This review is going to assume that you’ve Played Bioshock 2 or read my review on it. So if you haven’t you can check it over here.
Another day, another Alpha Series. You are Subject Sigma — totally different from Alpha. This one’s got a Sigma symbol on his hand and starts the game with telekinesis. Your mission, and you have no choice but to accept it, is to infiltrate Rapture Central Computing and retrieve the schematics of it’s great machine The Thinker. The Thinker is a marvel of Adam fueled machinery, complete with the power to predict future events and replicate the personality of other humans. It’s current owner however is not interested in letting you come near it. He’s insane and screaming something about The Thinker predicting disaster if Sigma get’s too near. Fight your way through hordes of pencil pushing splicers and Limited Edition Lancer Big Daddies as you get to the heart of Minerva’s Den.
Minerva’s Den was made by 2K Marin, a studio that’s worked on Bioshock 1, 2, and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified — so it’s not all great. They made the DLC with a team of about 40 people. It was released as the final DLC for the game and the only piece of non-multiplayer DLC content.
Fun Fact: The multiplayer DLC would only matchmake people into the new maps if all players going into the match owned them. So players who purchased these maps almost never got to see them because so few purchased the DLC overall.
Minerva’s Den was released on August 31st, 2010 for PS3 and XBox 360. And on May 31st, 2011 for PC.
I played through this game blind for my youtube channel #shill. Playing through it like this gave me me the impression that Bioshock 2’s PC port is a slapdash mess. I had my suspicions with its ‘Press a clear picture of an XBox A button to confirm’ instead of ‘press enter’ or something. But running my recording software made this game crash, stutter, drop frames, and basically shit itself if I had certain Windows Microsoft Word updates installed, the graphics settings were not just so, I sneezed, or sat too still. These interruptions and hindrances definitely negatively impacted my experience and tinged the whole experience with frustration.
Minerva’s Den is just DLC for Bioshock 2 and it’s built on the same engine so it plays exactly like Bioshock 2. I could copy past the gameplay section from my previous review but I won’t.
It’s got some new elements like the new plasmid, Gravity Well which creates a sort of gravity grenade that sucks enemies in and explodes them out. There’s a new Big Daddy that can flash-bang you with its laser gun. And there’s a new laser weapon which is cool, I guess, because it shoots lasers — my major complaint being that it’s a constant stream so I can’t whisper ‘pew pew’ at my computer screen.
Otherwise it’s a condensed version of the standard fare. Run, jump, shoot, use techno-magic, rescue little sisters (or harvest them, you monster), and get bitched at by people over the radio. And when I say ‘condensed’ I mean that the whole experience gets jammed into 4 levels.
Hey! Did you wonder what happened to Tenenbaum after we lost track of her in Bioshock 2? Well this DLC explains that. It’s time for the conclusion to the Tenenbaum story and an explanation as to how and whether she can cure Big Daddies of being golem slaves. It’s only a pity that we had to pay 10 dollars for it.
The bad guy, Wahl’s, interactions with The Thinker and musings on the nature of the predictive equation (the thing it uses to predict the future) are fascinating. He doesn’t understand if he has free will any more or if he’s just an extension of the equation. Does the Thinker control the equation or just read it? It’s really compelling to see this spliced up maniac fall apart in front of our eyes.
The Thinker is a legitimately interesting character. I wanted to hear how it saw itself or what it was like. I basically wanted to know ‘who’ The Thinker thought it was as an artificial being. But… we don’t get any of that. The Thinker performs tasks with robotic precision as if it doesn’t have the personality we can clearly see that it possesses.
Okay, so, because this is a Bioshock game there are locks to which the keys are plasmids. But the Gravity Well lock is just plain stupid. Actually, it’s more like the keyhole is dumb but I’ll just explain it. There are locked doors that can only be opened by using Gravity Well on these little diodes beyond the door. So, how do you get the Gravity Bomb to these diode things? Do you throw them in a vent? Nope. Do you use telekinesis to do something cool? Nope. Instead, each door is just seperated by a wall with a huge ass window you throw the poly through.
Um… so, Wahl says that Lamb has no influence in Minerva’s Den. That’s cool, I can dig it, gotta keep ’em seperated. But then why does interacting with Little Sisters summon Big Sisters? Why are there even Little Sisters gathering here? I thought they were all meant to collect Adam to turn Eleanor into a Utopian? If that doesn’t make any sense to you then that’s okay because neither does most of this DLC.
Oh man, don’t you hate when you think of a twist more clever than the twist that you get? Yeah… I hate that too.
I’m not a big fan of Minerva’s Den. Apparently it’s got lots of good reviews but I will say that I didn’t like it. If you’re hungry for more Bioshock 2 action then go for it, it’s only 10 dollars and hitting glasses wearing, pollen sniffing, spider- splicers does have a certain satisfaction to it. But if you were totally done with Bioshock 2 then I wouldn’t press the issue.
Next Time: Crusader Kings II