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When they were developing BioShock 2, 2K said they wanted the player to feel more attached to the Security Bots they hacked. They added a heal button. It didn't work.
In my opinion, what prevents the player from considering their Bots to be anything more than expendable is because A) Every Security Bot is the same and B) You can't do much to your Bot other than hack it and, if you have the right tonic, heal it. So, why can't you be able to upgrade your own Bots? Not only would each one of them be unique, but you'd have invested in them, so you'd definitely try to make sure they stay alive.
- Level 1: Sapper Gene Tonic (see here)
- Level 2: +Damage
- Level 3: Bot Brothers Gene Tonic (see above link)
- Level 4: ++Damage
- Level 5: Instant hack (with bonus)
Like I said, can be upgraded. Also, rather than there being a single Bot type, at the start there'll be three:
- Machine Gun Bot: The Bot model from the past two BioShock games. No changes here.
- Shotgun Bot: A Bot with a Shotgun. Will use hit-and-run tactics to try and get close to the player.
- Sniper Bot: This time, it's got a Sniper rifle. Will try to stay at a distance from the player and use cover.
All of these different Bot models have their unique upgrade path. You can upgrade them at any U-Invent machine, and if you don't like their weapon you can outfit them with another one there too. You can also recycle their upgrades and weapons for components. In fact, you can recycle the entire Bot! You can buy and invent new Security Bot bodies, albeit at an exorbitant price in money or U-Invent components. You can't recycle Bots you summoned with Security Command 2 or 3 though.
On a more technical note, this time Security Bots should be able to travel with you across levels. For some reason your Bots stay in the previous level when you take a Bathysphere (or the Atlantic Express).
At the game's midpoint, three new types of Bot will appear:
- Demo Bot: A Bot which can fire grenades that explode on impact. Will try to get you with the splash damage rather than with a direct hit.
- Flamer Bot: This Bot's got a flamethrower. While it doesn't deal too much direct damage, it deals damage over time. Not to mention being set on fire is goddamn scary.
- Psycho Bot: A melee Bot that attacks you with a freaking chainsaw. Deals a fair bit of damage and jerks your aim all over the place.
As with the three previous Bot models, these three will unlock their own upgrade paths.
The following is the upgrade tree to the Security Bot. Now, when I say upgrade tree, I mean that if you pick an option at a certain level, you won't be able to pick any other upgrades from that level.
Level Zero: Main Body
This is the basic Security Bot frame, without any weapons. It'll do the basic Security Bot actions, like hover around the enemy, dive-bomb them when it's low on health and try to block its shots for you. Other than that, it's fairly useless.
Level One: Weapons
These are the weapons you can outfit your Bot with. You'll always find Bots with one already, but you can recycle it and pick a new one. Each weapon has a different cost in U-Invent components. As a bonus, each weapon changes the way the Bot sounds: for example, Sniper Bots beep in morse code, Grenade Launcher Bots will make much deeper, slightly corrupted beeps and Psycho Bots will, well, sound like robotic psychos (think of the R2D2 scream while the Bot charges towards a Big Daddy with its chainsaw).
- Machine Gun
- Sniper Rifle
Unlocked after the midpoint:
- Grenade Launcher
Level Two: Upgrades
Once your Bot has a weapon, you can outfit it with two more upgrades. You can choose one of two basic upgrades at first, which then unlocks two more specialized upgrades which you can choose from. Here's the upgrade tree for each weapon:
Machine Gun Upgrades
- Antipersonnel Rounds: Bot deals increased damage against Splicers. Unlocks:
- Crowd Control Rounds: Bullets can pierce through multiple enemies. Bot will try to align multiple targets before firing.
- Focused Fire: Reduces bullet spread to zero. Bot now has perfect accuracy and can predict enemy movement.
- Armor-Piercing Rounds: Bot deals increased damage against machinery and armored targets. Unlocks:
- Irritant Bullets: Shooting a target causes it to switch attention from the player to the Bot. Bot will now try to dodge the enemy's fire as well.
- EMP: Upon death, the Bot will emit a violent burst of electricity, shocking anything in its vicinity.
- Blunderbuss: Increases the weapon's spread as well as the number of pellets fired. Unlocks:
- Armor Plating: Increases the Bot's health and adds a (slow) healing factor.
- Dual Shotguns: Replaces the Bot's shotgun with two smaller mini-shotguns which can target multiple enemies at once.
- Clockwork Loader: Increases the Bot's rate of fire. Unlocks:
- Jet Motor: Greatly increases the Bot's speed. Bot will also dodge fire with much more efficiency.
- Empathy Module: Bot's damage output temporarily increases as the player takes damage.
Sniper Rifle Upgrades
- Homing Bullet: After hitting an enemy, the bullet will pass through them, change direction and hit another enemy for less damage. Can hit up to five enemies at a time this way. Unlocks:
- Mark: Targets hit by the Bot will be visible through walls and will take increased damage from the player's attacks.
- Escape Sequence: Bot will teleport away from an enemy if they get too close, stunning them in the process.
- Concussive Shots: Enemies hit by the Bot will be stunned for a short time. Unlocks:
- Anti-Missile Tracking: If not trying to hit an enemy, will attempt to shoot down any projectiles (explosives, plasmids, flying random objects...) fired at the player.
- Trip Mines: Bot will occasionally drop small mines which jump in the air and explode into a hail of bullets if an enemy steps over them. Cannot hurt the player.
Grenade Launcher Upgrades
- Cluster Charge: Grenades explode into smaller grenades upon impact. Unlocks:
- Heat-Seeking RPGs: Turns the grenades into homing missiles, which also have a much larger blast radius.
- Flak Bomb: Fires three mini-grenades at a time instead of one, each of which explodes further into smaller bomblets.
- Shock Absorber: Bot is immune to self-damage from their own grenades. Unlocks:
- Plan B: Bot will produce a huge explosion upon death, dealing medium damage to any nearby enemy and throwing them into the air.
- Sucker Bomb: In addition to firing grenades, the Bot will lay small glowing charges on enemies. Shooting or otherwise hitting the charges will detonate them.
- Crippling Fire: Enemies set on fire by the Bot will have their speed reduced. Unlocks:
- Fired!: Upon death, will cover the area around it in flaming napalm, which will stay on the scenery for several seconds.
- Napalm Trail: Bot can strategically cover parts of the scenery with napalm, which stays on for several seconds.
- Friendly Fire: Player heals over time proportionately to the amount of damage enemies are taking from the fire. Unlocks:
- Pressure Gauge: Increases the flamethrower's range and spread.
- Concentrated Fire: Enemies will take more damage from the flames if hit by the player.
- Stealth Module: Bot can turn temporarily invisible and will decloak behind enemies. Unlocks:
- Backstab: Bot deals increased damage when attacking from behind.
- Chainsaw Vampire: Bot will heal as it deals damage.
- Magnetic Shields: Bot takes less damage from bullets and any shot fired at it will rebound, dealing damage to any enemy it hits. Unlocks:
- Backup Bots: Upon death, will turn into three separate mini-bots which will attack anyone in the area for a certain amount of time before exploding.
- Wheeeeeeeee: Bot can charge at enemies at increased speed and will deal additional damage when they hit them. The longer the charge, the more damage the Bot deals when it smashes into the enemy.
So that's it for the Security Bots and their upgrades. This means that instead of just having one kind of Bot, you could have twenty-four different Bot types. Whaddya think?