The list goes on, but its most important element is that where BioShock was ultimately the story of a city, BioShock 2 is the story of its people – and in particular, a father and daughter relationship. On the surface – or to be more exact, several fathoms under it – that might sound very familiar. Like so much of BioShock 2 though, the style makes it different.
Under Ken Levine, both original BioShock and BioShock Infinite offer effective emotional moments. They’re a colder flavour of emotion though – Nolanesque, if you will – coming more from the head than the heart. Even ignoring the fancy speeches that inevitably accompany them, their reason is always to illustrate authorial points. That doesn’t make them bad – many of them are very effective indeed – but even a hammer with big sad eyes painted on its handle will always unmistakably be a tool.
Richard Cobbett – “Bioshock 2 Retrospective“
I think Bioshock 2 remains my favorite game in the franchise, and I think Cobbett is exactly right in his evaluation of how Levine made his arguments in the first and third games in the series.