much easier.

Health kits are very important, so whenever you see a healing machine on a wall, be sure to hack it. 

If you hit the blue region of the gauge during the hacking minigame, you will get a free health kit which drops out of the machine. It also has a couple more added benefits in that you can now heal for 9 dollars, and any enemies who run to a healing station during a fight will instead be electrocuted – and most likely killed – by the machine. 

Speaking of hacking, hack every security camera, security bot and turret you come across and use them to your advantage. These things can take out enemies pretty quickly, often quicker than you can in some of the trickier situations so it really helps to use them as much as possible.

Lastly, ensure you hack vending machines and buy as many health kits and as much ammo as you can whenever you have money.

Nobody hurts my Daddy! – Invincibility Glitch

It is actually possible to cheat during any of your runs to make yourself invincible. The glitch can be tricky to pull off and a few factors determine whether you become vincible again or not.

You won’t be able to do this trick until you reach Siren Alley, the stage after Pauper’s Drop so you will need to reach that far into the game legitimately. Once at Siren’s Alley if you visit a Gatherer’s Garden you’ll see a Plasmid for sale called “Scout”.

With Scout purchased and equipped, you can now become invincible using the following steps; 

  • Go to a Gene bank and stand right in front of it with Scout set as your active Plasmid.
  • Press blank to trigger the Scout plasmid and press blank at the same time, just a tiny nanosecond later. If you see the character’s hand in a horizontal fist (as though he’s going for a fist bump) just as the Gene Bank opens, you’ve probably been successful, but the timing can be difficult.
  • When the Gene Bank opens, select your scout plasmid and replace it with something else. Now when you close the Gene Bank with blank you should be translucent but holding the newly equipped plasmid. If you are not translucent, and the newly equipped plasmid activates instead of scout, you will need to try again.
  • If you were successful, you can press blank to become opaque again and enemies will no longer be able to damage you.

It’s fairly simple to do, but in my experience, it is very unreliable. There are certain definite things which will cause the glitch to fail, such as harvesting/rescuing a Little Sister and doing a gathering event with a Little Sister. 

And there are also a lot of times when the glitch just randomly stops working. For this reason, I used it for only about half of Siren’s Alley before deciding it was too unreliable, and I wanted to play the game properly to ensure I had the upgrades necessary to beat the game legitimately.

After all, if the glitch worked all the way up to the last level and then stopped working I’d be screwed if I hadn’t focused on progressing my character properly.

That concludes my Bioshock 2 review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let me know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and I love engaging with people over the game I just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

We also just started a Twitter account @GetPlat where I’ll be sharing updates, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games I’m working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

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Bioshock 2’s Plat consists of two playthroughs and the first one is laughably easy. If you’re willing to put in the extra effort to grab that one last trophy for hard mode, you’ll be very satisfied, and happy to have this plat in your trophy collection.

Pros

  • Fun diverse combat mechanics
  • Interesting “tower defense” gathering segments
  • Decent graphics

Cons

  • Little-to-no character investment
  • Research camera makes a comeback
  • Poorer story than the first game
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Gold Trophy

While this game falls behind it’s predecessor in terms of story, the gameplay is much more exciting and palatable and 90% of the trophies are fun to get.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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