Blast from the Past
Who's the Daddy?
The Past Bioshock is my favourite game, give or take the occasional Oblivion. So, back in ‘09 when 2’s Sea of Dreams trailer came out, with the big Little Sister staring wistfully out to sea clutching a Big Daddy doll I pretty much lost it. I drove fellow PW reviewer TheMorty insane with all my theories about what that teaser promised. One thing I was sure about, it was gonna be great.
And it was. The exploration of Rapture as a Big Daddy trying to save your little sister was amazing. I loved it. And then TheMorty spoiled it. He wasn’t even that big a fan of the original, the idiot, but BS2 he really took to task. He kept pointing out disappointments and flaws, especially around what that trailer promised but didn’t deliver, until I came around to his way of thinking, like a Splicer falling for Ryan’s rhetoric. But I’ve started to wonder if TheMorty was right. Time to be Mister Bubbles again and make TheMorty my Little Sister. Wait, not sure that’s right…
Still A Blast?
It’s 1958, before Atlas’ New Year's attack plunges the underwater utopia of Rapture into civil war. I’m Delta, a happy daddy trailing after little sister Eleanor. But mum’s unhappy - Sofia Lamb takes back Eleanor while forcing Delta to commit suicide.
In the decade that follows, Sofia’s philosophy that humanity must 'escape the self’ clashes with Ryan’s belief in free-will. Now he’s out the way, Sofia takes control of Rapture, turning those who are left into The Family, dedicated to creating a true ‘utopian’, someone who could transcend the self; Eleanor. Well, let’s see what Daddy has to say about that.
Due to his conditioning, a resurrected Delta is driven to protect Eleanor, so I begin stomping to the other side of Rapture with just The Family between me and my Darling child. It does work as a narrative, but, with TheMorty’s words ringing in my ears, I have to accept being a Big Daddy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
We don’t have any great strengths as a huge, hulking, armoured beast. We’re as easy to put down as one of the wiry Splicers. We should be a real challenge to go up against, but Splicers come at me like I’m just some bloke with a wrench. In BO1 you rarely saw a Big Daddy bested, the game went to great lengths to make them formidable. Here, I don’t deserve to be called Daddy.
What’s even more reality-shattering is I have plasmids. No other BD’s have plasmids, why am I so special? Other Alpha series' kinda display it, but it feels like a cheat; I get that a Bioshock game needs Plasmids, but it would have made more sense to make me a Splicer who’s come to their senses; maybe Eleanor’s real dad became one - that would have been cool. And while I’m dealing with my Daddy issues, how the hell is a Big Daddy using vending machines? How does he even eat a pack of Potato Chips?
This is basically a reskin. Delta even has access to all the tonics. And that’s where it really gets watered down. Midway through I’ve unlocked a god-mode; I can regain health from standing in water, and there’s obviously a lot of that about. Chuck in a tonic where a health gain also regenerates Eve and you just need a puddle to stand in during fights. Tonics that make you resistant while also able to deflect mean Delta’s pretty much impossible to topple. Okay, so that makes me a Big Daddy but not in the way No Gods, Only Man intended.