By Sean Harris ’11
Back in 2007, 2K Games, developers of the “System Shock” series, created a spiritual successor called “Bioshock” that invited gamers to visit the underwater city of Rapture.
Swapping the vast enormity of space for the depths of the sea, what 2K Games created was a deeply atmospheric experience. Now under a new developer, 2K Marin, Rapture has returned to enchant players once again in the new multi-system game “Bioshock.”
The story takes place years after the original game. Rapture has fallen deeper into deterioration, and now that the founder Andrew Ryan is gone, a new villain named Sophia Lamb has stepped in.
Lamb is the opposite of Ryan; while Ryan believes in the triumph of the self, Lamb believes in the good of the community. She has founded a cult known as “The Rapture Family” based off of these beliefs.
Stepping into the boots of a “Big Daddy,” gamers will play as Subject Delta, the very first model of a new Big Daddy which can only be described as a giant bodyguard in a diving suit.
The Big Daddies guard Little Sisters, mutant little girls that harvest ADAM (powerful genetic material,) from the bodies of the dead lying around Rapture.
With ADAM, the citizens of Rapture are able to splice their genes, giving them the ability to shoot things like fire and lightning from their fingertips.
Delta was separated from his Little Sister and throughout the game he struggles to get her back, putting him into conflict with The Rapture Family since they need Delta’s Little Sister as a savior for Rapture.
The story is once again a breath of fresh air in video games; it tells a complex tale dealing with themes of family and redemption and is not hurt as a result.
The story is once again bolstered by the audio diaries. Hearing the voices of the citizens long gone is creepy and interesting at the same time. Although it can be annoying if a key audio diary is missed among the wreckage of Rapture.
The story is also much more involved this time around. While “Bioshock” dropped players into the city of Rapture as an observer, this time they are an integral part of its society.
Also improved are the moral choices that players will have to make. Key choices will come from the Little Sisters; players can either choose to save or harvest them.
Harvesting them will allow the player to level up faster, although harvesting is essentially murder, because the Little Sister trusts Delta with her life so much that it is much more tragic to choose the harvest option.
Little Sisters can also be put to work, going to collect ADAM for Delta. However this addition can become repetitive as the game goes on.
The story struggles this time around due to a lack of interesting characters to interact with. Nobody in the game can really fill the shoes that Ryan, or other original characters left behind.
Also the game is ridiculously short. With only eight levels compared to the original 10, “Bioshock 2” is shorter and also feels more linear as a result.
This new trip to Rapture will take you from various diverse locations like a theme park of propaganda to a penal colony suspended above an ocean trench.
Players will also have encounters with the “Big Sisters,” which are essentially more agile and thereby more threatening Big Daddies.
Since all of these encounters are scripted, they basically boil down to a glorified boss battle, and it would have been better if these tense encounters were more random.
There is also a multiplayer mode, which does feel tacked on, but surprisingly works thanks to mixing the latest multiplayer trends with the unique quirks of Rapture.
Rapture has returned, but it never truly recaptures the spirit of the original. That being said, it is a very enjoyable game that is definitely worth the time.