I had the privledge of a private demo of Bioshock 2 in 2k's booth. The game was being demoed by lead creative designers of both the single and multiplayer features of the game. Read on for a first look at both gameplay modes in 2K's impressive sequel.
The singleplayer of Bioshock 2 takes place in Rapture, 10 years after the events of the original Bioshock. As an unusual twist for the game, you play the very first Big Daddy. You are fast and agile, but not as well armored as the others. Just like the Big Daddies in Bioshock, you can adopt a Little Sister and help her collect adam. Once she has gathered it you can either save her or kill her. While this is the same choice you had to make in the first Bioshock, the fact that you have to adopt this little sister first makes the choice much more heart wrenching.
The standard Big Daddy drill is present, but so are the plasmids and guns from the past games, as well as all new ones. Also important is the Big Sister, a sort of enemy and rival opposing your goals throughout the game. Her mystery will be answered as the gameplay progresses. This is all very cool, and the Big Sister looks like an insane, challenging, and crazy boss fight.
The multiplayer of Bioshock 2 was also impressive. Surprisingly, it's being developed by a different developer than the singleplayer. 2k Marin. Marin has set this multiplayer game in a different setting than the singleplayer. Rather than take place in Rapture's future, it takes place in the city's past. One year in the past to be precise, during the civil war before the events of Bioshock.
You play a citizen of rapture trying to compete in this civil war via the funding of the Sinclair Solutions company. Sinclair Solutions offers you money for your exploits in multiplayer then sells you weapons for that money for future useage. The things you unlock and collect are displayed in a hub appartment in the game, which you can wander at will anytime you enter the multiplayer mode.
The gameplay itself is very similar to Bioshock. You have the 3 elemental plasmids, guns, and gadgets you would expect in Bioshock. Environmental features such as turret guns and vending machines are present, and can be hacked. The hacking minigame however has been removed to keep the pace going in multiplayer. The plasmids are now offhand abilities, and do not require you to switch between them and your gun. They can also be charged up for different effects. Characters can be customized in appearance, but how much is still unknown.
There is a lot of detail in Bioshock 2, and the excellent environment and mood found in the first game seems to be in tact. The unique plot diredtion for both the single and multiplayer modes make for an interesting twist on the series. Bioshock 2 will be available on PS3, 360, and PC on November 3rd in North America and October 30th everywhere else (yes, it's launching in NA last). Rapture definitely seems to be worth a return trip.