For most sequels (though Mass Effect 2 is a notable exception), my expectations are largely diminished — even when the original is one of my favorite games of all time.
That’s why I was satisfied with Bioshock 2, even though it’s not as good as the first. The gameplay improvements (dual‐wielding weapons and plasmids!) are much appreciated. The setting and backstory are solid; it was nice to see how Rapture’s other half lived, and how the city’s class stratification laid the grounds for a collectivist counter‐movement.
But the plot, when viewed up close, grew more and more incoherent as the game progressed. The last two hours are spent communicating with an ally over radio; I started to feel like her only purpose was to explain a plausible plot rationale for why you had to go to place X and do thing Y, over and over again.
The main villain is depicted as the ideological opposite of Bioshock’s Andrew Ryan. But Bioshock documented the events that turned an ambitious mogul into a hypocritical authoritarian. Sofia Lamb, on the other hand, has no depth to her villainy, and seems to undergo no character development in the two decades she’s spent under the ocean.
But, again, I nitpick because I love. I’m in the middle of my second playthrough and will be first in line for Bioshock 3.