For many fans, BioShock 2’s story didn’t live up to the legacy of the original BioShock. While I agree that the original BioShock is the better game, I still enjoyed BioShock 2 – and believe it has moments of brilliance scattered throughout. Playing as a Little Sister is a high point for not just BioShock 2, but the entire franchise.

Rapture is a dump. It’s sad wandering the ruins, because you can see how it must have once been very beautiful before the events of the BioShock series. Toward the end of BioShock 2, you’re allowed to play as a Little Sister for a short time. Due to their psychological conditioning, Rapture looks more like an elegant ballroom from a fairy tale rather than the dark, derelict reality. 

The floor, once grimy, is now sparkly and marbled with ornate rugs and soft, white cushions everywhere. The more-than-occasional blood stain is replaced with flower petals. The inhabitants of Rapture have been transformed from the ADAM-addicted citizens in rags to fancy and proper noble men and women admiring artwork based on your good or evil deeds. Covering the walls and railings are white sheets, flowery vines, and propaganda telling you that you’re safest when you’re accompanied by a Big Daddy and that all good girls gather ADAM.  

One of the Little Sisters’ most unnerving traits is also finally explained in this peek into how they see the world. Throughout BioShock and its sequel, you can hear the Little Sisters call dead splicers “angels.” This is usually followed by them gruesomely stabbing at them with a syringe-like device used to extract ADAM. The dead splicers on the ground are replaced by clean men and women wearing extravagant suites and dresses. They look peaceful, with both hands folded over their hearts. Beneath them is a bed of roses, and a shining outline of angel wings at their sides and a halo at their head. Above them is the playful flutter of butterflies. 

If you gather ADAM from them, you see that none of this is true. The splicers’ bodies are grotesque remnants of who they once were, the flowers are replaced by blood, and the butterflies are actually flies buzzing around a corpse. Seeing your actual surroundings for brief moments when the world shifts back to reality is a harsh juxtaposition. Little Sisters are one of the most tragic characters in BioShock, especially when you consider their backstory. 

Even though it takes hours to get to this point, and you’ve spent that entire time traveling a decrepit Rapture, seeing the cruel reality is so much uglier when you’re a Little Sister.