BioShock 2 Minerva’s Den Review

Game Review: BioShock 2 Minerva’s Den DLC
Release: August 31st
Genre: First-person shooter
Developer: 2K Marin
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Players: 1
MSRP: $9.99, 800 Microsoft Points
ESRB Rating: M

I will come out and say that I am one of the biggest BioShock biggies on Platform Nation. I have played the original close to ten times and read and heard every audio log there is to relish. I was not disappointed by BioShock 2 but I also wasn’t surprised, which the original so certainly hooked into. I thought the plot was very shallow as it tried to borrow elements from its superior (Ryan counter-part, moral compasses etc.) while even dumbing down certain aspects. BioShock 2 was not a great game, it was a good game, but it does not stand toe to toe with its big brother. Minerva’s Den however completely revokes all my criticisms of BioShock 2.

The game is set in an enclosed little section set parallel to the events of BioShock 2. You’ll team up with Tenenbaum and tackle a personal journey that takes you deeper into the heart of the philosophy of BioShock. What the literal game design ideas are, and these aren’t just restricted to plot, there are certain callbacks in the environments and big improvements in the gameplay department. You control another forgotten Big Daddy who treks through a forgotten section of Rapture. The DLC lasts around six hours which is more bang for buck than most modern first-person shooters.

The plot is that long ago two chaps named C.M Porter and Reed Wahl came to Rapture to develop an early computer known as The Thinker. It’s massively intelligent and Reed believed it to be able to tell the future. Porter wanted to humanise The Thinker and saw the machine as a capable life-form or with such capacity to have human characteristics. These ideas challenged each other and eventually Wahl won over the heart of Ryan and belittled C.M Porter to the depths of Persephone. Now you play Subject Sigma, a forgotten Big Daddy, who ventures forth into Minerva’s Den to tackle The Thinker and bring its code to the surface.

I’ll outright say it here, Minerva’s Den is on par with the original BioShock in every essence and in every characteristic. There’s another “Would you kindly.” which is even more personal, there’s gameplay progression, there’s a string of empowerment which is actually better than BioShock. The story end-game is truly tear-jerking and it’s something to be said when the first game mixed in complete bombardment of shock, and now the second game’s add-on mixes in the elixir of emotion. Any BioShock fan who perhaps under-appreciated the second outing NEEDS to play this, it is truly worth it.

There’s not much that doesn’t work. The new plasmid, the Gravity Well (essentially Singularity from Mass Effect 2) works fine and as does the new laser canon pew pew. The environments are pretty although the main colour palette feels a little washed out. There’s little tweaks everywhere such as new sentry bots that make Minerva’s Den feel like… well… the sequel that its brother should have been. The perspective of the Big Daddy feels necessary here and you’re not forced into a pre-determined relationship a la Delta/Eleanor. Everything in Minerva’s Den just works and I have zero complaints.

I want to mention something. The one giant hate I have with BioShock 2 is the fact that Sofia Lamb came out of nowhere. For the political rival of Andrew Ryan, she was non-existent in the original. Here in the enclosed Minerva’s Den there isn’t much of a Ryan equivalent. What spice of the character we have here is top-notch writing and some of the audio diaries by such character are truly groundbreaking character studies. If you do anything else in this DLC either than shooting and killing, listen up, soak up everything like you did the first time you came to Rapture.

Nath’s final say: Good golly gosh. I was stunned, on my feet clapping and clapping. The 2K Marin team just showed the world what they can do with the lore of Rapture and it is beautiful. The story is personal, emotional and it seems to be pitch-perfect rather than a shallow mockery of the original, which was the sequel. You have to play this, even if you didn’t bother with BioShock 2, it is more than worth it. I think the team just showed that there’s still some blood left in Rapture, and I can’t wait to inevitably come back to the dead man’s dreams.

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