BioShock 2

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BioShock 2 Cover 2788.jpg

In February 2010, 2K Marin released a sequel set eight years after the end of the first BioShock. In this game, the player is the Super Prototype Big Daddy "Subject Delta". Delta wields plasmid abilities and some nifty new tools as he attempts to track down Eleanor, the Little Sister with whom he was originally bonded. There's a new, very dangerous enemy called the Big Sister, and another romp through Rapture, now run by Andrew Ryan's collectivist foil Dr. Sofia Lamb. All accompanied by another Viral Marketing campaign. Followed by BioShock Infinite.

BioShock 2 includes a multiplayer section, where players take control of Splicers during the war and compete in games like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. Winning these games rewards the player with ADAM which is used to buy new weapons and plasmids. Players also got an apartment, where they can change the appearance of their Splicer.

In August 2010, 2K released two DLCs for BioShock 2: The Protector Trials and Minerva's Den. In The Protector Trials Tenenbaum activates another Alpha Series Big Daddy and asks him to save several Little Sisters from Sofia Lamb. Minerva's Den follows another prototype Big Daddy "Subject Sigma", who is tasked with obtaining a copy of Rapture's computer mainframe, called The Thinker, by one of its creators Charles Milton Porter. The latter is an actual story, while the former was a series of challenges with limitations, like using only certain weapons or plasmids.

Tropes used in BioShock 2 include:
  • Action Girl: Eleanor Lamb will eventually join you as a Big Sister, though it just means putting on a suit, not a permanent process like making Big Daddies is. She is awesome.
  • All There In The ARG: Didn't follow "Something In The Sea?" Then you have no real concept of a) who Mark Meltzer is, b) why you should care, or c) why he was awesome enough for fans to demand he appear in BioShock (series) 2.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Ryan Amusements. Already a nightmarish propaganda tool, by the time you visit it in BioShock (series) 2, it's just another urban battlefield strewn with lurking Splicers and automated gun turrets.
  • Art Shift: In the original, the Splicers' character models are a little messed up but still seem human. The sequel takes place about a decade after the original, so the Splicers have been mutating even further for years, and many are half-feral by this point. As a result their character models are much more exaggerated, with giant tumors bulging out of their clothes, and even hooves and talons on some of them. Meanwhile, the Little Sisters were changed from their Creepy Child models to ones that evoke our paternal instincts better - there's even a difference in their reactions to being saved. The Little Sisters in the first game near-tearfully thank you, but the ones in the second act as if nothing much happened.
    • Although this could be because in the second game you play as a Big Daddy, so they may be already used to this kind of treatment, but from a humanoid figure, they maybe more thankful for your kindness for rescuing them when it's not actually necessary.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Augustus Sinclair is eventually captured by Lamb's band and is forcibly converted into an Alpha Series Big Daddy. He has no control over his body due to mind control plasmids and barely has control over his speech. His final request of you is to kill him, and offers suggestions on how to about it.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Fans wanted to see Mark Meltzer's story come to a definite conclusion, so 2k Games put Mark Meltzer in the game as a Big Daddy you have to kill. Turns out, Mark wanted to be with his daughter under any conditions. This discovery put many of the followers of BioShock (series) 2's ARG into bad moods.
    • You don't have to kill him. There are several other Big Daddies around. Although if you don't, he will most likely die when Fontaine Futuristics and Persephone fall to the bottom of the trench after Sofia Lamb destroyed the anchors that held buildings in place.
  • Bittersweet Ending: One of the endings where Subject Delta denies Eleanor the right to extract his ADAM after compromises had to be made in saving the Little Sisters, resulting in Eleanor being spared the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds fate but now left as an orphan.
    • A smaller example for Mark Meltzer, assuming you're rescuing the Little Sisters: he gets turned into a Big Daddy and ultimately dies at your hand, but Cindy is safe.
  • Book Ends: The game ends outside the lighthouse where the first game begins.
  • Can't Live Without You: The Alpha Model Big Daddies (including the Player Character of the sequel) will either go in a coma or die if they're too far away from their Little Sisters.
    • They later clarify that most of the Alpha Series died or fell into a coma; some did survive, but were driven insane, filled with such homicidal rage and despair that they're barely useful to their creators as footsoldiers.
  • Captain Obvious: Lampshaded when Stanley recruits your help to bury evidence of his own actions.

Sinclair: I'd say he's hiding something but he sorta took the fun out of that one.


Eleanor: "If Utopia is not a place, but a people, then we must choose carefully, for the world is about to change, and in our story, Rapture was just the beginning."

  • Environmental Symbolism: The vista of 2's ending varies depending on your moral choices during the game. The best ending shows a lighthouse under a stunning sunrise, a more ambiguous ending has a tiny glimmer of sunlight surrounded by a darkening sky, while if you were a real bastard it's a bloody hurricane up there.
  • Evil Counterpart: Inverted. Augustus Sinclair is still an improvement over Frank Fontaine.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The basis of Sofia Lamb's philosophy: that free will and self-awareness are the root of evil, and that only by "killing the self" can one achieve peace. This leads her to create a cult.
  • Firing One-Handed: How Delta uses all his weapons.
  • Flawed Prototype: The Alpha Series can only be bonded to a particular Little Sister, and initially had a penchant for wandering away from them. This resulted in the formation of a permanent bond, so that if that Little Sister is lost, the Alpha unit either is rendered comatose, becomes morose, or flips out.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: The Drill Dash. See that Leadhead Splicer halfway across the room? * SCREEECH SMASH* Now he's dead.
  • Foil: Sofia Lamb, who believes in original sin, the impotence of human reason, as well as altruism, is literally the opposite of an Objectivist like Andrew Ryan. Some of the audio diaries in the contain snippets of debates between them, an interesting look at two diametrically-opposed forces colliding on stage.
  • Gatling Good: In 2, the Tommy Gun is discarded in favor for a minigun you carry one-handed. Meet your new best friend.
  • Guide Dang It: The sequel's achievement "9-Irony", it doesn't help that its also secret.
  • Give My Regards in the Next World:

Danny Wilkins: Tell your sister I said "Hi!"

  • Gone Horribly Right: The Alpha Series Big Daddies. The scientists tried to create a bond where the Big Daddies viewed the Little Sisters as their own daughters. It worked - they just didn't factor in the implications of what happens when a father is forced to watch his own daughter get killed in front of him. The Daddies would break down and sob in front of the Sisters' crawlspace entrances, and become only suitable as berserk soldiers. That's why the Big Daddies we see in the game are more of Punch Clock Bodyguards, so that if the Little Sister dies they only lose one asset instead of two.
  • Good Is Not Nice: "Semi-Good" Delta. He won't kill innocent (or even not quite innocent) people unless they truly cross the line, but if he has to harvest Little Sisters in order to get the power needed to save his daughter, so be it.
    • This of course depends on what gameplay choices you make, which are a little more open-ended than in the first game. Delta might choose to save all of the Little Sisters he finds instead of harvesting them. However, given that a complaint about the first game was that you could eventually buy most plasmid upgrades once you built up enough Adam, the sequel makes it impossible to afford all of the plasmid upgrades if you save every single Little Sister, making it a much more tempting choice to harvest them. Further, Delta can choose to actually kill the "not quite innocent" characters he comes across, who are more flawed gray-and-gray morality than actually "evil" people.
  • Harpoon Gun: The Spear Gun.
  • Heel Face Turn: If you spare Grace Holloway's life, she starts helping you behind Sofia's back.
  • Heel Realization: Again, Grace Holloway, if you choose to spare her.

Grace Holloway: You had me under a gun, and you just walk away? No monster alive turns the other cheek. Ha, no monster does that. (horrified) ...a thinking man does that.

  • Hellhole Prison: Persephone, where many of the inmates were used as test subjects or committed suicide in desperation and sadness after being locked in a tiny prison cell, constantly isolated minus feeding times, with very little to eat. Their crime was speaking out against Ryan, who constantly promotes freedom and minimal government interference in his speeches.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The first Big Sister fight is impossible to win, though she'll retreat after you're critically low on health.
  • Human Sacrifice: This is what Sofia has in mind for her daughter.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: 2‘s spear gun allows you to do this to your enemies, and it is both quite satisfying and efficient, since you can retrieve the spears and reuse them. If that's not enough, you can have the instrument of impalement gleefully propel your victim around the room, then explode - Rocket spears are your ammunition of choice.
  • Inappropriate Hunger: If you Incinerate! a splicer while carrying a Little Sister, she asks for marshmallows.
  • Instrumentality: Sofia Lamb's ultimate goal, by forcefully injecting the combined memories and intelligence of everyone in Rapture - via the ADAM they used - into her daughter Eleanor, then conditioning her to act only "for the greater good".
  • Ironic Echo: Not the best example, but the speech Eleanor makes for each ending are very similar. Just an inflection difference in two cases.
    • Also the Ryan Amusements. All government activities that are mocked in the main ride (indoctrination, suppression of rights, market control [Fontaine rose to power thanks to smuggling], youth indoctrination etc.) are actually endorsed by Ryan.
  • Jerk Jock: Danny Wilkins in the BioShock (series) 2 multiplayer. Also subverted to an extent with Pigskin, the young football player Splicer, who is the most sympathetic enemy model since he doesn't want to kill you, but his boss will kill him if he doesn't.
  • Karma Houdini: In the "best" ending, Eleanor spares Sofia Lamb's life, believing from what Delta has taught her through his actions that anyone can be redeemed and that mercy is more important than vengeance.
    • Also Stanley Poole who, despite being a mass-murderer could have been be spared by Delta. Of course, he was still stuck in the underwater city infested with homicidal mutants.
  • Karmic Death: Sofia Lamb (possibly) ends up drowning inside the escape pod she was trying to blow up in her attempt to stop Delta and Eleanor. Also Subject Delta, in the bad ending.
    • Alternatively to Karma Houdini above, if you save all the Little Sisters but kill any of the three NPCs, you get the Justice Ending where Eleanor gives Sofia Lamb a well-deserved death for all the evil she has done to not only you and her, but also to other innocent lives. Probably a much more preferred ending to any player who believes in good and loathes Sofia a lot.
  • Lite Creme: There are various posters for "Beef•e" potted meat, proudly advertising "The taste you remember!" Judging from a Dummied Out audio diary from the first game, it isn't real beef.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Subverted. Big Sisters announce their (incoming) presence with metallic screeching, causing the surrounding structure to rumble, but it's not a weapon, thankfully for you.
  • Meet the New Boss: Lamb and Ryan may have had diametrically opposed ideologies, but they both take it to such extremes that both of them effectively become the same person in methods. Ryan doesn't care about his underlings individually because "look out for number one" is his motto, and Lamb takes the "collective good" so far that to her, one person's life is meaningless.
  • Messianic Archetype: Eleanor Lamb is raised to be the perfect creature who is Too Good for This Sinful Earth and so she can be a Human Sacrifice in order to bring Instrumentality and deliver us from our flawed human condition - especially The Evils of Free Will.
  • Mind Screw: The unstable teleport plasmid journey.
  • Mole in Charge: Sofia Lamb put Stanley Poole in control of Dionysus Park, her sanctum. He was Andrew Ryan's spy all along.
  • More Dakka: Compared to its predecessor BioShock (series) 2 definitely enjoys and employs this with both its weapons and plasmids, especially since you're using both at once.
    • There's the option of summoning two security bots, hypnotizing a Leadhead Splicer or Alpha Series, and laying out mini turrets while firing away with your own Gatling Gun all at once to create a hailstorm of bullets (hacked turrets and security bots summoned by hacked security cameras also possible), playing this trope rather straight and proving rather effective.
  • My Beloved Smother: Probably the mildest example of Sofia Lamb's style of parenting would be keeping her daughter all but a prisoner in her home to keep her from the "dog-eaters" outside.
    • Sofia also literally smothers Elanor near the end.
  • Nerf: Quite a few of the weapons and plasmids were rebalanced/depowered in the transition between BioShock (series) 1 and BioShock (series) 2, probably for multiplayer purposes or on account of the new dual-wielding gameplay.
  • Obvious Beta: BioShock (series) 2's PC version has many minor bugs, and most of the patches go to the multiplayer. Hint: Don't go to the 2K Forums if you don't have a flame-retardant suit on. Although Elizabeth is strictly protective against it.
  • The Pollyanna: When Eleanor Lamb inserts your mind into a Little Sister temporarily so she can help save your life and you get to see how Little Sisters see Rapture, everything being bright and colorful.
    • The Trope Namer Pollyanna was written by Eleanor Porter. Coincidence? This combined with Charles Milton Porter of Minerva's Den.
  • Put on a Bus: Tenenbaum. Almost literally, since she hops on an underwater train and disappears from the plot. Minerva's Den shows that she left to help get the Thinker, a computer capable of curing the splicers out of Minerva's Den.
  • Retcon: The second game is naturally built on this, as it delves further into the history of Rapture. (Primarly via Revision.) Particularly obvious examples include the introductions of Sofia Lamb and the Alpha series.
  • Psycho Prototype: The Alpha-series Big Daddies. All except Subject Delta went bonkers after losing their bonded Little Sister, making them quite effective as soldiers but not suited for anything else.
  • Redemption Equals Death : If Subject Delta was evil, but displayed compassion toward others later on, he can choose to knock away Eleanor's syringe when she attempts to absorb him just before his death, causing Eleanor to realize that her "father" would rather die than have her follow down the same path he did.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Turns out, Sofia Lamb was out of the picture by the time Atlas was picking up steam, but still a forefront in the "Maybe Ryan's not right" train of thought.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Played totally straight with the damage upgrade to 2's shotgun, which literally says sawing off the barrel makes it deal more damage. Precisely why the developers think long-barreled shotguns actually exist is anyone's guess.
  • Scare'Em Straight: The purpose of the "Journey to the Surface" ride in Ryan Amusements is to convince Rapture's youth that all that waits for them up there are authority figures ready to reach down and steal their stuff, quash their ambitions, or drag them off to war. Ryan's a bit iffy about the creepy animatronics, but...

Ryan: I spoke to a young man exiting the park after the grand opening, asking him what, if anything, he had learned here. He said his chores didn't seem so bad anymore - as long as mother wouldn't send him to the surface.

  • Sequel Escalation: An interesting case - the story is equally good, with a villain based on opposite ideals to Ryan, but the combat is Up to Eleven by comparison.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Mark Meltzer's tale, provided that you harvest the Little Sister his daughter Cindy has become.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Jack's status by the second game. As a nod to the multiple endings, Splicers argue over the specifics of his adventure in Rapture, while one sect views him as a Messianic figure who freed them from the tyranny of Andrew Ryan, and who will return someday.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The multiple endings of BioShock (series) 2 run the gamut very nicely, with the best ending on the idealism side and getting further down the scale as you go. Eleanor's monologues that accompany each ending especially.
  • Spirit Advisor: Subject Delta to Eleanor in the good ending. And the rest, except the one when he refuses to advise her.
  • There Are No Therapists: Actually, Ryan originally invited Sofia Lamb to help people deal with living so far from sunlight, but it didn't go well. It didn't help that the therapist was just as crazy as her patients.
  • Took a Level in Badass: For most of the second game, Eleanor is set up as the Damsel in Distress. However, that all changes once she gets her hands on Big Sister armor...
    • Actually it was her who orchestrated the Delta's resurrection and helped him along his way using her telepathic bond with Little Sisters.
    • Pretty much everyone in Rapture is far more badass than in the first game, enemies included. The creators themselves said that Jack wouldn't have survived Rapture this time around.
  • Understatement: In an audio diary from the sequel, Ryan admits that "I...visited Eve's Garden ended poorly." Translation: I just murdered my mistress.
  • The Unfought: Despite everything that Sofia Lamb does during the course of the sequel, you never fight her. Her fate is ultimately decided by Eleanor, following your example on dealing with defenseless enemies.
  • Universal Ammunition: BioShock (series) 2 features the world's first .50 BMG Thompson, so that it could share ammo with the Big Daddy's huge gatling gun.
  • Unseen Prototype: The name Subject Delta implies that there were three before you, and they... well, we don't talk about them.
    • However, an audio diary from Gil Alexander cites Delta as the first successful Alpha Series, so you can probably guess what happened to the first three on your own.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Sophia to Elanor.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Neutral ending of 2 turns Delta into this - he did what he had to to save Elanor, including sacrificing himself so she wouldn't follow his example.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Tenenbaum disappears early in the game without a word. Minerva's Den explains where she went, though there was/is a bit of a gap between her disappearance and the DLC. Also, no explanation is given to what happens to the NPCs Delta spare.

The Protector Trials and Minerva’s Den DLCs contains examples of these tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Surprisingly subverted with The Thinker, although a major plot point is it gaining self-consciousness and free will. This also results in it gaining emotions such as loyality, and passion. Thus resulting in one of the few positive examples of this trope.
  • Book Ends: The game ends with the viewpoint character getting into a bathysphere - just like at the beginning of the first game.
  • Faking the Dead: In a sense, The Thinker to Porter.
  • Fun with Acronyms: In Minerva's Den, we are introduced to Rapture's Master Computer, the Rapture Operational Data Interpreter Network, nicknamed "The Thinker". If you notice what the acronym spells, the nickname starts making more sense...
  • Instant AI, Just Add Water: The Thinker.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: An audio log in the Minerva's Den missions reveals that people in Rapture have begun using plasmids to change their race, as Porter recalls a businessman suggest he splice himself white to get ahead. May or may not explain why there's so few characters who aren't of Anglo or Russian descent.
  • Replacement Goldfish: It becomes clear that C. M. Porter attempted to make The Thinker simulate his dead wife. The last audio diary confirms he succeeded, but he was so creeped out by it (finally realizing that it wasn't and would never be her) that he quickly shut down the simulation.
  • Twist Ending: In the beginning of level, C.M. Porter gives Subject Sigma directions in the game, but after you beat the final boss it is revealed that Sigma is C.M. Porter and the "C.M. Porter" who was giving him directions is "The Thinker" imitating Porter's voice and personality.
  • Wham! Line:

The Thinker: Mainframe reactivated. Confirming user's identity: genetic identity confirmed. Alpha series: Subject Sigma. Former identity: Charles Milton Porter.

  • Xanatos Gambit: The Thinker plans pretty much all the events of the game, manipulating the main character and the villain, however, it does this to save Porter. Which makes it a positive example of this trope