main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Video Game: BioShock 2
Bomber Man's bigger, scarier cousin.
In February 2010, 2K Marin released a sequel set eight years after the end of BioShock 1. In this new 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 under the heel of Andrew Ryan's collectivist foil Dr. Sofia Lamb. All accompanied by another viral marketing campaign.

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.

While BioShock 2 was a critical and commercial success, some fans and critics felt that the game wasn't as good as the first game (it feels more like an Expansion Pack than a grander, expansive sequel...a very well made Expansion Pack).

The base game contains examples of these tropes:

  • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The introduction scene. Super effective against anyone immersing themselves in the perspective. Double that for male parents.
    • When you set the Little Sister in your care down to gather ADAM from a corpse, you usually can concentrate fully on the hordes of crazy lunatics charging at you since there is only very little chance that she will take any real damage. But when she screams for help, you will stop whatever you are doing or dealing with and instantly charge back to smash a giant drill through someones brain.
    • Imagine you were given the task of taking care of a group of small children while they're on a trip to an amusement park for a sleepover, to give their parents a reprieve while they celebrate the New Year. Now imagine that suddenly you hear mass fighting and explosions that are happening throughout the city, so much so that you and your children are accidentally locked in the amusement park with dwindling food and water for longer and longer periods of time - long enough that you are faced with the very real prospect of watching those children die of starvation while you suffer the same fate. This is what befell Nina Carnegie, and you find her audio diaries in Ryan Amusements, which tell you that she starved herself to death so the kids she was looking after would have more food.
    • The mere existence of Ryan Amusements. It's pretty grim to be anyone of any age down in Rapture, just short of being Andrew Ryan himself, but the "entertainment" there invokes the shadow of real-world attempts to indoctrinate children with adult political ideologies — or to foster fear and mistrust of the outside world to quash any will to escape. Even if they were cruelly duped, many of the adults in Rapture chose to come there; the children of Rapture made no such choice. (The Journey to the Surface ride plays on adult fears itself in-game, as well as scaring children; the threats posed by the "Parasite" include a nightmarish version of the draft where young children are torn from their parents and sent off to war.)
  • 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.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Ryan Amusements. Already a nightmarish propaganda tool, by the time you visit it, it's just another urban battlefield strewn with lurking Splicers and automated gun turrets.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Like the first game, you can find various recordings from the denizens of Rapture and what they did or think of their current situation.
  • Apocalypse Not: Sets in due to the use of Re Vision via Sofia Lamb's character. Remember how in the first game, Rapture often seemed just that close to being swallowed up by the ocean as the city fell to pieces around you? Well, this game is set eight years later, and not only is Rapture still intact (relatively speaking), but Lamb has also given it something close to a functioning society again.
    • An audio log explicitly lampshades that the Big Daddies automatically make basic structural repairs to the city, which were just enough for it to limp along half-wrecked but at least keep the ocean from totally flooding it.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Subject Omega, AKA Augustus Sinclair. 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.
  • Armored Villains, Unarmored Heroes: Inverted with Delta against splicers, and averted with Delta against Big Daddies and Big Sisters.
  • Art Evolution: Has much more improved models from the first game even having more individual models for the main characters. This would continue on into Infinite.
  • 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.
    • Could be handwaved by the fact that you're playing a Big Daddy. Big Daddies are by their nature protective (or at least are supposed to be). Humans hunt them down and kill them for ADAM, so naturally a human showing mercy is a lot more surprising.
      • The main reason the Little Sisters seem much more trusting when you save them in this game is because of the shared bond you and they have with Eleanor Lamb, causing them to think of you as a father the way she does.
  • Astral Projection: The Scout plasmid allows you to project yourself as a semi-corporeal (you can't pick anything up, but you can't pass through walls or doors) spirit for a decent distance. As a spirit, you can hack machines without risking attack (especially useful on cameras and turrets), though failing will shunt you back into your body. With Scout 2, you can even use other plasmids (though not weapons) as a spirit.
  • Badass Normal: Mark Meltzer. This man not only tracked down Rapture unaided, he Papa Bear'd his way through splicer hell without any plasmids and wielding nothing more than a pistol. The only reason he gets captured at the end is because he was distracted BY HIS DAUGHTER.
  • Bad Boss: Evelyn Klein, the Personnel Manager of Rapture Central Computing, was an absolute terror to work for; among other transgressions, she chewed out her employees for cross-department romances, not providing a new pair of alligator heels within the hour she requested them (her previous assistant having been fired for this), and upholstering her office chair in the wrong shade of lavender.
    • Sofia Lamb is a horrible person, who despite claiming to care for everyone in equal measure, has no qualms about killing scores of her followers if it serves her purpose. For example despite Siren Alley being filled with her followers, she floods it to prove "She isn't a tyrant vying for control of a dead mans dream." Even at the end she was perfectly willing to abandon Rapture, and its inhabitants to its fate, if it meant escaping.
  • 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 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.
  • Blown Across the Room: Solid Slug ammo for the shotgun has this effect on Splicers.
    • Rocket Spears are a less-traditional example, causing hit Splicers to rocket around while igniting anybody nearby before exploding.
  • Book Ends: The game ends outside the lighthouse where the first game begins.
    • More specifically, the game starts with Delta looking at his reflection with Eleanor by his side. In the best ending, the game finishes with Eleanor looking at her reflection with several Little Sisters beside her.
  • Boom, Headshot: Just like the first game, certain weapons do bonus headshot damage. The Headhunter tonic increases headshot damage with all weapons.
  • Boring but Practical: Though it's been nerfed significantly, Electro followed by melee will stunlock most things until you kill them, provided you can keep up on the EVE costs and stay fairly close. Tougher enemies like the Brutes and Big Daddies/Sisters recover fast enough to cause some damage, but not quite enough that it isn't worth the investment.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Several. There's a tougher Brute Splicer, a tougher Leadhead Splicer, a tougher Spider Splicer, and a tougher Alpha Big Daddy. All except the Spider Splicer also have a security drone and several mooks for backup. The Spider Splicer trades the drone for a Brute.
  • Call Back: the advertisement for Doc Hollcroft's Cure-All quotes one of the public announcement messages from the first game almost verbatim.
  • Can't Live Without You: The Alpha Model Big Daddies (including the Player Character) 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.
  • Capture the Flag: The sequel's multiplayer mode, "Capture the Sister".
  • Chain Lightning: The first upgrade for the Electro Bolt plasmid, which requires charging the bolt. The second upgrade makes every shot a chain shot.
  • Companion Cube: There is a gene tonic that automatically assigns names to hacked turrets and allows you to use EVE to repair them...which can potentially endear them to some players.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Eleanor Lamb is watching everything you do through your empathic link with her, even when you choose the evil path. And she wants to be just like Daddy.
  • Country Matters: The Brute Splicer has a potty mouth at times.
  • Crapsaccharine World: How the Little Sisters are conditioned to see Rapture, as an elegant, luxurious manor with pure white light shining through the windows, beautiful people in fine clothing socializing calmly, and Angels reposing on the ground awaiting your kisses. Especially jarring because of occasional lapses in which reality intrudes as you collect the items required for Eleanor's escape, and quite effective at reminding you after hours of getting used to it that you're still slogging through an undersea nightmare. Interestingly enough, the people standing around don't attack you while you're controlling the little sister like they normally would when one is gathering Adam from a dead body.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When you're getting ready to harvest Adam or fight a big sister, you can set up a lot of booby traps beforehand for the bad guys to fall into. Some areas are very defensible, allowing you to set up choke points and line the entrances with mines and rivet traps. And if the harvesting is in an area with hacked security drones/cameras, they will help you fight as well.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Drill Master Tonic limits you to the drill, hack dart gun, and camera. As mini-turret ammo for that gun isn't exactly plentiful, you're pretty much stuck with melee. In exchange, you get a huge cut in your plasmid costs, letting you spam them with reckless abandon. Certain plasmids and tonics can help cover your weaknesses, but in short it renders you a lot more vulnerable to ranged attacks.
  • Cruel Mercy: The good ending, when here Eleanor spares her mother. If you harvest the Little Sisters, yet spare the lives of the "guilty" who have been tormenting you, Eleanor says that this trope is exactly the reason why she chooses to spare Sofia Lamb's life, so that she'll grow old knowing that her own daughter rejected her.
    • Can be considered Stanley's fate. He's stuck in Splicer-infested territory with the only way out leaving, and he certainly can't take refuge in the booth anymore.
  • Cult: Lamb's "Family," complete absolute fealty to their leader, messianic figure, and suicidal "ascension" ceremonies.
  • Cute Bruiser: Eleanor Lamb, after you free her and she dons a Big Sister getup.
  • Cutscene Boss: Sofia Lamb
  • Cycle of Hurting: While your enemy can't actually do this, you can by using the drill. A revved up drill will stunlock most enemies it's being used on, letting you cause damage for as long as you have fuel for the drill.
  • Daddy's Girl: Eleanor to Subject Delta, much to Sofia's irritation.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: The buttons for Harvesting and Curing Little Sisters were swapped from the first game to the second game. This can lead to moments of frustration as well as loading all the way back to your last autosave if you're unlucky when you accidentally harvested (killed) a Little Sister you were meaning to cure. Or if you cured instead of harvested...
    • In the PC version, many of the default key bindings are different, partly to provide a way to cycle through both weapons and plasmids without the aid of a second mouse wheel. Especially infuriating was a severe bug (eventually fixed, but never acknowledged) that made the hacking minigame not work if certain keys were rebound, making the game effectively unplayable with custom key bindings and forcing everyone to use the defaults anyway.
    • Also in the PC version, the order of the weapons is different from BioShock 2 starting with the hack tool (since the hack tool is the third weapon available, the machine gun is accessed from the 4 key rather than the 3 key, and so on). This can be remedied by changing the key binds accordingly.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Sofia Lamb. Once she realizes Eleanor is helping Delta, she sits in the quarantine room with her and watches her every move. Later, she uses the Big Daddy's link to their Sisters to knock you out by smothering Eleanor. Immediately afterward, she straps you to a table, saying that if they kill you, you'll just go back to a Vita Chamber. Later, she tries to destroy the entire building to kill you regardless of the Vita Chambers , and then sabotages the ballast tanks on the escape boat to so that it can only handle enough weight that she can escape. Then when you're on the final leg of the run to the boat, she's got a huge stack of explosives waiting for you at the door.
    • To a lesser extent, the Leadhead Splicers. How do their small arms do so much damage to you, a hulking armored superhuman? They use the same heavy .50 cal ammunition that your giant machine gun does.
  • Darker and Edgier: It may seem impossible, but it's moreso than the first game, at least in some respects. One of the big examples is the difference in dealing with Little Sisters. In the first BioShock 1, harvesting the Sisters was murder of a child (a mutated and twisted child, but still), so you know-awful. In this game, the Sisters see you as their father/hero/protector. So when you harvest them, its not some cruel stranger. Its the one they're supposed to be closest to in the entire world. So, awful on top of terrible.
  • Defictionalization: NECA has replicas of the EVE Hypo and Big Daddy dolls, just in case your normal Little Sister wasn't creepy enough. They also have one for the "bunny" and "wielder" Splicer masks.
  • Deflector Shield: The level 3 upgrade for the drill, which activates when you spin it.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If Delta spares Grace's life before he's finished up with the Little Sisters, Grace will sing on the intercom as Delta's gathering ADAM from a corpse if he hasn't already reached the maximum capacity.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Big Sisters.
  • Door To Before: Ryan Amusements has a series of maintenance corridors with a few of these, including one at the very end with a master control to unlock all the service doors. Siren Alley has a malfunctioning door to the water pumping station, forcing you to trek a short distance around. It unlocks on your way out.
  • Dual Boss: There's a Climax Boss fight against two Big Sisters at the same time at the beginning of the final level.
  • Dual Wielding: Subject Delta can wield a Drill/BFG with one hand and shoot plasmids with the other. Justified on account of his enormous size and strength.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If you want the best ending, you'll have to be merciful throughout the game and spare not only the little sisters, but also Grace, Stanley, and Gil. Though the latter two don't help you directly, Grace starts to reconsider her opinion of you if you let her live, and even gives you two sentries to watch your back for a short while.
  • Easter Egg: The Unstable Teleport Plasmid.
    • Using the Incinerate plasmid in a block of ice in Dionysus Park reveals a cat called Schrodinger...
  • Electrified Bathtub: If you use shoot electricity into water, it will kill weaker mobs instantly, and stronger ones will suffer a lot of health damage, and probably require you to shoot into it again to kill them. This can be a very convenient way to kill multiple foes, especially if they jump into water to put out the fire you set on them prior.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Alex the Great's "secretary".
  • Elemental Powers: Of the standard fire, ice, lightning variety, same as in the last game, along with one wind-based plasmid. Genes can influence your resistances to said elements and also cause you to emit them when struck. And if you enjoy using the drill, you can become a full-on ice guy with the Freezing Drill gene.
  • Empathic Environment: In the Multiple Endings, the weather ranges from a violent storm (the worst ending) to a peaceful and warm sunset (the best ending).
  • The End of the Beginning: All the endings have this to some degree, but the tone varies on your moral actions.
  • Enemy Scan: The Research Camera now records video instead of pictures. You get points for using different attacks, so throwing everything you have at a target earns more points. Once the film has run out or you reach the next level, the camera cuts off and that subject can no longer be recorded (assuming it lived).
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Eleanor loves her father no matter how violent and ruthless she becomes at the end of the game.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: One of the abilities you can purchase allows you to send swarms of bees at your enemies. While the bees do gradually whittle away their health, it's mostly for crowd control and to prevent them from moving around too much so you can get some decent shots on them.
  • Evil Counterpart: Inverted. Augustus Sinclair is much like Frank Fontaine, but actually has a conscience.
    • The same applies to Gilbert Alexander to Yi Suchong; they're both in charge of the Big Daddy program, but Alexander is remorseful of his actions while Suchong never had such guilt.
    • Grace Holloway and Stanley Poole can be considered moral contrasts to each other, as well as the revelations shown over the course of their levels. Holloway is presented as a hostile collaborator to Sofia Lamb, but reading her audio diaries reveals she only wanted what's best for Eleanor. Meanwhile, Poole is presented as a somewhat friendly and trustworthy ally, but when dealing with the Big Daddies and Little Sisters, he sounds ruthless and Eleanor reveals the truth about Poole's cowardly and monstrous nature.
  • 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.
  • Finishing Stomp: The opening cutscene has a starting and finishing stomp. Delta's Dynamic Entry when he hears Eleanor in danger is to leap from a balcony and crush an unlucky Splicer under his giant boot.
  • Firing One-Handed: How Delta uses all his weapons.
    • You can, however, hold weapons with both hands to zoom in and fire more accurately. This, of course, prevents you from using plasmids.
  • 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.
  • Foil: Sofia Lamb, who believes in original sin, the impotence of human reason, as well as altruism, is the direct 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.
  • Friend to All Living Things: In Dionysus Park, Delta, despite the wide varieties of Plasmids and Weapons, cannot deal any damage to the fish that flop around the levels.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: The Little Sisters are pretty much invulnerable to every attack and are safe from area-of-effect explosions, so feel free to use explosive spells or weapons on anyone dumb enough to get too close to them. Averted if you decide to harvest them, for obvious reasons.
  • Gatling Good: Delta doesn't settle for a Tommy Gun; he goes for the minigun and carries it one-handed. Meet your new best friend. Splicers, however, do use the Tommy.
  • Genetic Memory: This property of ADAM, the reason behind the ghosts in the first game, plays a bigger role here. In one level, you're tasked with getting rid of the local Little Sisters so Sofia Lamb doesn't get their ADAM and discover potentially damaging information. Sofia Lamb's ultimate goal relies on this property of ADAM to turn a human into a Utopian, a being that would think only of the collective good without any sense of self.
  • Give My Regards in the Next World:
    Danny Wilkins: Tell your sister I said "Hi!"
  • Godzilla Threshold: Persephone prison is located over a deep ocean trench. In case of a severe breakout, the entire prison is rigged so that it can be dropped into the trench to prevent escape.
  • 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: Delta, though this is somewhat dependent on the player. He won't kill innocent (or even not quite innocent) people unless they truly cross the line, but if he feels he needs to harvest Little Sisters in order to get the power needed to save his daughter, so be it. The player doesn't have to, of course, but unlike the first game, you'll get significantly more ADAM from harvesting every Little Sister than you would from rescuing them. This makes harvesting them to buy upgrades very tempting, especially in the early game which is has quite a few upgrades to choose from which are not cheap. 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.
  • Graffiti of the Resistance: In an Evil vs. Evil example, Lamb's followers write anti-Andrew Ryan (the Big Bad of the previous game) graffiti all over the place (including in UV ink on the posters which came with the collecter's edition of the game). Despite being his ideological opposite, Lamb isn't any better (indeed, in some ways she's worse given Ryan couldn't kill his own son even though he was a Laser Guided Tyke Bomb sent to kill him, while Lamb was willing to use her daughter as a test subject).
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Like the first game, dead Splicers can be used as weapons against the living. If you get Telekinesis 3, though, even the living can be tossed. It still doesn't work on the bigger ones, though.
  • Guide Dang It: The achievement "9-Irony"; it doesn't help that it's also secret.
  • Hacking Minigame: In this game, it involves stopping a needle in the green or blue zones (for a bonus effect) on a meter. Red zones trigger an alarm, and white zones shock you. Certain tonics can increase the zone size or slow the needle, but it's a lot more forgiving than the pipe minigame used before. There's also hack darts which let you hack things from a distance, and auto-hack darts which let you bypass particularly difficult ones (at the cost of not getting the blue bonuses).
  • Harpoon Gun: The Spear Gun.
  • Heel-Face Turn:
    • If you spare Grace Holloway, she starts helping you behind Sofia's back.
    • Mooks hit by the level 2 Hypnotize spell will become your ally, rather than simply attacking both you and enemies. The level three version will turn the bigger ones to your side, such as the big daddy. It can be quite satisfying to watch them turn on their former buddies and deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to them.
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The Big Sister signals their presence with a high-pitched scream.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: The architect hired to build Ryan Amusements had a lot of ideas that he thought would delight children, but Ryan vetoed them all in favor of making the amusement park one big propaganda-fest preaching about the general awesomeness of Rapture and the terrible evils of the surface world. One of those evils? Authorities denying artists the chance to realize their own visions, and instead demanding that their work promote the authorities' political agenda...
    • Sofia Lamb is absurdly possessive for someone who preaches both collectivism and alturism, and goes not fanatical lengths to stop Delta. For example, she leaves the surface because, people were twisting HER collectivist ideas. The most notable point is when smothers Eleanor to sever the pair-bond, and kill Delta. Keep in mind their was a strong chance this would have killed Eleanor as well. However, she didn't care as she couldn't stand the notion of anyone else having influence over Eleanor; and would rather her to die, than have Eleanor be independent. She's a worse parent than Andrew Ryan.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The 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 marshmallowsnote .
  • 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 multiplayer mode. Also 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 all three 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.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • This game replaces the "Hypnotize Big Daddy" plasmid with just "Hypnotize". First you can make a splicer hostile to other splicers, then you can "befriend" it, then you can befriend other Big Daddies and brute splicers.
    • Big Daddies will attack anything that hurts them. You can take one down quickly by getting one to stand in between you and a Big Sisters.
  • Limited Loadout: Subjects Delta and Sigma still maintain a Hyperspace Arsenal of upgradable weapons, and the system of plasmid and tonic slots returns from the first game. Tonics, however, have been reworked slightly; the class-based restrictions from the first game have been removed, allowing the player to equip whatever they want as long as they have the space. There's also not enough Power to the People machines to upgrade your entire Hyperspace Arsenal. If you find them all, the equivalent of one whole weapon and a third of another will still be locked.
  • 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.
  • Lost Forever: The Scrounger Tonic can only be obtained by fully researching Thuggish Splicers. The problem is that Thuggish Splicers disappear from the game after Pauper's Drop (the same level where you get the Research Camera), so you have to get all the research done in that level. While there are more than enough Thuggish Splicers to do this, it's awkward to keep swapping back and forth, especially mid-battle where the distraction can cost 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: In-universe, this is the way Ryan's anti-establishment exhibits play out. The exhibit demonstrates an average facet of life, then the whole thing goes red and a giant hand starts messing up the place to demonstrate government meddling.
  • Money for Nothing: Much like the first game, you'll find yourself with a perpetually full wallet by the second or third level, depending on difficulty. As you equip tonics that reduce store prices and make you spend less EVE, not to mention upgrades to your health, EVE, damage and damage resistance, soon enough you simply won't need to buy as many medkits and EVE hypos to offset the amount of cash that is dropped by the splicer armies being sent at you.
  • More Dakka: Compared to its predecessor, BioShock 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 Eleanor near the end.
  • Nerf: Quite a few of the weapons and plasmids were rebalanced/depowered in the transition from the first game, probably for multiplayer purposes or on account of the new dual-wielding gameplay.
  • Obvious Beta: The PC version lacks the controller support of its predecessor, suffers from texture pop-in, and eats up 100% of the player's CPU even when idle, as well as various minor bugs (for example, for a long time it was impossible to rebind certain keys without breaking the hacking minigame). Most patches have focused on multiplayer, and one of them introduced a new bug that made Little Sisters unable to speak unless the Protector's Trials is downloaded and installed. On a lighter note, players who found the talking vending machines annoying in the first game will be glad to be rid of that.
    • Thankfully most of the above was ironed out in late 2013 when the PC version was switched over from Games for Windows Live to Steam. Controllers are now officially supported, texture pop in is typically only present when loading a level or save file for the first time and then there is no more afterwards, and many keys are rebindable. Unfortunately, though, the game's Direct X 10 mode is still very buggy, as the game is prone to crash randomly when played in that mode. Thankfully switching the game over to Direct X 9 (via a launch command) typically fixes this issue for most (and all that's lost are slightly better looking water and smoke effects). And the vending machines still don't talk.
  • Papa Wolf: Big Daddy's act like this towards the Little Sisters, attacking anyone attempting to harm them. You will likely act in this way too when said Little Sisters are harvesting Adam on your behalf. The first scream for help they let out when an enemy gets too close will probably cause you to drop whatever you're doing to shove some bullets, fire, or electricity into that bad guy's face.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Enemies fatally hit with a spear close to a wall will be impaled on it.
  • Pink Elephants: If you read through the help messages for the various food and drink, moonshine has the excellent endorsement of "Oh God, I'm seeing things!", courtesy of some nameless bar patron.
  • Player Punch: Having to Mercy Kill Sinclair as he's been captured and morphed into an Alpaha Series.
  • Playing with Fire: The Incinerate ability, and the upgraded rivet gun shoots heated rivets which can set foes on fire.
  • Playing The Player: In regards to Sinclair. The game sets them up with the games previous plot twist deeply entrenched in the players mind at all times with regards to the character. Many players thought Sinclair would betray them at the earliest possibility- Sinclair never even thinks about double-crossing Delta even once. This makes his eventual Mind Rape and your neccessary need to put him down a much stronger Player Punch.
  • The Pollyanna: When Eleanor Lamb inserts your mind into a Little Sister temporarily so she can help save your life, you get to see how Little Sisters see Rapture: as a bright and colorful paradise.
    • The Trope Namer Pollyanna was written by Eleanor Porter. Coincidence? This combined with Charles Milton Porter of Minerva's Den.
  • Pretty in Mink: One of the posters for plasmids goes for the Up Marketing route, showing an affluent couple, with the wife wearing a silver fox cape and petting its fur.
  • Protection Mission: ADAM gathers, where the player must protect a Little Sister from waves of Splicers while she gathers ADAM from a corpse.
  • Punch Clock Villain: A few splicers who you walk in on seem to be casually minding their own business and chatting with each other.
  • 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.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The game opens with Sofia Lamb forcing you to shoot yourself in the head by way of a Hypnotize Big Daddy Plasmid. Unfortunately for her, it doesn't take.
  • Psycho Prototype: The Alpha-series Big Daddies. Nearly all except Subject Delta went bonkers after losing their bonded Little Sister, making them quite effective as soldiers but not suited for anything else.
  • Retcon: The second game is naturally built on this, as it delves further into the history of Rapture. (Primarily via revision.) Particularly obvious examples include the introductions of Sofia Lamb and the Alpha series.
  • 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. Could be handwaved by Ryan's propensity to Un-Person any undesirables.
    • Pretty smart of her to stay out of Atlas's plot to finally eliminate Ryan, but it was also lucky that Jack later disposed of Atlas himself and never found out she existed.
  • Respawning Enemies: While the majority of the things you kill in an area will stay dead, there will always be a few splicers that come back to life if you leave an area. Big Daddies count, too, but they aren't immediately hostile and are a necessary gameplay mechanic. On the plus side, this allows you to max out research on the garden variety slicers and the Big Daddies early on, which can provide a decent advantage later.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The bare-bones pitch the game gives you is as follows: "You are a Big Daddy. Sofia Lamb took your Little Sister. They are on the other side of this underwater city, and there are hordes of splicers and machinery in the middle. Kill everything that gets in your way."
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Played totally straight with the damage upgrade to 2's shotgun.
  • 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: Subverted. It appears as though you've lost, when Sophia Lamb smothers Eleanor, as you will go into a coma when her heart stops. Naturally, you both survive long enough to escape.
    • 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.
  • Sigil Spam: Lamb and her followers put butterflies everywhere.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The multiple endings 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.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In the trailers, where you see Delta killing Splicers while 50's ballroom music is playing. Occasionally happens in-game too.
  • 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.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If you set up an ambush area, such as a narrow hallway, and load it up with rivet traps and proximity mines, whatever goes through there probably isn't going to make it far, whether it's a trash mob, or even a Big Daddy if you set enough explosives up.
  • Throw It In: "Something In The Sea" wasn't going to have an effect on the main game, but fans loved it so much that protagonist Mark Meltzer was given a minor role.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: After Lamb realizes that Delta is free from his mental conditioning:
    Lamb: I had thought you some golem of Sinclair, brought here to hold Rapture's arms as he rifles through her pockets. But no... you are aware of your plight. Who, I wonder, would be so cruel? To force a mirror on a man with no face...
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Drill's sustained fire mode (i.e., when used as an actual drill) can be this. Even upgraded to reduce fuel consumption, the entire fuel supply can be spent in about ten seconds. In return, a full tank is capable of killing literally any Splicer, the boss Splicers included, without them being able to retaliate at all. This, of course, assumes you can afford to sit still while drilling into your victim until they die.
    • The better alternative is just use it for Drill Dashing which does heavy damage, especially to shocked enemies, but doesn't drain your fuel as fast. You can potentially kill just about anything in the game by shocking them, drill dashing, backing up and repeating.
  • Took a Level in Badass: For most of the second game, Eleanor is trapped and only able to help you via proxies. However, that all changes once she gets her hands on Big Sister armor.
    • 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, which isn't hard to believe after you start getting accosted by shotgun and Tommy-packing Leadheads who also pitch grenades occasionally.
    • Ultimately, the player character, by comparison with Jack from the first game. Jack was a tough son of a bitch, no question about it...but he can't hold a candle to late-game Delta, who's firing continuous streams of fire and lightning with one hand while merrily hip-firing a massive gatling gun with the other.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe. Ryan thinks this of an animatronic version of himself built for Ryan's Amusements.
  • 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: Features the world's first .50 BMG Thompson, so that it could share ammo with the Big Daddy's huge gatling gun. Presumably, realizing that they were fighting a tougher foe than usual, the Splicers made sure they had bullets big enough to cut through his armor.
  • 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.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Whenever the player characters Subject Delta or Subject Sigma battle with production model Big Daddies.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You are given this option several times throughout the game. How you act towards them will determine what kind of ending you will get, so if you want to be a good guy, you have to be merciful and helpful rather than simply thinking of yourself all the time, specifically not harvesting the little sisters, and sparing the lives of Grace, Stanley, and Gil. How Eleanor will turn out will depend entirely on how you acted.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In addition to several opportunities to murder helpless targets, the plasmids in this game allow you to torture enemies in even more ways than in the first game. The Cyclone Trap can now be charged with other plasmids (once upgraded), the Level 3 elemental plasmids can fire continuous beams (watch those splicers flail under a stream of flame), Insect Swarm can turn dead enemies into hives which release more insects which keep doing it, etc. Meanwhile, you have guns that fire burning phosphorus, rocket-propelled spears, white-hot rivets...The possibilities are practically endless.
  • Violence Is the Only Option:
    • Typically anyone that attacks you is safe to put down. And you will have to attack the Big Daddy's protecting the Little Sisters since you need them to harvest Adam for you.
    • In some select cases, you can avert this trope. Generally, if they don't attack you, you can let them live, though some players may want to kill them due to the minions sent to attack them. The choice is up to you, and your decision will determine the ending you get, along with what you do with the Little Sisters.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Sofia exploits Eleanor's link with Subject Delta by suffocating her with a pillow, which incapacitates him.
  • Was Once a Man: This is true of pretty much everything you kill (and yourself, for that matter), but there's a particularly poignant example with a Big Daddy at Fontaine Futuristics. When you kill him to get to his Little Sister, there's a diary on the corpse. It's Mark Meltzer, and you just grabbed his daughter Cindy.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Neutral ending of 2 turns Delta into this - he did what he had to to save Eleanor, 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 spares.
    • When fans spoke up about the possibility of not knowing Mark Meltzer's fate after the events of "Something In The Sea," 2K added him to BioShock 2.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Gil Alexander. When given the choice, the player can either kill the creature Gil has become (thus going along with his final wish, according to his audio diaries), or simply let the creature live. As it turns out, letting the creature live is considered the "good" choice, though you can get away with murdering him on a good playthrough assuming you save or spare everyone else.
  • You Are Too Late: You miss the chance to save Mark Meltzer by mere seconds.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: You can invoke this by harvesting Little Sisters after you've had them harvest their quota of ADAM from corpses for you.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The three moral choices in the game (aside from rescuing/harvesting Little Sisters) all involve deciding the fate of a boss character who is incapable of harming you or even running. You just decide whether or not they're worth killing. The other bosses are either a Boss in Mook Clothing or a Cutscene Boss.

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 loyalty, and passion. Thus resulting in one of the few positive examples of this trope.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Wahl is so convinced in the accuracy of his predictive algorithm that he allows you into his formerly locked office solely because the algorithm said you would get in.
  • Book Ends: The game ends with the viewpoint character getting into a bathysphere - just like at the beginning of the first game.
  • Charge Attack: Burst Cells require you to hold down the trigger until the lens array on the Ion Laser glows, and pumps a full 50 units into it. It can reduce the health of a Big Daddy by nearly a quarter, however.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Even worse than the base game, since you don't necessarily grab weapons in the same order, depending on where you go first, requiring even more key binding just to not use the wrong weapon!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In one of the few positive endings of the series. While Porter has to shut down the Thinker, it's more then willing to allow him to. After which Porter manages to reach Tenambuam and together they escape Rapture (as by this point, neither Ryan nor Sofia are around to prevent them). They somehow manage to undo the Big Daddy modification and restore Porter to normal. Porter comes to terms with his wife's death, pays his last respects and moves on with his life.
  • Faking the Dead: In a sense, The Thinker to Porter.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Zig-Zagged with the Ion Laser. A sustained-fire laser weapon with instant travel time. However, the beam is visible.
  • Fun with Acronyms: 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...
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Given that Porter rejected Lamb's ideology, and the fact that Minerva's Den was cut off from Rapture. The Big Sisters shouldn't even be in Minerva's Den, but the game would be way too easy if they weren't.
  • Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Or more accurately, Just Add ADAM.
  • 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 (Porter is deeply annoyed by the idea). May or may not explain why there's so few characters who aren't of Anglo or Russian descent.
  • Karma Houdini: Sigma/Porter if he's a harvester.
  • Playing Both Sides: 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.
  • 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.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The Thinker predicts that if Sigma reaches the core, catastrophe will result, which occurs, but only due to Wahl's violent resistance to Sigma's actions. These actions which were precipitated by the prediction. If instead, they had invited Sigma in and let him take what was his (and was genetically locked and worthless to anyone else), he would have gotten his printout and his signal jammer and left in his bathysphere without costing anyone anything
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: You start off the same as you do in the main game (except with base telekinesis), but this time around you don't get a research camera and the big enemies like Spider Splicers and Brutes (who are immune to and cause fire damage) show up right away. The Lancer Daddies are also a lot tougher than the Daddies in the main game, and any time a Little Sister gathers you're almost guaranteed to see a Brute.
  • Sequence Breaking: It seems that players were supposed to leave the side paths along the hallway to Porter's office for the end of the first chapter, when they've found the Gravity Well plasmid. (One of them requires it to proceed.) However, only players with total, blind allegiance to the quest arrow would do this, meaning that everyone else will find and equip the upgraded spear gun before they ever find the standard one.
  • Twist Ending: After you kill Wahl, is revealed that Sigma is Charles Milton Porter and the voice that was giving him directions is the Thinker imitating Porter's voice and personality.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Burst Cells for the Ion Laser.
  • Wham Line:
    The Thinker: Mainframe reactivated. Confirming user's identity: genetic identity confirmed. Alpha series: Subject Sigma. Former identity: Charles Milton Porter.

BioShockMature RatingBioShock Infinite
Street Fighter IIICreator/Iron Galaxy StudiosDivekick
BioShock 1Diesel PunkNazi Zombies
BioShock 1UsefulNotes/Xbox 360 BioShock Infinite
BioShock 1Horror Video GamesBlackout
BioShock 1First-Person ShooterBioShock Infinite
BioShock 1UsefulNotes/IBM Personal ComputerBioShock Infinite
BioShock 1Science Fiction Video GamesBioShock Infinite
BioShock 1UsefulNotes/SteamBioShock Infinite
BioShockVideo Games of the 2010sBioShock Infinite

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy