You are a half-ton, hulking monster with one thing on your mind: protecting the grotesque little girl who looks on as a demented woman commands you put a bullet in your own head. These are the opening moments of 2K Marin’s game, BioShock 2. The game takes place roughly 8 years after the original game, and surprisingly, things in Rapture have only become worse. With a new arsenal at your disposal, the player takes control of the very first Big Daddy, known as Subject Delta. Essentially, you have become a Big Daddy. But before you eagerly use your new drill to decimate anything in your path, there is one thing you should be aware of: you’re still vulnerable – very, very vulnerable.
In fact, you’ll often forget you’re playing as a Big Daddy. It doesn’t take much to make our newfound hero hit the floor, and you’ll probably find yourself using health packs a dozen times per level. With that said, 2K has made sure you’re well-armed. The plasmids make a return, as well as a typical Big Daddy drill. Duel-weilding has been added, and after a few minutes of getting used to the new feature, you’ll wonder why it was excluded from the original game. All of your favorite plasmids make a return, as well as some new ones that will surely bring out the masochist in you.
After all, who wouldn’t want to send a hive of bees shooting from your hands, all while rushing your opponent drill first?! Big Daddies and Splicers aren’t the only ones looking to take you out, this go around. If you’ve payed attention to any of the game’s trailers, you already know about the newest enemy: the Big Sister. These pesky creatures are extremely agile, and tend to show up at the worst time possible. While the Big Sisters appear far less frequently than Big Daddies, you’ll find yourself encountering several of them throughout the game. With these exciting and thrilling elements of the game, it is important that you wear your gamer tshirt and set your serious gamer mode on. And each time you’ll probably find yourself hating them. While certainly not invulnerable, the Big Sisters take a liking to sneaking up on you (although their screech does alert you), jumping on walls, smacking you around, and sending you to the nearest Vita Chamber.
But what really sets this game apart from any other action adventure game is the incredible story. As previously noted, the Ayn Rand inspired Rapture is just as hellish as it previously was. 2K manages to create a quiet, disturbing atmosphere and make it last throughout the game’s entire 10 hour campaign. The story takes a central focus on your character, Subject Delta, as he embarks on a quest to track down his beloved “little sister”, Eleanor. However, a new foe, particularly an elderly woman named Sophia Lamb, looks to stop Delta from ever reaching Eleanor. Fortunately for you, Eleanor is able to communicate with Delta thanks to a genetic “bond” of sorts. As the plot progresses, players will find themselves immersed as numerous plot twists leave their heads spinning.
There are certainly some similarities in the plots of the two BioShock games: particularly in the game’s antagonists. One can’t help but draw comparisons between Sophia Lamb and Andrew Ryan. Also noteworthy is the return of the game’s moral choices. These come in interactions with creepy, disfigured little girls known as Little Sisters. Throughout the game, the player will encounter numerous Little Sisters. After engaging in battle with their Big Daddy protectors, players are given 2 options: save the little girl, or harvest the slimey sea slug her in an attempt to gain more ADAM. Ultimately, these choices pave the way for how the story evolves around your character, as well as how other characters interact with you.
Also note worth is the 2K’s inclusion of a brand new multiplayer function. The multiplayer aspect acts as a prequel to both games, and is certainly an interesting endeavor to say the least. One can’t help but applaud 2K Marin’s efforts to bring players into the game’s world before everything went horribly wrong. With that said, the multiplayer is bogged down by several issues. The biggest issue I found with the multiplayer was the horrible combat system. Simply put, it just feels clunky and awkward. There is, however, a leveling system similar to what gamers have been seeing for years now in the Call of Duty series. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities with Call of Duty’s robust multiplayer end. Leveling up becomes way too easy, and I never really felt any stronger after leveling up.
In conclusion, 2K has done a marvelous job on BioShock 2, and it easily lives up to the extremely high-standards gamers have after playing the first game. While the multiplayer certainly brings the game down, the game’s fairly lengthy campaign is strong enough that it will leave players coming back time after time. Overall, an incredible atmosphere, crystal clear audio and graphics, and robust gameplay warrant BioShock 2 a worthy companion to its predecessor.