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Big Sister & Little Sister

BioShock 2
by yo go re

We're not ashamed to admit when we've been wrong - that's what makes us great. In the BioShock Big Daddy review, we questioned whether Toys Я Us would really want to carry such a big figure. Sure enough, less than two weeks after we premiered the review, Big Daddies started showing up at TRU, followed by a whole lot more NECA product. TRU is so behind the line, they even got an exclusive set to give away with preorders of BioShock 2.

The Big Sisters are post-pubescent Little Sisters that have become unstable in Rapture's environment. Ten years after the emergence of Atlas, they are charged with maintaining the ecological balance in Rapture. Their extreme level of powers, far beyond normal plasmid users, can be attributed to their bodies adapting the ADAM being created in their bodies as a child while they are still developing, thus having a much more natural affinity for the powers ADAM create.

The original plan for BioShock 2 was to have a single Big Sister as a recurring foe, one who would flee before being defeated. She would have been one of the main antagonists of the game, but the developers decided to switch it because fighting like hell to beat a baddie you knew would get away every time was a sure way to piss off players. In-game dialogue still refers to them in the singular, giving the impression (to the citizens of Rapture) that there was a single, omniscient entity out there wandering the halls.

The Big Sister has a much different look from the Big Daddy, though there's definitely a connection. Where he's big and bulky, she's disturbingly thin. Instead of a sealed diving suit, she's wearing white wraps and is all strapped up in leather belts. The outfit is industrial, but still feminine: her weighted shoes are thin and narrow, and the clothes on her torso look like a corset and hot pants; heck, if you want to get right down to it, the metal braces supporting her legs look like garters. For a remorseless killing machine wearing a formless suit, she sure dresses sexy!

Big Sister still has a "diving bell" helmet, though it's not nearly as large as Big Daddy's: for instance, it only has one large viewport in the front, rather than a myriad of tiny ones scattered all about. The helmet is detailed well, with a metallic texture and large plates that look assembled, rather than sculpted. Her large, baleful eye is bright red, suggesting she's seen you, and she's pissed.

Articulation is good, though some changes could stand to be made. The head seems to be a balljoint, though if it is, the up-down motion is negligable. The shoulders are swivel/hinge joints, as are the elbows. The biceps look like they'd be swivels, but don't test them: those are just solid pieces glued together there, for some reason, and all twisting them will do is make the lower arm fall off. The hands are balljoints. There's a chest hinge that seems to have a restricted range of motion, but only because it gets hung up on the sculpted decorations - consider it a bonus to help keep her from flopping around (Big Sis is kind of top-heavy). There's no waist, but V-hips and balljointed thighs. The single-hinged knees fold back farther than you might expect, and she has swivel/hinged ankles.

The braces on her legs are separate pieces, but they're (mostly) designed to allow the joints to move naturally: they hinge at the knees just like the legs do; the ankles, though, are fixed in position, so moving those joints means flexing the plastic attached to them. They're not showing any signs of stress, yet, but it's still a disappointment when compared to the knees.

Rather than a large auger, the Big Sisters are armed with a gigantic needle strapped to their left arm - an upsized version of the syringes Little Sisters carry around. The other arm seems to have a modified harpoon or something, to be used as a melee weapon. She has a tank on her back, like the Big Daddies do, complete with a big valve on the top. Grafted to the side is a cage/basket meant for carrying Little Sisters: you can tell by the pretty red bows tied to the framework, as well as the childish drawings scrawled on the surface of the tank (a school of fish and two Little Sisters being led around by their Big).

The Big Sister is available by herself, so that's not what makes this exclusive worthwhile - if all you want is a Big Sister, you can get her easily. But if you want a Little Sister, you've got to get the TRU two-pack.

Little Sisters are young girls who have been genetically altered and mentally conditioned to reclaim ADAM from the dead around Rapture. Little Sisters are almost always accompanied by a Big Daddy. They are completely immune to damage and have no offensive abilities. Attacking them, however, will incur the wrath of their protector.

ADAM, by the way, is raw stem cell goop harvested from parasitic sea slug. Sounds delicious! Basically, the stem cells are so powerful, they not only differentiate into normal, healthy human cells, but also cells human bodies have never had: they give you superpowers. The stuff is highly valued in Rapture, selling for $22.50 an ounce... in 1960 money. That's more than $160 an ounce today. No wonder they were willing to harvest it from corpses! [Still only half as expensive as saffron, though. --ed.]

The Little Sister is far more than a glorified accessory: she's a good toy in her own right. Standing 3¾" tall, she moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, torso, hips and knees, so she's just about as poseable as you'd want a 5-year-old to be. She's wearing a dirty aubergine dress with puffy sleeves, a white collar and frock, and four small buttons. There's dried blood on her waist.

The child's skin is a disturbingly unnatural gray, and her hands show evidence of bloodstains. She's barefoot, which may seem unusual, but remember, Little Sisters are invulnerable: it wouldn't hurt her to walk on any surfaces. Her hair is pulled back in a high ponytail, and her eyes suggest death, being dark-rimmed and blank yellow. It's a very unsettling appearance, but despite all this, she still has rosy cheeks.

The figure can stand in the Big Sister's cage (though none are ever seen doing so in the game), and she comes with an accessory of her own, as well. Little Sisters use a specific device to harvest the ADAM - it looks like a combination of a syringe, a gas pump nozzle and the thing they use to suck the bug out of Neo in The Matrix. The piece is detailed, and can be held in either hand.

If you're going to build a BioShock collection, you're going to need a Little Sister. And if you're going to buy a Big Sister, isn't it better to get the one that comes with the bonus figure? Taking both of those into consideration, this TRU-exclusive two-pack is the way to go. Originally you could only get it by preordering BioShock 2, but soon (pretty much as soon as I'd ordered one off eBay, curse my luck) the real shipments began, and right now you can just stroll into your local Toys Я Us and grab one off the shelf.

-- 03/13/10

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