Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre Image             2K Games’ remarkable BioShock 2 has unsurprisingly built a strong following since it’s release back in February, with a keen audience eagerly awaiting more chances to experience Rapture in entirely new ways. Minerva’s Den, an all-new narrative-lead single-player experience, is intended to do just that. Venturing back to Rapture in 1968 – the same year as the events of the main game, and eight years after the original BioShock – players will encounter the familiar mix of tension, exploration and intrigue.

BioShock 2 has benefited from a number of downloadable content (DLC) additions since it’s release, most of which have expanded or enhanced the multiplayer component of the game. Last month’s Protector Trails Pack however, brought an all-newElectronic Theatre Image gameplay mode to BioShock 2, comparable in it’s effect to Batman: Arkham Asylum’s Challenge Rooms, but Minerva’s Den has promised exactly that which fans have been asking for since finishing the story element of the original game: an entirely new narrative-driven experience.

Minerva’s Den acts as completely standalone episode, a short story that plays just a small but significant part in the BioShock legacy. Players once again become a Big Daddy, this time known as Sigma, and enter an all-new area which acts as the technology centre for Rapture. Facing a powerful computer system known as The Thinker, the storyline may not appear too original at first, but as BioShock has proven previously, constant twists in the story can bend it so far out of shape that the player will look back upon their earlier objectives with the benefit of hindsight, revelling in their seemingly simple nature.

Minerva’s Den, as an entirely new venue in the underwater dystopia, is almost a perfect compliment to the original visions of Rapture seen in both BioShock and BioShock 2. Full of intrigue and vivid scenes of chaosElectronic Theatre Image and panic, Minerva’s Den may have been shut-off from the rest of Rapture, but it’s clearly suffering the very same fate. The reasons for this once again are told through audio diaries dotted throughout the location, and for fans of the series, hunting down every last one will be just as essential here as it was with BioShock 2 back in February.

In addition to the much discussed Gravity Well Plasmid, which sucks enemies and loose objects into a swirling vortex at the point which your projectile lands, Minerva’s Den also offers the new Ion Laser weapon, for which player can earn an upgrade that has seemingly little effect. Firing a constant beam, the Ion Laser depletes its ammo relatively quickly, but packs a considerable punch when held steady on an enemy for a few moments. Armed with this new weapon is the Lancer Big Daddy, a new addition that fits well with the established cast and provides just as formidable an opponent – or ally.

            For some reason, Minerva’s Den appears to suffer from more graphical glitches than the original on-disc content. Many times during our playthrough Electronic Theatre witnessed textures that were incredibly slow to load – both on the environment and character models – and theElectronic Theatre Image distance detail has clearly suffered when peering down long corridors. It seems strange that such instances would occur, as while Minerva’s Den appears to add a couple of new items to the backgrounds, the vast majority of the DLC is built using assets that were provided on the original disc.

            Minerva’s Den will most likely last around four-to-five hours for an experienced BioShock fan, which seemingly unlike 2K Games (who for some reason insisted on returning the original tutorial prompts with no “opt-out” option available), Electronic Theatre would think most players of the DLC would be. In that time players will experience all the familiar BioShock convention, and be treated to an all-new, compact side-story expanding the literature. Capcom’s recently released Dead Rising 2: CASE ZERO defined a new possibility for demo versions of forthcoming releases, and Minerva’s Den has complimented BioShock 2 with the same passion for the simulated universe, but a different opinion on how gamers would like to participate in that fiction. Electronic Theatre Image

















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