|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 2K Marin/Digital Extremes||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-10 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
June 8, 2009 - The original BioShock, it was all about the single-player experience. The game was released amid a flurry of multiplayer-centric titles, and it was highly praised for keeping the game's focus on the single-player experience. However, for the release of BioShock 2, it seems there will be a new multiplayer component that will be completely separate from the game's highly anticipated single-player story mode.
Although BioShock 2's narrative will focus on the Big Sister character ten years after the events of the original, the multiplayer mode will actually be set a year before the events of the original. You will be able to play as a number of citizens of Rapture, during the beginning of the splicer civil war that was responsible for the fall of the underwater city.
The multiplayer mode does have a light story to it. As one of the newly-relocated Rapture citizens, you are scooped up by the nefarious Sinclair Solutions and are employed as a new product tester. Of course, what this actually entails is shooting yourself up with plasmids and then trying to destroy everyone around you in Sinclair's simulation rooms. Naturally, this is all an elaborate ruse to disguise the fact that you are now part of the civil war against the splicers, but it seems your character either doesn't know or doesn't care.
We were recently treated to a live demo of BioShock 2's multiplayer mode, and so far, it looks like it is coming along nicely. When you begin the multiplayer mode, you are transported into your multiplayer hub, represented by an apartment in Rapture. From here you can select your character, customize their weapons, plasmids, and physical attributes, and view important plot elements.
When you are done, you will be able to take your game online. There will be three different modes in BioShock 2's multiplayer area: slayers, team deathmatch, and a third unannounced mode. We were able to watch as the team from 2K demonstrated the slayers mode, which is called Survival of the Fittest.
Essentially, this mode works like any other multiplayer slayers match, with everyone scrambling to kill other players. However, there are a few things that make it uniquely BioShock. First of all, there will be automatic turrets scattered throughout each level that you can hack and turn on your enemies. Of course, this hacking won't be like the pipe dream-esque mini-game that was found in the original. To make it more multiplayer-friendly, the hacking has now been reduced to holding a button down near the turret.
Another facet of the multiplayer that will make it feel like BioShock is the presence of a Big Daddy. While no one starts out as the Big Daddy, as the match begins drawing to a close, a Big Daddy suit will appear randomly in the level. When this suit appears, anyone will be able to find it and put it on to transform into the Big Daddy. This system sort of reminded me of the Tank system in Left 4 Dead, which is a good thing, as it can really alter the playing field in the last few minutes of gameplay and keep it exciting.
Levels themselves will feel very familiar to those who played the original. Memorable locations like Kashmir Restaurant and Mercury Suites will be ground zero for the multiplayer warfare, and since they have not yet been destroyed completely by Rapture's civil war, you will be able to see them in something very close to their original condition. Although there will be some evidence of violence, you won't see the leaky walls and ruined furniture punctuating the landscape as you did in the original.
The BioShock multiplayer levels are looking good so far, and it seems that the team is definitely trying to root the experience in the lore of BioShock. Although I am not entirely convinced that a multiplayer mode can enhance the world of Rapture, the team at 2K and Digital Extremes (who is developing the multiplayer exclusively) seem to be confident that this will help flesh out this underwater dystopia, and even provide some context for the single-player modes of both the Original BioShock as well as its sequel. We won't have to wait long to find out for ourselves, as this game is set to ship this fall.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor