Time really does fly as I can recall testing the original BioShock like it was yesterday. However that was actually over two years ago and as you can imagine the GPU scene was quite different from today. Back then we were testing with the Nvidia GeForce 8 and ATI Radeon HD 2000 series graphics cards, while the Intel Core 2 Duo processor was the de facto standard for performance computing and gaming.
Today we are revisiting the franchise, as 2K Games unveiled BioShock 2 last week. The original game used the Unreal Engine 2.5 with some Unreal Engine 3 features incorporated into it, and it appears that the second installment will do the same. There are a number of older video games that are based on the same game engine, so BioShock 2 is not meant to raise the bar considerably in the graphics department. Nonetheless, 2K Games claims to have heavily modified the engine to fit their needs, so you can expect an impressive looking game regardless.
In terms of gameplay, the most prominent addition is a multiplayer mode which was completely absent on the original title. BioShock 2 features a story driven multiplayer mode where the player takes the role of a citizen of Rapture city. You can choose from 6 characters to get your way through, with a progression-based gameplay that unlocks new weapons and Plasmids as well as the story of the Rapture civil war, set just before the events of BioShock.
The introduction of multiplayer should help preserve the life of BioShock 2, well after you are done with the single player campaign. However to ensure that you get the most out of your copy of BioShock 2, we are going to show you exactly what kind of graphics card is required to enjoy this game in all its visual glory.
Like with most games, we feel BioShock 2 needs to be played at a reasonably high resolution with graphics settings maxed-out to be enjoyed in full. This article should give you a good indication of what hardware is needed or at least where you stand to get there. Considering not all of us can afford a graphics card upgrade at the drop of a hat, we will also show you what settings you may have to use for decent frame rates in this new first person shooter.
To thoroughly evaluate the performance of BioShock 2 we have taken over 25 popular ATI and Nvidia graphics cards, tested them using medium and high graphics quality settings at three resolutions that are generally supported by 22, 24 and 30 LCD monitors. Both the minimum and average frame rates have been recorded at each resolution using Fraps.