At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Matt Bailey Other Format Brady Games Doug Walsh and Phillip Marcu N/A
Requirements Buy from Amazon.co.uk
N/A Click here to buy BioShock 2 Signature Series Strategy Guide.

BioShock 2 Signature Series Strategy Guide review

BradyGames were once again on the case to provide an official guide for 2K Games' BioShock 2 following their success with the official Modern Warfare 2 guide late last year. We justified that guide, despite the relatively short length of Infinity Ward's shooter, as a way to get the most out of the game, but on first glance of the BioShock 2 Signature Series guide, it's clear that in hindsight it falls a bit short.

First and foremost BioShock 2 is a game with a bit more depth of experience than Modern Warfare 2, and instead of the high-octane but narrowly focussed campaign of that game, 2K Games' FPS places an emphasis on exploration, with secret areas and hidden stories. While you will do well to do plenty of exploring yourself, BradyGames' guide offers one of the best ways to see everything and understand what's going on without dishing out endless spoilers. It does this through a range of maps for each level, but more importantly it's the way it guides you through the missions, advising you on where to go first, and what not to miss. Rapture is littered with audio diaries which the guide not only locates, but also details for those who want to take in the story without having to painstakingly listen to every word that's said in-game, which can be easily interrupted by the splicers. It also lets you know about the Achievements or Trophies you will earn along the way and provides useful advice - and warnings - about the game's many mini-boss sequences. If you follow the guide you'll never come into a Big Daddy or Big Sister fight unprepared.

BioShock 2, like it's predecessor, is also partly an RPG, and thus there is a wide array of upgrades available, including the weapons and the alterations you can make to them, the plasmids - the in-game powers such as fireballs and electric shocks - and the tonics which provide extra abilities. Thankfully there are tables to keep on top of these as well as advice throughout the campaign walkthrough which should prove useful to those wishing to play on the higher difficulty levels. There's also information on the weapons and the objects, such as the ADAM-giving Gatherer's Garden, that you will encounter throughout your travels through Rapture.

In addition, the guide talks about the multiplayer component, with details on what you earn with each new rank gained. BioShock 2's multiplayer also features "trials", which are equivalent to the challenges in the Modern Warfare games, offering bonuses for certain actions, and there's a full list of these too. There's a good look at all the weapons and plasmids you'll use, and an explanation about the different gametypes which seems to be lacking in the game itself. And of course there's maps and advice for each multiplayer level to help keep you on top while playing online.

It can be hard particularly these days to justify a £12.99 guide over the free options online, and it is true that many will never see the value of this. However, sometimes you just can't beat having a paper-based book in front of you, full of maps, pictures and details that you wouldn't get if you just printed something from GameFAQs. The guide feels generally well made, with a textured cover, and glossy pages. As well as providing plenty of details inside, it's also themed with the game, with plenty of BioShock 2 imagary, and box-outs which capture the feel of the world well. The only thing that feels missing from the guide is a bit of extra information behind the game, as in Piggyback's Tomb Raider: Legend guide, to provide an insight behind it's creation. There is some information on the characters in Rapture, but it's hints rather than creation details, and we would have liked some more of the latter.

Ratings

Overall BioShock 2 is quite a deep game, and many will be looking for a guide to navigate Rapture's corridors. BradyGames' official guide steps up and offers all you'll need in one book. 8/10

Click here to buy BioShock 2 Signature Series Strategy Guide from Amazon.co.uk.

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