Welcome to Rapture. An underwater city designed to bring together the world’s best and brightest to create a utopia deep below the sea. Scientific progress has flourished to the point where humans can improve their own bodies by ‘splicing’ up with ADAM, a type of sea slug that allows people to rewrite their own genome.
This can be used to make people stronger, faster, smarter and more and is mass-produced in the stomachs of young girls. But it’s also addictive – and the majority of Rapture has fallen under its influence. The people of this underwater dystopia will stop at nothing to get their fix – and you’re in their way.
And this Ayn Rand-esque world forms the setting for the coolest, edgiest first-person shooter I’ve ever played on the Xbox 360. A game so good that I’ve just completed it for the fifth time and rushed out to buy the original at the first opportunity.
You play Subject Delta, a Big Daddy forced to commit suicide by Sofia Lamb, but brought back to life by her daughter and your ‘Little Sister’ to save her from the cult of the Rapture Family – which Lamb is manipulating to spread her ideals and control the city. Genetically attached as you are, you can’t survive without your Little Sister – and in this world of spliced up maniacs, she can’t survive without you.
Within this engaging storyline, you are forced to choose between good and evil – do you save those who wronged you or let them live? You must use the little sisters you find to get ADAM for yourself to improve your own chances of survival, but do you set them free and take less benefit for yourself or harvest their bodies for your own selfish ends? I’ve always saved them – largely because the process of harvesting these small girls is too disturbing to want to watch it more than once.
Gaining this ADAM allows you to ‘splice up’ yourself. You can add cool new powers such as ‘incinerate’ – a plasmid that allows you to shoot flames from your hand, ‘hypnotise’ which allows you to turn splicers against each other amongst others and the many gene tonics that can be used to improve your strength, speed and ability to fight off enemies.
But the storyline elements are just part of the brilliance of Bioshock 2. Because not only can you become sucked into the world of Rapture, the gameplay is just brilliant. Running around this atmospheric world, you’ve got a wide range of weapons to deal with a wide range of enemies. And the ability to combine weapons with plasmids is inspired.
Because there are a great deal of possible combinations with which to deal with the splicers. You can set them on fire and then finish them off with your machine gun. Or freeze them with a bolt of electricty and then use your drill to deal a deadly blow. You can turn their own security guns against them or set traps for them to run into. You can shoot them in the chest with your shotgun or just hit them round the head with it. Or you can pin them against the wall with your speargun.
There are so many ways to kill your enemies in Bioshock 2 that you’ll never get bored of doing so. And when you’ve got normal enemies with guns, ones that can teleport themselves around the room, ‘brutes’ that are super-strong, fellow Big Daddies and the undeniably scary ‘Big Sisters’ that screech before they attack, it’s a good job too.
All of these reasons are why, despite the fact that Bioshock 2 is no new release, I’m still moved to blog about it now. The storyline is both engaging and moving and the gameplay is just awesome. And what’s more – you can pick it up on Amazon now for less than a tenner.
If you haven’t played Bioshock 2 or it’s predecessor before – buy it now. You won’t regret it.
- Bioshock logo by Dekuwa/Flickr
- Bioshock screenshot by Loimere/Flickr
- Eleanor Lamb image by Filipao 28/Flickr