The city of Rapture is not particularly difficult to navigate on a basic level, but its many hidden secrets can cause frustration to players as they do not get the best rewards from their game and suffer later on against much tougher opponents. This frustration is eased by the Bioshock 2 Signature Series Guide which 2K Games and BradyGames have teamed up to produce which gives you all the knowledge anyone needs to become a real Big Daddy. Written by Doug Walsh and Phillip Marcus, the guide is comprised of 271 pages fully explaining everything from each enemy and weapon stripped down to the finest details to a very concise single player and multiplayer walkthrough.
For the most part the guide keeps the reader in as much knowledge as possible and loads the first few introductory chapters with so much detail that it can become overwhelming if read in-depth. These chapters include a short backstory, a blurb on each character, good or bad, that you meet along your travels, controls and a detailed analysis of every weapon, plasmid and gene tonic that you may or may not stumble across. Although this is a good bank of information, if read before playing the game, it can make the player feel as if there is too much being told to them all at once instead of being drip fed to them as they encounter these items along the way.
The main single player walkthrough is the highlight of the guide, as it should be, and leads the player through each area step by step, pointing out any plasmids, gene tonics or audio files to collect along the way. One of the most helpful aspects is the guides explanation on the best way to prepare when encountering a boss or a large group of Splicers, this is walkthrough gold as going into a difficult battle under-prepared is one of the annoyances that can lead to death and ultimately frustration. The guide also provides maps of each area and they are an essential asset to have instead of always pausing the game and checking what areas you still have to explore. If the walkthrough has one flaw, it is occasionally missing out Splicers that attack whilst detailing areas, and this is annoying when you think you have cleared out an area then turn to look at the guide then look back and realize you are being mauled off by some guy with a wrench.
The multiplayer section is again incredibly detailed with each ranking level shown and what is needed to progress to the next level and how to complete each of the ‘trials’ that unlock as you rank up your character which is extremely helpful in ranking up as quickly as possible. Each game mode is also well explained as well as each upgrade for the weapons, plasmids and tonics you can unlock as you become a more experienced player. The only problem with the multiplayer section is that it comes across as quite confusing to the layout as it seems to jump around from section to section but it is a small faux pas in an otherwise excellent guide.
The Bioshock 2 Signature Series Guide is a must buy for any completionists who want to experience the full complement of surprises that Rapture has to offer and although it is not completely necessary to get through the game, it is completely necessary to get the best out the game. Everyone who does pick up a copy of this will not be disappointed and at only £12.99 ($19.99) it will be money well spent. So go ahead and pick this guide up which is available now at retail locations everywhere.