Outside of the new ways to attack people, playing as a Big Daddy allows you to explore some of the world outside of Rapture. Where the first game featured a beautiful reveal of Rapture from the portal window of a bathysphere, the sequel allows you to see the entire city from a hill overlooking the entire place. It's a fantastic sequence and a worthy addition but the rest of the underwater segments, while beautiful, are painfully linear and tease something that could have been very cool. The real downside of these areas is that there's no combat or puzzle solving, rather they are just transitions between two areas. That said some of the underwater areas are used creatively so this is a relatively minor gripe.
From a plot and pacing perspective BioShock 2 is a slow starter. In a way the game is the inverse of its predecessor as the first game started strongly and finished weakly while BioShock 2 starts slowly and ends very strongly. The first few hours of the game feel eerily similar to the first game as the game mimics some of the same story structures and interactions as the first. Sure there's the near immediate introduction of the Big Sister's but a lot of the mechanics feel overly familiar and could turn some people off. It's not until you get past the midpoint of the game that it begins to pick up steam.
The game is littered with other slight but effective changes in the game. The get water from A to B hacking mini-game has been replaced with moving needle that you have to stop in a particular zone. Not only does this work a bit better in terms of flow of the game but it also allows you to go for hacking bonus's by landing the needed in a blue area. Hacking is now done remotely so you fire a dart before the new mini-game fires up. You can bypass this process all together by picking up autohacking darts which instantly allow you to hack a turret or security camera.
There are a few new game mechanics as well. As always the Little Sisters provide you with ADAM which is used to upgrade your abilities through tonics and new plasmids. You can also use the Little Sisters to harvest ADAM from various bodies around the game, allowing you to fulfill your role as Big Daddy. The hard part is that harvesting ADAM draws the attention of the Splicers in the area and you must defend the Little Sister until her task is complete. This is where things like the new turrets and proximity mines come into play as you have to think about the best way to defend the Little Sister from harm.
It's an interesting mechanic but it wears thin after about the third or fourth time you do it. What I ended up doing was using each sister to harvest one body and then sent her on her merry little way. Of course you don't have to do it you can just rescue the little sister by taking her to a vent but that decision is up to you.
After you've dealt with all the Little Sisters on a level you have to fight the regional Big Sister for some reason. That's right it doesn't matter if you've saved them or harvested them you still have to deal with her. I guess I could see having to fight one after harvesting all the Little Sisters but having to fight her after you've saved them seems a bit odd. The Big Sister fights are tough though and you really have to prepare yourself in order to fight her. I did find a way to cheat around the final fight as on some levels you could save the last Little Sister and then rush to the next level before the fight started. It's cheap but it did save me some time and effort.
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