I originally bought the Bioshock collection solely for the first game. It was just the most convenient way for me to play it at the time. I was honestly just not interested in either Bioshock 2 or Infinite from what I've seen from them. So I played 1, enjoyed it enough, then moved on. Only recently have I heard talks that Bioshock 2, while flawed in its own right, has been criminally overhated. After taking a small look of some more footage online, I decided to give it a shot. And what do you know, I ended up liking it more then the first game.
It just feels nicer to play across the board. The simplification of the tedious hacking minigame from the first, dual wielding plasmids and guns at the same time so you can shock foes while you're reloading, you tend to get special ammunition and plasmids at a much brisker pace, and no location feels like it overstays its welcome. Was worried about having to defend the Little Sisters in this game, but honestly they were never an issue. Bioshock 2, like the first one, provides a lot of traps that help even out the swarms of crazed splicers out for you daughter. Not to mention, I feel Bioshock combat shines when you're pre-planning for either a Big Daddy encounter or one of the previously mentioned daughter defending missions. Really satisfying when you're patiently hacking security bots and laying tornado or spike traps, and then absolutely thrashing the opposition as they ragdoll into the air as your turrets shoot them midair.
The story was better then I was led to believe. I am in the mind that 1 has the stronger narrative, but if I'm honest I felt more attached to the characters of 2. Especially when factoring Minerva's Den, a very solid 2-3 hour DLC with a strong emotional ending.
I think what speaks volumes about my experience was that I had this game crash while saving... and it erased my data. Thankfully there was an autosave, but it only saves at the beginning of the level. As I found out later, I was right at the end of that level before losing my file. It did demoralize the hell out of me, but replaying the whole level wasn't really exhausting at all. In fact I built my character in a slightly different way, so it wasn't like I repeated everything I did exactly.
I'm not sure if this is one of my favorite FPSs, I need to think on it more, but I'm really glad to have given it a shot.
(...Sorry, but Infinite is not happening. It literally got rid of everything I liked about the first two. I definitely wouldn't enjoy my time with it)

Reviewed on Jan 22, 2023