Digital Life: BioShock sequel puts up a good fight for top spot
Published 02/03/2010 | 05:00
BioShock 2, X360/PS3/PC
The sequel to 2007's game of the year, BioShock 2 faces a struggle to emerge from its daddy's shadow.
For the opening hours as we descend back into the ruined world of a dystopian city built under water by a megalomaniac, the overriding sensation is uncomfortable familiarity.
The downfall of this decaying metropolis called Rapture was the genetic experimentation that spiralled out of control.
It produced the freaks who roam the corridors and you, the lumbering giant charged with protecting the little girls who harvest DNA from corpses.
The visual design remains staggeringly good, as if the Titanic was decorated by a madman with a degree in art deco.
Your array of genetic powers (fire, electricity, ice, telekinesis, etc) dovetail craftily with a diverse arsenal of weapons, making combat a thrilling experience.
Different enemies and fresh tasks eventually allow BioShock 2 to find a different rhythm from its slow beginnings.
It doesn't have the shock of the new as its predecessor did but it's still a hell of a sequel thanks to an engrossing story arc and the unshakeable foundations of its gameplay.
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, DS
A role-playing game in the mould of Final Fantasy or a brick-swapper in the vein of Meteos? Actually, M&M: CoH offers a little bit of both.
The story is standard RPG fare: evil preying on innocent villagers, bright-eyed young warriors on sweeping quests, blah, blah.
But it boils down to turn-based puzzle battles with the enemies, requiring you to assemble your units in groups of three to attack.
Special units grant extra firepower, and quick management of resources is central.
It's simplistic, yes, but an interesting hybrid nonetheless.
Ion Assault, X360
Think Asteroids meets Geometry Wars and you'll have the measure of this download-only twin-stick shooter.
Your ship patrols a small arena destroying asteroids by collecting ion particles and firing them in a stream.
But what initially appears frustratingly one-dimensional reveals hidden depths, which coupled with some beautiful trippy graphics compensate for the short-lived supply of levels.