BioShock 2

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BioShock 2
Release dates
February 9, 2010
March 29, 2012
BioShock 2 at SteamDB
 BioShock 2 at Wikipedia
BioShock 2007
BioShock 2 2010
BioShock Infinite 2013

Key points

Information Uses SecuROM DRM with unlimited activations and an available revoke tool.
Information It is possible to disable GFWL.

General information

More information 2K Games Forum
More information Steam Users' Forums - for BioShock and BioShock 2.


Template:Availability Table

Information All versions have SecuROM.
Information All versions have Games For Windows Live, which can be disabled.

Games For Windows Live (GFWL)

Fix Disable GFWL using Timeslip's bioshock2-xlive.7z

  1. Ensure you have the v1.5 Patch.
  2. Download xlive.dll from Timeslip's site (located on left under 'BioShock 2' heading, no hotlinking is allowed).
  3. Copy xlive.dll to Bioshock 2's install dir\SP\Builds\Binaries\
  4. Create a file called xlive.ini in %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\bioshock2.
  5. Edit the xlive.ini file.
  6. Type [xlive] on the first line. Options are added below that in an option=value format. The following options are available:
    profile: Pick the name of the offline profile to use.
    loader: Set value to 1.

Retail v1.5 Patch

Information The latest patch is v1.5. The Steam version already has this patch.
Information The patch accidentally mutes all the Little Sisters. This can be fixed (see #No Little Sister voice acting) but the fix requires an #Games For Windows Live (GFWL) account to be signed in. It may be advisable to avoid the patch because the interaction with the Little Sisters is a significant aspect of the gameplay.

Game data

Template:Game Location Table

Information Because of GFWL you must back up both your Live profile and the game saves in order to transfer or restore your saves.
Disadvantage Save games generated when signed into GFWL are not compatible with 'offline' mode, and vice versa.
Advantage Use BioShock 2 Saved Game Utilities to easily back up the save folders needed for BioShock 2.

Video settings

Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution Native support WSGF WS Silver.svg
Multi-monitor Native support WSGF MM Silver.svg Use Widescreen Fixer with this plugin to fix HUD scaling.
Field of view (FOV) Hackable See Field of view (FOV)
Windowed Native support
Borderless fullscreen windowed No native support Window will not resize correctly.[1]
Anisotropic filtering (AF) Hackable See Anisotropic filtering (AF).
Anti-aliasing (AA) Hackable See Anti-aliasing (AA).
Vertical sync (Vsync) Native support
60 FPS Unknown
120+ FPS Unknown

Field of view (FOV)

Disadvantage Any custom FOV settings will be reset automatically at various times during gameplay when control is taken away from the player; i.e. for cutscenes. Zooming down iron sights will also yield this effect.


  • Open file %APPDATA%\Bioshock2\User.ini using Notepad.
  • Scroll down to the [Default] section and bind SetFOV # to any unused key (# being the desired FOV).
  • During the game, press the key you defined in User.ini to set the custom FOV.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)


  • Locate your game installation folder.
  • Inside your installation folder, navigate to \SP\Builds\Binaries\.
  • Open the file titled Default.ini.
  • Find the line LevelOfAnisotropy.
  • Edit the line LevelOfAnisotropy=4 to LevelOfAnisotropy=# where # denotes the max level of AF supported by your graphics card(s). For example, change the line to read LevelOfAnisotropy=16.

Anti-aliasing (AA)

There is no native AA support in BioShock 2. AA can be forcibly enabled, however, through your graphics driver's control panel. Please consult the user guide for your particular graphics driver on how this is performed.

Input settings

Template:Input Settings

Disadvantage There is no native controller support (Xbox 360 or otherwise) in this game.

Disabling auto-aim


  • Locate your game installation folder.
  • Inside your installation folder, navigate to \SP\Builds\Binaries\.
  • Open the file titled Default.ini.
  • Find the line AutoAim.
  • Edit the line AutoAim=True to AutoAim=False.

Audio settings

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls Unknown
Surround sound Unknown
Subtitles Unknown
Closed captions Unknown
Mute on focus lost Unknown

Issues fixed

Hold to Duck / Hold to Aim Down Sights

Fix Hold to Duck

  1. Open User.ini file
  2. Steam Location:
  3. Locate this line: "Aliases[13]=(Command="Toggle bDuck|Axis aUp Speed=-1200.0",Alias=Duck)"
  4. Replace with: "Aliases[13]=(Command="Button bDuck",Alias=Duck)".

Fix Hold to Aim Down Sights

  1. Open User.ini file
  2. Steam Location:
  3. Find the keybind that has the word "ZoomCycle" attached to it (T by default)
  4. Should look like this:
    1. T=ZoomCycle
  5. Replace with this:
    1. T=ZoomCycle | onRelease ZoomCycle

Menu flickering

Fix Disable v-sync

Disable v-sync from the in-game settings menu.

Fix Force v-sync

Force v-sync through graphics adaptor.

Crash on startup

Fix Change read/write permissions of save files

  • Backup the Bioshock 2 folder from your My Documents folder.
  • Delete the original Bioshock 2 folder.
  • Launch BioShock 2 and begin a new game.
  • Save your game and exit BioShock 2.
  • In My Documents right-click on the new Bioshock 2 folder that was created and select Properties.
  • Disable the Read-Only checkbox and click OK.
  • Move any backed-up save files back into the new Bioshock 2 folder under \Bioshock 2\SaveGames\.
  • Ensure that any file moved back into the new folder also has the Read-Only checkbox disabled.
  • Run the game and allow GFWL to update your profile before any further action is taken.

Left Plasmid hand disappears

Information This glitch is especially likely when using the Scout-Plasmid. Therefore it is advisable to quicksave before using it.

Fix Respawn

  1. Make sure Vita-Chambers are enabled.
  2. Being killed and respawning should fix the left hand.

Green Pepper Edition - no product key

Disadvantage The Green Pepper Edition of Bioshock 2 does not contain a product key. Therefore it is not possible to create a Windows Live Account or add Bioshock 2 to an existing account.

Fix Create a local profile

  1. Create a local profile.
  2. You can now save in singleplayer but multiplayer and DLC are still unavailable.

Fix Contact Green Pepper

Contact the Green Pepper Customer Hotline and insist that you rightfully deserve a product key.

Fix Disable GFWL

Refer to Timeslip's bioshock2-xlive.7z xlive.dll fix.

Game does not start on Windows 8

Disadvantage When installed on Windows 8 Pro x64, trying to run the game doesn't do anything. This is mostly like an issue with GFWL.

Fix Reinstall GFWL under Windows 7 compatibility mode

  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable, Microsoft Games for Windows - LIVE and Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  2. Download the GFWL installer from here.
  3. Right click the above installer, choose Properties and go to the Compatibility tab. Here, check the "Run this program in compatibility mode" box and change its mode to "Windows 7". Also, check the "Run this program as an administrator" box. Save and exit.
  4. Run the installer. After it finishes, try running the game again.

Crashing Windows 7 and 8

Disadvantage The game will periodically crash when installed on Windows 7 or 8.

Fix Activate DirectX 9 mode

Information This switches the game to DirectX 9 instead of the default DirectX 10.
  1. Create a shortcut to Bioshock2Launcher.exe somewhere convenient.
  2. Right click this shortcut, select Properties and add -dx9 in the target box after the quotation mark.
  3. Now launching the game from this shortcut will force the game to run in DirectX 9.

No Little Sister voice acting

Disadvantage May occur after installing 1.5 Patch, which causes Little Sisters to become mute.

Fix Download Protector Trials DLC

  1. Download the "Protector Trials" DLC from GFWL (it's free but requires an online GFWL-account).
  2. Once downloaded and installed just load the single player the Little Sister voices will be working.

Fix Set sound quality of standard sound device

  1. Start > type "sound" > open the soundpanel.
  2. Right-click on your common sound device > go to the tab "advanced" > set sound quality to lowest (CD quality).
  3. After you made your changes, click OK.


Information Error message: Too many activations on different PCs or too many reactivations on the same PC have been performed

Fix Revoke activations using[2]

Use to revoke activation.

Performance tweaks


Fix Improving Havok physics engine performance

  • Locate your game installation folder.
  • Inside your installation folder, navigate to \SP\Builds\Binaries\.
  • Open the file titled Default.ini.
  • Find the line HavokNumThreads.
  • Edit the line HavokNumThreads=2 to represent the number of cores in your machine's CPU. For example, using a quad-core CPU, change the line to HavokNumThreads=4.

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Windows XP SP2 Windows 7
Processor (CPU)
System memory (RAM)
Hard disk drive (HDD)
11 GB
Video card (GPU) NVIDIA 7800GT 256 MB
ATI Radeon X1900 256 MB
NVIDIA 8800GT 512 MB
ATI Radeon HD 4830 512 MB


  1. Tested by User:Andytizer on April 23, 2013.