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BioShock 2 multiplayer

By Aylon Herbet

When the first BioShock came out, it was praised as a fantastic single-player experience that did not require a multiplayer mode. Fast forward two years and we have a sequel... with multiplayer mode. So how did the unneeded (and in some cases, unwanted) multiplayer turn out? Surprisingly well, actually. While this may not be the game that will take people away from Modern Warfare's online carnage it still is something worth checking out, and is not the tacked-on multiplayer most were expecting.

What makes BioShock 2's multiplayer stand out the most is its story... you read that right, story. While obviously not as in-depth as the single-player, the multiplayer acts as a prequel to the original BioShock, and tells a bit about how Rapture turned into the city it now resembles. To facilitate this, every player gets their own apartment, which acts as a sort of hub. From here you can customise your character's looks, weapon load-outs and powers; listen to tape recorded messages that unlock as you level up, as well as other things that give a bit more depth to the killing in your online games.

You play as one of six characters (this is mostly for cosmetic reasons as they all play the same) each with their own little story, being that you are a volunteer for Sinclair Solutions and are helping to fight the war in Rapture whilst testing out new plasmids. The story isn't particularly deep but it adds an interesting layer to the multiplayer if you are looking for it. I hope more games learn from this and try to do a similar thing. I know most people who play multiplayer shooters probably do not care for a story, but for people like me it is great because I get the best of both worlds; a fun online multiplayer and some narrative behind it.

As for the multiplayer itself, it plays similarly to the single player. You gain access to both weapons and plasmid powers at the same time and it is all about using them strategically. This does help the multiplayer stand out a bit from other titles currently out; however, in game it is still mostly carnage. It actually reminded me of more old school online shooters like Half-Life or Unreal Tournament back in the day. It does not have the slick polish found in something like Modern Warfare but it is fun and in the end, what else do we want from our games?

As I mentioned earlier, you level up as you play; this opens up new weapons, upgrades, plasmids, tonics and other things. In this regard is feels very much like Modern Warfare except slightly less balanced, because plasmids and the different type of weapons can alter strategies so much that it can give higher level players an unfair advantage. It is not drastically unbalanced but there will be the odd game here or there where you will notice that you are out of your league.

There is a good variety of multiplayer modes and they are all fun in their own right. You won't see anything "original" here but they have their own spin on things like capture the flag, where the flag is a little sister.

Whenever you kill an enemy you can take a few seconds to take a picture with your research camera; this will give you a damage bonus against that player. There are also turrets and vending machines that you can hack to make things interesting. The best thing is finding a big daddy suit, which makes you one tough mother to kill. I do feel this can completely throw off the balance for some matches, but with that said, it is fun and fun will usually win over balance.

All these extra little touches add something special to BioShock 2's multiplayer to help it stand out a little. The graphics are a bit lacking compared to other games, and during some fights you won't know what on earth is going on, it is so chaotic. However, with all that said, at the most basic level, the multiplayer is fun and if you already have a copy of BioShock 2, it is certainly worth giving it a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised.