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BioShock 2’s multiplayer features eight plasmids. Most will be familiar from the single player game, but some are exclusive to multiplayer. The former have received slight modifications for balance purposes, so don’t be surprised when they don’t quite work the way you’re familiar with. Plasmids play a large part in BioShock 2’s multiplayer, so getting used to their functions and tactics will help improve your play significantly.
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Aero Dash, exclusive to multiplayer, is unlocked at rank 4. Using it gives you a quick boost of speed, and hitting an enemy with it will throw them back and cause damage. It’s great for closing the gap if you’re using a short ranged weapon, and Aero Dash can be used as a weapon in its own right to knock enemies off of high ledges, causing serious damage.
It can also be used to sneak up on enemies from a distance, and can be used defensively to make a quick escape. Just make sure to aim carefully first, or you might throw yourself into a hazard. This is a versatile plasmid, so try to make use of it in a variety of situations.
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Electro Bolt is available to you from the start, and it’s fairly similar to it’s single player version. It doesn’t do much damage (unless the target is in water) but it prevents the target from moving or using weapons for a short time. They can, however, still use plasmids, so be careful.
Electro Bolt can be charged for greater damage and a longer stun, and it’s most useful in this form. Using your melee attack on a stunned enemy is a one hit kill, so a longer stun will help you close in and finish your enemy off.
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Unlocked at rank 8, Geyser Trap is similar to single player’s Cyclone Trap, but with a few differences. Most notably, the user of the plasmid can use the traps to launch themselves in the air, but without suffering damage. This allows for evasive action and extra mobility as much as it opens up offensive options.
Traps work best if kept out of sight, so just around corners, behind doors and in water (where it will be disguised) are your best options. Also note that traps can be charged up with other plasmids. For example, using Electro Bolt on a trap will cause it to stun an enemy and deal more damage, so try to charge your traps whenever possible.
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The Houdini Plasmid, unlocked at rank 16, allows you to temporarily turn invisible, basically just like the Houdini splicers from the single player game. Disappearing and reappearing creates a noticeable visual effect, you can’t do anything besides move will using it, and your EVE will be drained as you do. Also, keep in mind that invisibility doesn’t equal invulnerability, so watch out for stray bullets.
The most obvious uses for this plasmid are in stealth based attacks and quick escapes from ugly situations. However, it’s also great for modes where you need to capture locations, because you can reach them with ease, and sometimes it’s just useful for distracting enemy players while your teammates get a job done.
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You’ll start with Incinerate, and as the name implies you’ll be using it to set people on fire. Targeted enemies of course take damage, but they also get faster so be mindful when you use it. Fire spreads to whoever it touches, so its great to use on clumps of enemies. Incinerate can be charged for greater effect, so try to do so whenever possible. Don’t bother using it near water though, because enemies will be able to douse themselves.
Incinerate also has defensive capabilities. Allies or turrets that have been frozen with Winter Blast can be thawed out with Incinerate, so keep this in mind if an enemy with that plasmid is giving your team trouble.
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This is the last plasmid you’ll unlock, at rank 20. The single player version shoots out bees that quickly swarm the target, but the multiplayer version’s bees move slower and in a straight line. That means you’ll have to be a little more careful with your aiming. When you do hit, the bees will do damage over time and will significantly blur your opponent’s vision.
The damage dealt is only minor, so you’ll want to take full advantage of your opponent’s vision problems. To get the most out of this plasmid you’ll have to play very offensively; follow its use up with another attack while your opponent is distracted and you’ll find that Insect Swarm can often give you the upper hand in battles.
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Telekinesis, unlocked at rank 12, works pretty much the same as it does in single player, although holding onto an object will drain your EVE over time. The number of potential uses for it is varied. Defensively, you can grab large objects to give yourself a shield, and on offence you can chuck all sorts of things at your opponent. Large items, most notably exploding barrels, can get you kills, while smaller items will stun enemies long enough for you to move in and attack.
Perhaps most useful is the ability to catch and throw grenades. This is useful against enemies with grenade launchers, but it also gives you a great weapon against the overwhelming attack of a Big Daddy. This is a very situational plasmid, so try to put yourself into a position to take advantage of it.
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You’ll start with Winter Blast, and unlike in single player you can’t use it to freeze enemies outright. Instead you’ll slow both their movement and attacks down, and leave them open to being shattered from a melee attack or an Aero Dash. It can be charged to increase its potency, and again, it’s best to make use of this when possible. It’s great for stopping enemies who are trying to close to on you, and if they’re up close then a Winter Blast-melee combo is extremely effective.
Much like Incinerate, Winter Blast also has defensive uses. You can put out fires on friendly players and turrets (and freeze enemy turrets for hacking purposes), along with any other fires that are troubling you. You can freeze doors, making them open slower, as well as vending machines you suspect are trapped, ruining the trap if it’s present. It’s versatile, so take advantage of it.