BioShock 2 Impressions

We return to the underwater city of Rapture for look at BioShock 2's multiplayer and single-player modes.

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Perhaps one of the most anticipated games coming out this year, BioShock 2 is on display at E3 2009, and though it's not here in any playable form, we did get to see a trailer of the single-player mode in action and, surprisingly, a good chunk of the multiplayer. First, the single-player mode in BioShock 2 takes place 10 years after the events that transpired in the original game, which means that Rapture has fallen into a state of decay as the ocean continues to reclaim it and its inhabitants. The focus of the single-player mode, in terms of its lead character, was to change it from the perspective of an outsider to that of a resident of Rapture, and in particular someone who plays an important role in the overall framework of the city.

That new lead character is the original Big Daddy--the very first to don the massive diving suit in the city of Rapture. But he's different from the single-purpose drones that roam around in the original game. He has regained his free will, which also happens to make him faster and more agile than other Big Daddies. Additionally, he can use a variety of weapons, ranging from the massive Big Daddy drill and a rivet gun to all-new plasmids, which have been tweaked to make them even more effective in combat. But more importantly, the original Big Daddy can make one decision that the others cannot: He can choose to protect the Little Sisters and continue to let them harvest Adam from fallen splicers or he can harvest them and take their Adam.

After we viewed a brief trailer of BioShock's lead character in action (which you can view above), representatives from Digital Extremes took to the front of the room to give a deeper look at the multiplayer component in BioShock 2. Unlike the single-player campaign, BioShock 2's multiplayer component takes place a year before the original game, during the civil war that initiated the downfall of Rapture and Andrew Ryan's underwater utopia. What's interesting is that there are actually two very different methods for jumping into a multiplayer game. There's a standard menu option and then there's Jacob Morris' (the lead character in multiplayer and a welder who may have even helped build Rapture) apartment, which is a visual representation of all of the multiplayer options and information presented in spectacular Art Deco Rapture style. You even have your own bathysphere to launch you into a multiplayer match.

The apartment, or safe house, is also where you can build loadouts for Jacob before joining a match. You can mix certain types of weapons with certain plasmids, so that you can immediately access those combinations without having to go back into a menu. (You can also select from your list of loadouts after dying in a match.) And if you're wondering how a lowly welder gets access to weapons and plasmids, a group named Sinclair Solutions provides you with them because they have a vested interest in the outcome of Rapture's civil war (you might remember that there was a bar in the original BioShock called Sinclair Spirits). But Sinclair's involvement doesn't end there. At the end of every match, the company will assess your performance and potentially promote your ranking, which essentially grants you access to more weapons and more plasmids. It's similar to what was done in Modern Warfare, only dressed in the BioShock universe, and should make it easier to create matches for players of similar skill.

This particular demo was of the Free for Fall mode, and it supports up to 10 players like the other multiplayer modes. The map is the Kashmir Restaurant, an area from the original game. Digital Extremes points out that because the game takes place just one year before the original, it makes sense to use some of the same areas, but they've been reimagined to make them more balanced for multiplayer. During the early minutes of the match, we find out that plasmids also have two different types of attacks: a quick fire and a charge fire. Obviously, the quick fire lets you shoot more quickly, but it's less powerful. Conversely, a charge attack is much more powerful and extends its damage, but it also leaves you open to attack from other players because it takes a few seconds to charge. Of course, either kind of attack still costs Eve, which is why you visit can the Circus of Value vending machines scattered about each map. Digital Extremes doesn't want to break the flow of the action, so all you have to do is walk up to it and get your Eve replenished. Similarly, the hacking of turrets (which is especially useful in multiplayer because they can help wrack up some kills) is also vastly easier than it was in BioShock. All you have to do is walk up to the turret, hack it, wait a few seconds for a gauge to fill, and it's yours.

But though you may be busy hacking some turrets, another player might be searching for something else: the diving suit for the Big Daddy. Yes, it's possible to play as the Big Daddy in BioShock 2 multiplayer by finding the diving suit in the map, but he doesn't quite function the same way as the Big Daddy in the single-player game. These are the slow, plodding sort, but what they lack in speed, they make up for in brute strength and endurance, and they're incredibly difficult to take down if you're on your own. On the flip side of that, if you become the Big Daddy then chances are that you'll also be the new focal point of the match as other players come to take you down, and you won't have plasmid powers to help you, either.

The action in the multiplayer mode looks pretty hectic, and when the Big Daddy shows up, it just gets crazy. But what really strikes us most about BioShock 2's multiplayer mode, at this point, is just how much effort Digital Extremes and 2K have put into making it an interesting part of the BioShock universe, and the fact that it's just not a multiplayer version of the single-player game. There's an entire narrative designed around the multiplayer, explaining why all of these people are fighting and how you have access to weapons and plasmids. It makes us interested to see other facets of the multiplayer, including the other modes, Survival of the Fittest and a team-based match called Civil War. BioShock 2 is scheduled for release in November, but check back for more coverage on the game in the near future.

Discussion

284 comments
dillonaja
dillonaja

i like every aspect in this game

tim_kkhanna
tim_kkhanna

Two words for 2K to take into account: SOUND ENGINE

Lithos_
Lithos_

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Breckles
Breckles

Rapture is coming back, and we're going there with Mister Bubbles!!! Booya!

CronoJKL
CronoJKL

I can't even jokingly say this game will suck. Is it 2010 yet?

RabidBurp
RabidBurp

Truly a great sequel of a great origional game. It's a MUST-GET if you enjoyed BioShock 1.

boots2300
boots2300

MIGHT BE THE BEST GAME EVER!!!!

borderlands234
borderlands234

since there 1st bioshock was a hit this game is going to get a 10

skullflower
skullflower

Looking forward to this. I've been through the 360 version of BioShock not long after its release, and am currently going through it again but on the PC. The gameplay footage of BioShock 2 just looks pure superbness - can't wait to play as the Big Daddy. Plus, the multi-player sounds like it could be quite a hit!

Godlike93
Godlike93

Gameplay looks really awesome to me =) singleplayer shows up with the bigdaddy concept and even multiplayer doesn't seem to become a normal shooter (plasmids + big daddy suit etc.) But as many of the others said i'm also rather worried about the story of the sequel : The first one's was simply and without a doubt a masterpiece, an outsider who falls in a strange world isolated from humanity and in the end andrew ryan reveals that all has been planned and it becomes rather a concept of vengeance for the betrayal or a rescue for the little sisters. This outsider-concept at the beginning made 2K able to have much fantasy and this is why it became that awesome BUT in Bioshock 2 u're an insider, a big daddy, even the FIRST, the prototype, means that 2K has to fulfill a story who really relates the character to the actions he does during the missions and also leaves traces in the story of the whole Rapture and that doesn't let the producers have as much fantasy as in Bioschock 1 Honestly, i don't think that they'll top the original story but let's be optimistic and hope for another Masterpiece :)

w4rgasm
w4rgasm

I don't know how they are going to top the story of the original Bioshock. Here's to hoping.

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

The first game is on my TOP 10 games list ever played. Amazing sounds, music, ambient, graphics and incredible story. From what I've seen so far from this sequel, I'm not worried at all. In fact, the only thing I'm worried about is the story. This seems more of an expansion pack than another game. I'm glad they postponed the game's release date, which means they will be polishing it even further to create a superb game. Can't wait for this.

kvan33
kvan33

Something about this sequel doesn't seem right. Feels more like they are making an expansion pack instead of a proper sequel. I'm hoping for a good game, but I'll wait for the reviews.

irwin888
irwin888

Traded in the first one because I got through it once, but I'm probably gonna hang on to this one!

pharoahlord
pharoahlord

i bought the first one this morning so i would get the story when i get 2... i love it

randomguy15
randomguy15

I love the fact that the multiplayer seems to have a story of its own. And I've played the original and it was great, and I've always wanted to play as the big daddy, this seems to be an intresting new twist. Idk why people are complaining about this game, I mean if the original was awesome why doesent it need a sequel?

ckboy023
ckboy023

Agree with JunkyMcMuffin, I just want a lot more of the first one, and it has multiplayer!!!!!! so that's just plain perfection... Love the "Be a Big Daddy" thing

Kanguilla
Kanguilla

I'm hoping they do something new and unique with this one other than being a big daddy. The first one was amazing, I don't really think it needs a sequel.

YoungDab
YoungDab

I still didnt finish part 1,I got to the first big daddy and he destroyed me lol.

JunkyMcMuffin
JunkyMcMuffin

Ok, my slow ass connection just loaded the video.....the folks sayin' this is just more of the same obviously didn't like the first one, or didn't even play it for that matter! For me personaly, I hope this game is more of the same....a whole lot more of the same, because the first was one of the best games in the history of video games! I played and beat it on the hardest difficulty level like 5 times. So if you don't like games that think outside of the box, or games with a different art style and atmospere, you should go play Battelfield or something.

JunkyMcMuffin
JunkyMcMuffin

Hopefully another great sequel. Part 1 was f*cking bada$$. I hope this one lives up to part 1 and surpasses it.

jdiamnz69
jdiamnz69

Looks very intresting, because you will play as a Big Daddy. This means that it will probably take on a whole new story. Multiplayer, Meh. People wanted it so they gave it to them. I myself probably wont touch multiplayer unless its awesome.

Aaron2k2
Aaron2k2

This looks amazing.. The trailer was great. I beat the first one and am looking forward to the next one... I like how you play as the big daddy because it's a big twist.. I was so happy when I played as big daddy in the first, but was dissapointed that I couldn't fight enemies while in the suit. Well, now I get my chance :)

SkytheWiz1
SkytheWiz1

I agree with Jack. This is a very interesting concept (and those who do get the game, I sincerely hope you enjoy it), but I don't think this game is for me this time.

arhwhyayehn
arhwhyayehn

i think ima pick up the original for summertime be4 this comes out

gedbyz
gedbyz

Meh I have to play the original.

JackBurton
JackBurton

:( Sadly, I have no desire to play as a Big Daddy for the entire game and won't touch BS2 until it's in the bargin-bin, if at all. Plus, MP seems totally unnecessary.

Kratos_Josh
Kratos_Josh

this is joint first of my game wish list with modern warfare 2 for this year so far looks really good (online and offline) i just hope the campaign doesn't suffer because of an online as the campaign is what we really want im still definately getting this especially as the current release date is a few days b4 my birthday =] cant freaking wait!

madyran
madyran

From the looks of all the gameplay trailers I've seen it looks like this is sort of a rehash/mix of pretty much the same things that were in the original except this time your in the boots of a Big Daddy. The underwater area seemed like a confined narrow linear experience, kind of like the same land areas except with water surrounding you. I hate doubting a game before I've played it and most of the time I rarely do, except this looks like very much of the same old same old from the original (besides the multiplayer). I just hope that 2K can prove me wrong, besides, I loved Systemshock 2

diapolo124
diapolo124

I have a bad fealing about this game

saraphin
saraphin

This was the game of the year. Developers, don't just make this a rehash.

pjlebjr
pjlebjr

definitaly one of the best games i played on any system, period! dont miss out but you might wanna play the original first to get the story line.

holy_terr0r
holy_terr0r

I loved the original BioShock. I'm gonna get this right when it hits the shelves, no matter what reviews it gets (although they'll most likely be high, considering its predecessor). Go BioShock!

mcspaddin
mcspaddin

@ bredeyabo: dude most of us realize that rpg games are not really meant for online play..... yur not the only person doubting multiplayer, at first i was both excited and worried.... but as more information came out i grew more excited and hopefull this articles shows how hard digital extremes and 2k games are working to make even the multiplayer a true rpg and true bioshock experience i just hope that the CoD like perk system doesnt run into problems (we all know and hate: juggernaught, nube tube etc.)

PAIN_creator
PAIN_creator

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

bredeyabo
bredeyabo

people. you need to know rpg games are not really meant for online play...

Vanadane
Vanadane

That sure looks sweet! I got BS to the PS3 last year and I have to say... I got a little disappointet! No online mode! The only one thing that would make this game perfect! And now we have it...! @medouleueis: A lot of games which came out two years after the original are great! Of course 'excellent' can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people...

medouleueis
medouleueis

they made too quickly.It's better not to expect an excellent game

Scorchgame
Scorchgame

@off3nc3 People just don't know how nice games are these days and that's why Bioshock 2 is for people who enjoy games and not for people who complain about games for the rest of their life.

off3nc3
off3nc3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Excedra
Excedra

I can't freakin wait!

dliv666
dliv666

My favourite Game, My favourite Gamemaker! I can't wait for Bioshock 2 and Borderlands!