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Originally released in 2010 for consoles and PC, 2K Games’s BioShock 2 has finally made its way to the Mac, thanks to the porting efforts of Feral Interactive. Was this sequel to one of the most celebrated first-person shooters of all time worth the wait? If you’re keen on being immersed in a dark, often terrifying, and fully realized world with a deep storyline that demands your investment, then the answer is most assuredly yes.
Set in the fictional undersea metropolis of Rapture eight years following the events of the original BioShock, the sequel has you take on the role of one of its predecessor’s iconic foes: the Big Daddy, a genetically modified, diving suit-clad enforcer. Known as Subject Delta, your character is reactivated almost a decade after being forced to shoot himself in the head by the evil Sofia Lamb; your mission now is to rescue your Little Sister--a genetically-augmented child, now grown into a teenager--whom you once pledged to protect from the dangerous denizens of the aquatic city.
BioShock 2 offers a stunning array of options for taking down baddies.
As you explore the beautiful, broken art deco hallways and corridors of Rapture, you’ll encounter a wide variety of enemies determined to do you in. Fortunately, you’ll have the opportunity to take them all down with the help of a number of powerful weapons, including a massive mining drill, bolt or spear gun, and a number of customizable weaponized genetic modifications, all of which are powered by compounds and ammunition found throughout the game.
The excellent, suspense-filled single-player campaign unravels over the course of several hours, and is filled with myriad twists and turns that reveal more about the hero and the BioShock universe. Additionally, BioShock 2 introduces an online multiplayer component, which feels distinct from most other shooters by keeping the special Plasmid attacks and machine-hacking abilities from the campaign.
Rapture’s art deco styling and brooding environments are the real heroes of BioShock 2.
BioShock 2 can no doubt shine on a highly capable machine, but if you’re on the low end of the specs sheet, the visuals lose their edge. I tested the game on a mid-2010 MacBook Pro with a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB RAM--a laptop that meets the game’s technical requirements (and then some in many respects). While I was able to play the game with no hangups or stutters on the default settings, the graphics were sadly lackluster at best. You’ll want a very recent machine--and a dedicated graphics card—to get the most out of the experience.
The bottom line. Provided your machine has the specs to power this beast, BioShock 2 serves up a great first-person shooter experience on the Mac, even if it’s not quite as brilliant as the original.
Intel 2.0GHz processor, Mac OS 10.7.2 or later, 4GB RAM, 256MB VRAM (ATI X1xxx, ATI HD2xxx, Nvidia 9400, Nvidia 7xxx, and Intel GMA not supported)
MPAA age rating: Mature 17+
Tense, action-packed gameplay and an immersive storyline. Great visuals and superb voice acting. Beautifully designed levels with terrifying enemy encounters.
Playable, but visually disappointing on lower-end machines. Switching between campaign and multiplayer modes in the menus is a little clunky.