BioShock 2 Preview Round-up

A slew of new previews for 2K Marin's BioShock sequel have surfaced, all of which appear to be based on hands-on impressions.

The first is at Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
While the footage I saw looked unmistakably like Bioshock familiar Rapture architecture, Splicers and an aura of rusty menace the really compelling questions were hidden in the details. Don't look at the excessive fountain of blood that covers the screen when you push your drill-arm into a Splicer's face. Don't even look at the otherwordly plants and looming towers that cover the ocean floor when Rapture's glass walls shatter and the protagonist finds himself wading slowly but purposely through the sea.

The second is at GameSpy:
Perhaps one of my favorite moments of the demo was the introduction, in which the action starts with a visual of a Big Daddy. It takes a second to realize that it's your reflection, and you're trying to stand up. You can see this image below, and it's quite evocative. As one of Rapture's lumbering brutes, you have access to an arsenal of devastating weaponry that would be the envy of the hero from the first game. For example, you're armed with a drill that allows you to punch straight through packs of marauding splicers. Plus you're granted plasmids, just like Jack in BioShock. That means that you'll be a walking tank that can conjure up deadly special attacks at will. I'm curious to see what other villains will be revealed. Given how weak they seem, I'm presuming that Splicers will be the least of your problems.

The third is at Shacknews:
Regardless of its lot in life, the first trait of the Big Player demonstrated was its devastating combat skills. Big Daddies in BioShock 2 will have all the powers of those in BioShock, and a few more for good measure. We saw the player use its massive melee drill to disgorge enemy Splicers, while simultaneously wielding plasmids--such as the flamethrower-like Incinerator--to burn them down. The Big Daddy prototype also has a lighter step, eliminating fears that players will be plodding through Rapture like a crouched Counter-Strike player.

The fourth is at Wired:
Everyone that finished BioShock knows that the first game had a lot to say about the notion of "free will" in a videogame, especially one that is what Thomas calls an "authored experience" a narrative-driven game in which the player, though he feels free to make decisions, is really just doing exactly what the game's director is telling him to do kill those people, walk through that door, pick up that item.

The fifth is at OXM:
This is the first big choice in BioShock 2: harvest or adopt. Harvest kills them for a big ADAM hit to boost your Plasmids and a massive karma ding that'll you'll pay for later, Adopt and you can rescue them as in the first game - or keep them as an ADAM-harvesting helper. "The adoption mechanic, fairly importantly, is a direct rebuttal to the horrible escort quest that you may have played in other games starting with BioShock," laughs Thomas.

The sixth is at Destructoid:
As the Big Daddy, you'll be able to use a powerful dash attack, and one-hit kill Splicers with the drill. You'll also be able to use Plasmids, which have been completely revamped in BioShock 2. Now when you upgrade your Plasmid powers, you'll actually see significant differences between the levels of them. When you start off with the Incinerate power, for instance, you'll have a simple fireball. Upgrade it all the way, though, and you'll have an extremely powerful flame blast that's akin to a flamethrower. You can also dual-wield your Plasmid powers and your weapons, making it possible to use both at the same time.

The seventh is at IGN:
So how does the story of this sequel hook into the end of the original? We were told the results of the major events of the first game, specifically the 'boss' encounters, remain unchanged. "There's a ton of controversy amongst the splicers as to which of the choices the player made," said Thomas. "The knowns are Tenenbaum and her safehouse full of Little Sisters returned to the surface and most of them led normal lives.One Little Sister did not acclimate. She wasn't able to fit in. She wouldn't let Rapture go for some reason.In the late 60s she returns to Rapture and she finds it a wreck. A lot of it has been reclaimed by the ocean, there's this new growth that's taking parts of it, and it's chilling to her."

The eighth is at Joystiq:
With her on the Big Daddy's shoulder, the demo moved on to another room, this one with a glowing dead body on the floor. She pointed out that it was an "angel" -- a dead splicer ripe for ADAM harvesting. Here was a look at another of the game's changes: the siege scenario. It takes the Little Sister a set amount of time to harvest ADAM, displayed as an on-screen gauge. While she's doing so, the game's seemingly much more aggressive splicers will try to stop her and kill the player. (We seem to remember them being a bit afraid of Big Daddies in the first game ... )

The ninth is at Kotaku:
When you "Adopt" a Little Sister, you carry her around a level with you and can deploy her to go gather Adam from corpses. But doing so agros pretty much every Splicer in the area and they all come running to kick the shit out of the Little Sister. Again, not really a spoiler, since this same mechanic went on in the later levels of BioShock. The difference here is that the Little Sister has a Harvest limit and once she's reached it, you have to send her back home via the little pipe system.

The tenth is at WorthPlaying:
I'm one of the few people who had serious problems with BioShock, and I was told that two of my larger issues are being addressed. For one thing, there will be a wider moral spectrum presented when dealing with the Little Sisters, as well as other situations you encounter in Rapture; harvesting them versus protecting them will reportedly have genuine effects on the game, rather than the largely arbitrary choice it was in BioShock.

And the eleventh is at The Escapist:
One thing's clear, at least: being a Big Daddy means you're a wrecking machine. In addition to the trademark drill, which can be charged up for a fierce lunging attack, and the return of customizable and upgradeable guns, you can use Plasmids, with your left hand used for shooting fire, electricity, and other powers that return from the first game.

If it you're worried that your character in BioShock 2 is so powerful, keep in mind that the bad guys are tougher, as well. Enemy Big Daddies return, and 2K Marin has tweaked the Vitachamber mechanics so that they're a lot harder "to cheap." (Vitachambers can also be turned off entirely from the get go).