There’s a brief firefight, and the unfortunate Charles is bashed off the edge by Booker before the preacher flees on an overhead set of rails called the ‘skyline’. Booker drinks from an abandoned bottle marked ‘Murder of Crows’ to gain the power used by the preacher, setting up the one-two punch combat familiar to the series. This time around, the powers seem less like a fistful of lightning and more like a screenful. They are more sensory weapons as well, seeming to change the whole tenor of a scene visually and aurally – though whether this is simply inspired art direction or a key part of their utility is unclear. The promise of BioShock’s weapon set was one of experimentation, one that was never truly realised unless the player forced it. What the concept could do in this huge play area with destructible, floating buildings is a mouthwatering proposition.
DeWitt soon finds his way to a bar, and a fight – but one that only begins after the patrons have considered him for a few tense moments, which is a subtle touch. He shows off another power, levitating a shotgun from an assailant’s grip, turning it around in the air and blasting the man’s face, before pulling the gun into his own hands. The fight spills outside, Elizabeth turns up, you fry the remainder in an electric storm aided by the lady, who’s exhausted from her effort, and then the big man shows up.
The Big Daddy figure this time around is currently referred to as the ‘alpha’ or ‘handyman’. The porcelain fingers of his giant hand are a terrifying replacement for the Big Daddy’s more straightforward drill, and where there should be a face there’s instead what looks like a heart, fed by or feeding metal tubes that suspend it in space. The dysmorphia and weird combo of biology and rivets is bad enough; the intelligence implied by sadism and the intricate animation is terrifying.