Daily Grind: Bioshock 2 Multiplayer Impressions
Throughout this game’s development I’ve been pretty down on the idea of multiplayer Bioshock. It didn’t seem necessary or a good allocation of development resources. After having played it for a couple of hours, I have to say that for what it is, it’s pretty good. The game comes with all your standard modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Domination, and a Protect the Thingy mode I can’t think of a good name for. These are all dressed up in Bioshock clothes, so you are capturing Little Sisters and your team deathmatch is actually the civil war between Ryan and Atlus’s splicer armies. While most of the functionality is a pretty much of a clone of what the Modern Warfare series has done, there are enough little tweaks to make it seem somewhat unique.
When you first start the Multiplayer the game fires up a prologue that has you waking up immediately after the fateful 1959 new years party where Rapture’s society descended into chaos. You see a film of Andrew Ryan setting up the conflict, and then you are left in an apartment that serves as your multiplayer menu. You can use your closet to change clothes, use a Gene-Bank to alter your loadout, go outside to pick up a newspaper to see the leaderboard, etc. When ready to go find a game you go out to the local bathysphere terminal and head out for a match. You can do all these things just from a menu if this all sounds like unnecessary window dressing. You can also pick one of six player characters, these all have back stories and you unlock audio logs from them as you level up. I would never have thought so much attention would have been put into making all this make sense within the context of the universe, they probably didn't need to do any of this but it is all the better for it.
: Just die already!
Maybe I’m just too used to Modern Warfare’s deadly-ass weapons, but the guns in this all feel woefully underpowered. If you come across someone who doesn't know you are there, you can usually kill them before they know what happened in Modern Warfare 2, but in this they have enough life to spin round and fire quite a few shots back at you before dropping. You have to unload about 20 rounds from the machine gun into someone’s face before they die, it's like they are made of bullet absorbing sponge. I’m not convinced the pistol even does any damage at all when I use it, it might as well be firing staples for how effective it is.
: No Insta-Death
The other side of the bullet sponge coin is that you don’t die so many cheap deaths. It makes the game feel much more like an old fashioned Unreal Tournament style game than a Call of Duty, as everyone is just running around spraying ammo everywhere instead of spending most of the match cooped up in irritating sniper position killing everyone in one hit. The maps themselves also promote more close-quarter combat than anything I’ve played in a while. Most people I've played with are between levels 1-15 of 40, so there's a chance all this could change if the later weapons are all high powered sniper rifles.
: Mechanics Thievery
Hey, check it out, you can have two weapon slots (which can have mods), two plasmids slots and 3 tonics slots (perks). New things to put in these slots unlock at each level. You create a variety of different loadouts that you can switch between during a match for next time you respawn. There are also various challenges linked to various weapons or actions that will give bonus experience. It’s all kind of oddly familiar. I can understand it’s a good idea to go with what works, but it does feel perhaps a little too shameless in spots.
: The little touches
As I said at the beginning there a few little unique touches here and there to differentiate it, and these are usually very Bioshockish. An example of this is that you are able to ‘research’ the corpses of your enemies to get a damage bonus on that specific other player, which lasts until they manage to kill you. There also turrets to have around the map which you can hack to be on your side, if get up behind an enemie's turret you can hack it back to your side. You can also sabotage ammo/eve dispensers to explode on the next enemy who tries to use them which is similar to a mechanic from Bioshock 2’s single player.
Lastly in most of the modes there will be ways to become a big daddy. In the Capture the Little Sister mode one of you just randomly starts as a the Big Daddy for the round, in the deathmatch modes a Big Daddy suit spawns somewhere for the first who gets to it. While being the daddy is very powerful, it’s easy to see where the player who has it is if you want to avoid them. You also get a nice bonus for taking it down.
- No Insta-Death
- The little touches
: Just die already!
- Mechanics Thievery
If I were sitting down to play some competitive multiplayer, I would almost certainly end up playing Modern Warefare 2 over this, but that’s not to say this isn’t surprisingly solid, and not the offensively half-arsed addition I thought it was going to be.