First Impressions: BioShock 2

*Sorry for the bad grammar and other weird typos, guys. I Just edited this and it should read a bit easier now.

I figured that since I’m on a BioShock roll right now, I might as well keep going. Also, is this poster kickass or what? I don’t care if you’ve never played the game or have no idea what Rapture is, but the artwork alone fills my soul with joy.

Anyway. We start off back in Rapture 10 years after the events of BioShock, only this time we’re playing the very first Big Daddy, Subject Delta. The screwy thing is, while watching the opening cinematic (which is beautiful as usual), your character quite definitely kills himself. Granted it’s a forced suicide (some kind of new mental conditioning?), but the end result is still the same- you’re dead. Before people get all up in arms and say things like, “well maybe it’s not actually you”, as you progress further into the game, the main antagonist, Sophia Lamb, communicates with you via radio and states  that she’s surprised to see you, as she watched you die 10 years ago. So now it’s a mystery as to what you’re doing walking around the city. 6 hours in, and I’m still not sure how or why I was resurrected, but that’s ok!

One of the things I liked about the first BioShock was that the world of Rapture felt real. Real in the sense that it was believable, even if the situation itself is unbelievable- Really, how could you possibly build a city the size of Rapture underwater, build it in less than 5 years, and modify your genetic code to the extreme levels that we’re  dealing with? The small attention to physical detail continues to amaze me, but when it comes to being believable, the story line and voice actors absolutely shine. In a nutshell, the story line is as follows (this is not a spoiler as you learn all of this in the opening cinematic and first few minutes of game play):

You were the first Big Daddy, and you were  protecting a little sister named Eleanor. It turns out that Eleanor was not actually an orphan, but the daughter of Sophia Lamb. Lamb, by the way, has taken over Rapture since Andrew Ryan’s death and was a psychiatrist in Rapture before the city fell. Anyway, as a Big Daddy you and the little sister that you’re protecting form a very close bond. The opening cinematic does a wonderful job of conveying this bond and all of the emotion involved on both sides. When Lamb decides she’s had enough of you, she forces you to kneel in front of her, take off your helmet, put a gun to your head and pull the trigger, all while Eleanor watches, looking completely terrified in a spot on child-like way. When you pull the trigger, the effect is gut-wrenching. When you are resurrected 10 years later your main goal is to find Eleanor, who will occasionally speak to you (telepathically?) and send you gifts.

The other believable aspect is the voice acting. One moment in particular sticks in mind. One of my side missions was to go and find Lamb’s lieutenant, a woman named Grace. I need the key that Grace has to unlock something- I can’t remember what, because as soon as she started talking, I felt terrible. Imagine that you’re trying to find your grandmother- she’s scared and hiding somewhere, but she’s incredibly disappointed with you and calls you a monster every chance she gets. She doesn’t believe that you are capable of making choices, or that you might still have a soul.

Believable emotion.

One of the other things that I’m liking so far is playing the role of a Big Daddy. I’m taking more damage than I thought I would, considering how heavily armoured I am. That aside, one of the new weapons is your drill. It is AWESOME to melee with- you can do a straight melee strike with it, or you can use fuel to start it spinning. If you’re REALLY coordinated, you can charge a target while spinning your drill and the amount of satisfaction and bloodlust caused by this ability is akin to using the chainsaw gun in Gears of War. The downside to the drill is that it goes through fuel pretty fast, but you will find more drill fuel than you know what to do with laying around the city or looted from bodies. The plus side is, you can always use your melee strike, as it doesn’t consume fuel, so it’s a good plan B if you’re out of ammo for other weapons or just plain like drilling someone in the face.

The only thing that is currently making me grumpy are some tweaked control issues. In BioShock, it used to be that the Y button rescued a little sister and X harvested her. That’s backwards now, and I don’t know what the point of changing this was, unless it was done specifically to piss me off. I accidentally harvested a little sister last night even though I saw the options on the screen, because it’s always been that Y SAVES and X HARVESTS. Another gripe is that you now have to use the directional pad for health packs, but you also use the directional pad to switch out ammo (as usual). I’m sorry, did you want to switch to Antipersonnel Rounds? Too bad, because you’re going to waste 3 health packs before you realize that you’ve been mashing the wrong button. The X button is still your reload button, but with the new feature of adopting a little sister and carrying her around with you, you have to press and hold X for her to show you where corpses are. The second you press X, you reload your weapon. It doesn’t matter if you had just reloaded, you will drop your clip and reload again. To make matters worse, you can’t pick up any ammo that you’ve dropped after doing a pointless reload. The lesson here is that when you ask your little sister to find a corpse, switch to your drill for the time being.

All in all I’m enjoying this so far, and the bottom line is, if you liked BioShock, you’ll like BioShock 2. I will revisit this once I’ve played a bit more and tried out the Multiplayer aspect, as I’ve found a willing partner. 😀


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