BioShock 2 Preview

Written by Joe Martin

December 16, 2009 | 08:23

Tags: #adam #big-daddy #big-sister #bioshock #bioshock-2 #little-sister #marin #multiplayer #preview #rapture

Companies: #2k-games

Enraptured

The other opponent who you’ll be facing is the much more sinister Sophia Lamb, who replaces Rapture founder Andrew Ryan as your ideological nemesis in BioShock 2.

You can check out our original BioShock review for more information on the history of the series, but suffice it to say that Lamb is manipulating the unrest in Rapture's remaining populace to champion her own philosophy. While Ryan built Rapture as an objectivist safe haven where personal ability was the only path to greatness, Lamb believes in the power of groups rather than individuals and her belief in the power of community has spawned a new religion that the Splicers are all too keen to sign up to.

Crazy, we know – but that’s what happens when a closed market is flooded with products which give everyone superpowers and addicts them to a very rare chemical that can only obtained from little girls with glowing eyes. It’s exactly that addiction which is driving the war, with everyone squabbling for more power, control and ADAM.

BioShock 2 Preview BioShock 2 Impressions
Don't talk to strangers

You’re not left out of the Plasmid fad though and despite the fact that you’re a Big Daddy with a drill attached to one arm you still have a hand free to use for Plasmid powers. It’s yet another thing which helps set you apart from all the other Big Daddies, along with the ability to use vending machines and Vita-Chambers for automatic resurrection when you die. In other words, you’re pretty much exactly the same as you were in the first game – even when it comes to the annoying and game-breaking things.

BioShock 2 does get a huge expansion to the feature set in at least one very significant area though; the multiplayer. Where as the original BioShock was a singleplayer only affair that left players with nothing new to do once they’d seen both (rather poor) endings, BioShock 2 has a plethora of multiplayer modes to keep gamers coming back for more.

There doesn’t seem to be anything hugely inventive when it comes to how BioShock 2 is structured admittedly – the usual smattering of CTF, DM and Zone Control game modes have simply been re-tooled around the BioShock mythos, but that’s OK. Flags have been replaced with Little Sisters and that’s about it at the moment, by the looks of it. BioShock 2 more than compensates when it comes to the number of options players have though, with players able to make full use of the expanded Plasmid and weapon options.

It’s worth noting that the multiplayer portion of the game actually ties in with BioShock 2’s story too and that by going into multiplayer battle players are supposed to be involved in the civil war that broke the back of Ryan’s individualist utopia. That’s why everyone in the skirmish is reduced to playing as a lowly splicer, though there are Big Daddy suits dotted around for players to use as power ups for short-lived drilling romps through the underwater city.

BioShock 2 Preview BioShock 2 Impressions
Using a diving suit, Big Daddies can explore the ocean floor

In all likelihood couching the multiplayer within the story isn’t going to have too much of an effect on the actual game – no more than saying multiplayer battles in Modern Warfare 2 represent the larger skirmishes seen in singleplayer – but it’s certainly nice to see the two tie together in some form.

Still, pleasant as it may sound in theory, we’re still just a little sceptical about BioShock 2. Not when it comes to creating an engaging and well balanced game though, as if the team at 2K can only do half as good a job as they did with the first BioShock then the sequel will still be one of the best titles of the year.

It’s more that we’re concerned about whether exploiting BioShock’s unique art deco charm is entirely wise. The first game stood out so much because it was one of the few games that dared to look different and broach topics that actually encouraged deeper discussion and we’re not sure that’ll hold true if 2K plunges on for the inevitable BioShock 2, 3, 4 and BioShock 5: Big Daddy in Space!.

BioShock 2 is set for release on February 9th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It will be published by 2K Games and you can discuss the game further in the forums.
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