Bioshock 2 Remastered review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Virtuos
Medium: Digital/Cartridge/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

As I wrote when reviewing the remastered version of Bioshock that came out on the Switch earlier this summer, the first two games in the series have long been one of my gaming blindspots. In fact, if my knowledge of the first game was minimal, my exposure to Bioshock 2 was non-existent. Playing Bioshock 2 Remastered on the Switch is literally the first time I?ve ever played the game on any platform, ever.

And you know what? It?s okay.

I mean, in a vacuum, it?d be one of the most amazing games I?ve ever played. It?s visually stunning, it?s got an engaging story with outstanding characters, and the combat is top-notch. I honestly can?t think of anything about it that I dislike.

The thing is, it doesn?t really do anything that wasn?t already done by the first Bioshock. Sure, there are differences here and there — you get to play as a Big Daddy this time around, instead of just fighting them; you occasionally get to go out into the ocean; you can jump — but on the whole, this is more a refinement of the formula the first game pioneered, rather than something totally different.

To be sure, that?s not the worst thing. As someone who loves Art Deco, I?m never going to say no to the opportunity to see more of Rapture, which is exactly what Bioshock 2 offers. Even if it may not feel as new, it?s still eerie and gorgeous and everything that made the first one such a visual feast. Adding in bits where you traverse the ocean floor is also neat, and adds to the feeling of being in a strange undersea world.

Further, by playing as a Big Daddy, the game opens up some slightly new avenues for combat. There are still plasmids, but you get some much more powerful weapons at your disposal. Couple that with a little more variety in the enemies, and you can see why this game is enjoyable.

Just about the only real complaint I have about Bioshock 2 Remastered is that it doesn?t pack quite the same punch as the original. Some philosophizing notwithstanding, it feels more like a straightforward shooter than either its predecessor or the final game in the Bioshock trilogy, Bioshock Infinite. Then again, as complaints about video games go, ?not enough philosophy” is clearly not the worst thing you can say.

And honestly, seeing as the first Bioshock is one of the greatest games ever made, I?m not going to complain too loudly about Bioshock 2 going back to the well for (mostly) more of the same. Even if it?s not an all-time classic, it?s still a very good game, and if, like me, you?ve never played it, the Switch remaster is an excellent opportunity to dive in and discover what you missed.

Take-Two Interactive provided us with a Bioshock 2 Remastered Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-