Some would say after playing a game 4-5 times, and then also fully screenshotting it around the same amount, you would have taken in pretty much all there is to experience, and maxed out all the new and entertaining screenshots you could take. I rejected that answer as i dove back down to Rapture once again, to see what i could squeeze out of my favorite underwater city during one last screenshot run. Turns out, there was still a lot left waiting for me down in the abyss.
When taking screenshots, you tend to move at a snail's pace through a game. Or at least i do. And that truly lets you soak in so many little details, charming quirks, and even tucked away secrets that you might miss during normal playthroughs. While looking around for interesting things to take a picture of, or spending way too much time lining up a shot, you might find yourself listening to the same fascinating audio diary over and over, picking up some fresh insight each time, or perhaps eavesdropping on a rare conversation between splicers never heard before, or even just seeing a tiny bit of environmental storytelling you missed completely when you zipped by it before in a frantic dash to find a first aid kit. There's almost always something new to discover around each corner if you slow down and look or listen hard enough.
And so once again, my time spent in BioShock 2 was well worth it, as i found even more to absorb in this wonderful game. I take my hat off to the 2k Marin team for really adding so much richness to the history of the series (In every regard. Story, characters, atmosphere. All of it.), on top of pushing the gameplay to even more enjoyable levels, while still making sure the overall high quality of the experience stayed consistent all the way through. I absolutely love this game.
Screenshot wise, i adjusted a few visual things through Reshade, which i thought would add to Rapture's look, including thick Ambient Occlusion (to make it dingier looking), Screen Space Reflections (to make it look like standing water was everywhere and/or certain rooms just had shiny floors), and a lower gamma setting (to make it creepier and more mysterious). Finally, i added some DOF as that's always useful for pictures. Some of these things weren't able to be injected into the original version of the game due to its older engine (its lack of a depth buffer, mainly).
This time through, i also wanted to include Delta's hands/weapons in a few shots since it can give the viewer of the screenshot something of a "being there in Delta's shoes" look and feeling. This was much more difficult than with the first BioShock since a trick that i used in that title didn't work in this one, and the remove HUD command unfortunately removed the hands and arms too. To solve this, i went through all the game's HUD flash files and removed/replaced each HUD item, one by one, that i didn't want.
I sunk a good bit of time into this set of screenshots trying to find unique moments and interesting ways to capture the different characters and their environments, which is a challenge even the first time screenshotting a game, let alone one you've done numerous times in the past. But, when it's a BioShock game, you have a lot of help due to the sheer quality of the series, so my fingers are crossed that you all think i succeed at least a couple of times!
Hopefully everything mentioned above comes together to make scrolling through this long gallery an enjoyable experience. And maybe, just maybe, it might even inspire one or two of you to hop in a bathysphere and travel back down there again yourselves. 🙂 Finally, i have to give a big shout-out to everyone who worked on the remaster at Blind Squirrel Games for all their time and effort. Everything they did really helped give an older title a nice (Adam filled) shot in the arm!