BioShock 2 Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
BioShock 2 box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: 2K Marin / 2K Australia 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: Q3 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (Online MP) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Pending 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Under the Sea... Again
by Matthew Walker

May 1, 2009 - The first BioShock, well, shocked me. Maybe not in the sense that the twists in the game made me sit with my mouth open or anything. Instead, I admit, I wasn't really interested at first. But, I had friends telling me about it, and I finally picked it up. Within the first ten minutes of actually playing, I was intrigued by the amount of horror, story plot, and really kickass abilities being used. Thankfully, BioShock delivered on several levels and, to some, is responsible, even if only partially, for the rekindling of interest in the horror genre.

BioShock 2 screenshot

After the critical acclaim BioShock received, it should have come as no surprise that a second was announced. While the developers have remained mostly hush-hush about the plot and major story elements of this entry, we do know a few things. BioShock 2 will, according to the developers, be both a sequel and a prequel rolled into one, which sounds about as confusing as Lost right now, but bear with me. A creature, described as thin, is kidnapping little girls all across the globe along the coasts. The only other description given is the attacker has glowing red eyes. This attacker has been revealed to be Big Sister, one of the Little Sisters that Jack saved at the end of the first title. She has returned to Rapture and is running the show. As for the little girls she has been kidnapping, they are being turned into beings just like the Little Sisters of the first.

Rapture has aged poorly since the last installment. There are still Splicers, though now they are at new levels of crazy and filled with animosity that makes the first of them look more like Care Bear versions. The Big Daddies and Rosies still roam the corridors of Rapture protecting the Little Sisters. The fact that these elements carried on clarifies that what we saw originally was only a small fraction of the world of Rapture. Players will be ale to explore more of this world in different ways. What better way to explore than as one of the things that scared the hell out of you in the first? I am of course talking about the Big Daddies. In the first, you ultimately pretended to be one of the hulking terrors of Rapture, and this time around you won't just be one of them, you will be the first.

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Being the first Big Daddy will grant you privileges unseen in BioShock. Instead of being this massive entity, players will have more agility as well as a nice dose of brutal strength, allowing players to move quickly if need be and being able to lay the hurt down on Splicers and even other Big Daddies. There will be mainstay weapons similar to the wrench in the first title. The imposing drill that all Big Daddies have will serve as the weapon of choice. Using it as a traditional melee weapon won't be the only advantage. It's a drill, of course, and as you would expect and hope, you'll get to turn it on and mangle the bodies of your foes as you see fit. To compensate for the potential overuse of the drill, the developers have included an overheat meter that you'll have to keep an eye on in the heat of battle.

BioShock 2 screenshot

Alternative weapons will also have their roles. However, they won't all be weapons a normal human can wield. All of the weapons will have the appearance and feel as if they were designed for a Big Daddy. One example of this is the Rivet Gun. Jack wasn't able to carry a weapon this massive, thus adding another difference to playing as a Big Daddy

Another major difference resides in the ability to wield these massive weapons and Plasmids simultaneously. Since you're the first prototype Big Daddy, you can use the various Plasmids scattered in the game. Old favorites, like Incinerate, will return to the series, but there will also be new abilities to use. Being able to have both the Plasmids as well as weapons will create a new dynamic in how you play, and they hopefully will introduce new and interesting ways to dispose of your enemies. The Plasmids themselves are receiving their own tweak. Instead of the upgrade system enabling your abilities to just do more damage, they will actually change the way you use them. For example, Incinerate, the standard matchstick we saw in the first title. Eventually after upgrading, you will use Incinerate more like a flamethrower by emitting a steady stream of flame from your hand.

BioShock 2 screenshot

Also returning is the moral choice players faced in the first title. I'm of course talking about the option to harvest or rescue the Little Sisters, but this time it may be a little more difficult to do so. In addition to the more child-like look of the Little Sisters, the advantages of the new adopt option may outweigh the harvest option. With the adopt option, the Little Sisters will ride around with you and will seek out Adam to harvest for you. This works the same way as we saw several times in the first title. The Little Sister uses her massive needle to extract the Adam and you, as the Big Daddy, must protect her until she is done. Splicers will attack in waves, because, as we know, the need for Adam amongst them is rage-inducing. In addition to these battles, players will also have to take on other Big Daddies in order to have the option of harvesting or adopting Little Sisters. However, there's a catch to these battles; not the difficulty of them, but what they eventually instigate: the wrath of Big Sister.

Screenshots / Images
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