I must admit, when a BioShock sequel was announced I had my doubts. I thought “how can they take such an unbelievably beautiful design and masterfully written storyline and make it better? What can 2K do to one-up themselves with the city known to fans as ‘Rapture’?” Well, kiddies, I give you BioShock 2. Big Daddies and Little Sisters return, amongst new and old friends and foes, to welcome you back to the city below the Atlantic.
What made this game so amazing? Well let’s start with the fact that you are no longer just a man. You are a Big Daddy! How bad-ass is that? Known only as Subject Delta, and thought to be dead, you return and begin your search for the Little Sister that was bonded to you ten years earlier. This particular little sister is immensely important to Rapture as she is being bred to be a “Utopian” or “the People’s Daughter,” somewhat based on Fontaine’s creation. Her name is Eleanor Lamb, biological daughter of Dr. Sofia Lamb, who just so happens to be the games primary antagonist. DUN DUN DUN!!! Ten years ago, Sofia orchestrated the abduction of Eleanor. During the event, Delta was hypnotized and forced to kill himself by removing his helmet and shooting himself with a pistol. Sofia took control of Rapture and all that is within after Andrew Ryan was murdered.
As a Big Daddy, your weapons arsenal is somewhat limited, yet oh-so powerful. You start out with a drill similar to the Bouncers of BioShock. The drill takes the place of the wrench as the players’ primary melee weapon. Used to drill into enemies, as well as bludgeon and charge into them, it makes taking out average splicers a cinch. The charge was particularly my favorite move and my first “HOLY CRAP” moment of the game. Later obtained is the Rivet Gun like the Rosie’s weapon in BioShock. A double barrel shotgun takes the place of the original, and when you upgrade it to the cut-off model it packs a punch when paired with the right ammo. A spear gun replaces the crossbow, and the grenade launcher returns as simply the Launcher. A hack tool is added with the ability to hack turrets, cameras, and safes from a distance using various darts found throughout the game. Of course the machine gun returns in Gatling gun form, and to round it out is the research camera. Each weapon has its own special ammo just like the original BioShock and all weapons can be used to melee if need be.
What can be more of a pain in the neck as a fight with a Big Daddy? I mean their relentless barrage of melee and projectile attacks can be one of the most frustrating things in Rapture… That is until you meet a Big Sister. With similar armor to that of a Big daddy and the stature of a super model, they are faster and much more agile. One you collect all three little sisters in each part of Rapture, you are warned that Big Sister is on her way and you have very limited time to prepare for her onslaught. And judging by the shrieks you hear when she’s coming for you, she is NOT happy.
Splicers are still the main enemies found throughout Rapture. The ADAM addicts will stop at nothing to get it, or to put you six feet under at the command of Sofia Lamb. Leadhead, Thuggish, Houdini and Spider Splicers are all back, but BioShock 2 introduces the behemoth, Brute splicers. Said to be the result of splicing dregs of Sports Boost and Armored Shell gene tonics, and having absorbed more ADAM than average splicers, they have an abnormal size and musculature, and are seemingly unstoppable. Think “Big Daddy Splicer” who can jump up and down to where ever you are. I found myself screaming “WHY WONT YOU DIE?!?” when faced with the Brutes. Yea, they are THAT tough until you find the right combination of weapons and plasmids. Running from these monsters is futile as they are no only faster than you, but they will chase you where ever you run. You have no choice BUT to fight back.
Speaking of plasmids, all your favorites from Electro Bolt and Incinerate! to Decoy and Telekinesis return with the ability to upgrade, and added is the Scout plasmid which give you the ability to throw a ghost-like version of yourself into distant battles with the capability to use plasmids to attack for a limited time. And towards the end of the game, you can even summon a Big Sister to assist you in battle. NICE!
Instead of defeating a Big daddy and rescuing or harvesting a little sister, you are given a choice to adopt her and use her to draw ADAM out of certain dead splicers. This act is called a gathering, and trust me, they are not an easy feet to accomplish at first. Once the little sister begins extracting ADAM from the body, hordes of splicers begin to attack and they keep coming until she’s finished. Each little sister can gather twice and then you bring her to a port where you are once again given the option to rescue or harvest her for more ADAM.
In all, I’d have to say that 2k scored big with BioShock 2. I believe they took a chance with great concept and made it better. While I do wish that the story was longer, I felt that the sequel was on par with the original. If you haven’t played the original BioShock, then I’d strongly suggest you do. It’s an experience unlike any other.