While it may seem that Bioshock 2’s multiplayer was quickly tacked on so that 2K Marin wouldn’t have to endure gamers’ gripes about another single-player only Bioshock game, it really delivers. In a time when multiplayer modes are often an afterthought, Bioshock 2’s multiplayer is a great addition to the game and truly is a worthwhile, stand-alone experience. 2K Marin really put extra effort into this, making it alone worth the price of admission.
Rather than simply throwing a set of the same old game types in, 2K Marin wisely attempts to connect the multiplayer to the rest of the Bioshock universe. Set one year before the original Bioshock, the multiplayer thrusts you into the mayhem of the Rapture civil war. Rather than allowing you to immediately jump into matches, the game sets the atmosphere by making you first go through its prologue. You wake up on the floor, after splicing up with an EVE Hypo. As you regain consciousness, Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture, gives an important announcement. He talks about rebuilding Rapture through collective effort, and gives a toast to the New Year’s celebration for 1959. Chaos erupts as the spliced-up denizens of the underwater city go on their murderous rampage. In the midst of this insanity, you receive different small objectives, similar to the single player campaign, to further the story of your multiplayer character. You then choose your character from a variety of strange splicers with different careers and start the multiplayer experience.
The multiplayer packs a unique experience combined with old favorites from the original Bioshock. Playing in key locations from the original Bioshock and using old favorites like the shotgun, pistol, machine gun, grenade launcher, and crossbow brings back fond memories of the Splicer genocide you once committed. In a great twist, you are also given a research camera similar to the one in the original campaign. This camera allows you take pictures for an added damage bonus against your online enemies. A simplified version of hacking also found its way into the multiplayer realm. You simply walk up and hold the action button to hack a turret or vending machine. The turret will unload onto any enemy that crosses its line of sight, letting off rounds of lead or homing rockets. The vending machines are where you refill you EVE and ammo, but if hacked by the opposing team they’ll eject a grenade and blow you away, all while laughing at your misfortune.
Isn’t that a great welcome to the Circus of Values?
Another unique twist to this multiplayer is the ability to use plasmids and gene tonics. While the gene tonics may seem similar to perks in Call of Duty, they have a much more potent effect on game play. Having the chance to gain a quicker research bonus or a faster bot hack can easily turn the game in your favor if you’re losing. Also, being able to choose between three tonics helps make your character load out a bit more diverse.
The most entertaining element is the plasmids. They are what set this multiplayer apart from all other competitive games. Having the ability to instantly disappear like the Houdini splicers or set a water trap near an objective and zap it with electricity makes for a very different play style. The game also brings back fan favorites such as Electro Bolt, Incinerate!, Winter Blast, and Telekinesis to bring some interesting combos. Everyone knows getting shot with a grenade launcher or noob tube in Call of Duty can get pretty annoying. By equipping Telekinesis, you can throw back the grenades with a simple flick of the wrist. The plasmids make for a ton of endless possibilities. Last but certainly not least are the multiplayer game types. Packed into this game are your standard Survival of the Fittest (free for all) and Civil War (team death match). For players who prefer more objective-type modes, this game is great for you. You have Turf War, similar to Call of Duty’s Domination, where two teams fight for the control of three key points. Then you have Capture the Sister, similar to an attack-and-defend game type. One team defends a little sister while the other team tries to take her and carry her to a select air vent to let her escape. After three rounds on each side, the team with the most scores wins. Lastly, there is ADAM Grab, in free for all and team variants. There, you must hold on to a little sister for a set amount of time in order to win the game. Across all the game modes, you are able to pick up a Big Daddy suit and transform into the Rosie, giving you access to the rivet gun, proximity mines, and a vicious stomp, as well as much more health.
Overall, Bioshock 2’s multiplayer is an experience that can be enjoyed by everyone. If you are new to the Bioshock series or a grizzled veteran of Rapture’s worst, the multiplayer will feel like a unique and noteworthy experience. From classic game play to new environments and weapons you’ll feel as if you’re part of the action. This is, without a doubt, one of the best games of 2010.