ridebird's BioShock 2 (PC) review

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  • ridebird has written a total of 2 reviews. The last one was for BioShock 2
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Minerva's Den is one of the best games I have ever played, and you should play it too

I think most of us remember that super long debate regarding best DLC in 2010. I didn't pay much attention to anything but the discussion in itself, as Bioshock 2 was already a lost game to me. I found it to be disappointing and to not be as perfectly crafted and cared for as the original game, and there was just something that was not quite there.

Fast forward three years, and Infinite is almost out. I take up Green Man Gaming on the offer of buying all three games in the series for the price of Infinite and figure, what the hell, I might give Bioshock 2 another go. I gotta say, I was quite surprised. The main game is actually pretty damn good, and I guess I was just way overhyped for it when it came out.

What's really interesting about it is not really the main game though, but the DLC - Minerva's Den. To overly describe the story is to do it a disservice, as it really is best experiences with totally fresh eyes, but I can say this - it includes themes of love, loss, madness and goddamn artifical intelligence, as well as ties up a few loose ends in the Bioshock universe. The combination of love and AI calls for unbearably uncomfortable TNG episodes starring Data, but let's just say it's handled a bit better here.

If you like games such as Deus Ex, Bioshock (the original) and Half-Life 2, you seriously gotta play this. It's got all the right things - no lazy story exposition cutscenes, a mature and confident tone, and some of the best voice acting I have ever witnessed. I was pretty floored all the way through Minerva's Den, and it was quite some time since I just sat down with a game and constantly was thinking of how immensly well designed and flawless this game actually is. The whole team, not just writer Steve Gaynor, really outdid themselves with lightning, pacing and just sheer immersion through level design.

If you found Bioshock 2 repetetive and long winded, I can say that Minerva's Den has basically the same combat structure and challenges in that department, but that it's much better paced and quite a bit more challenging. The developers have played around with the way you aquire weapons and plasmids (remember - this is a fresh character) and explore a more free form approach to upgrades, which also forces you to try out a lot more stuff then just the drill and electro bolt.

In the end though, the combat is just a way to get down to the real good stuff, which is all of the story exposition and the beautiful and quite gripping tale that Minerva's Den really is.

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If you would like to give it a shot, you don't have to play through the main game - you can go directly in to the DLC via the Extras menu. I think it's available on 360 and PS3, but I played it on PC via GFWL. Please note that GFWL marketplace simply does not work, no matter what, on Windows 8. Yes, I know, that is impressively stupid.

I had to install Windows 7 to get it to run properly, but the DLC was at least a very cheap 5 bucks - which it's VERY well worth. You can just install marketplace, buy it, download it, and it will automatically work with your Steam version of the game. If you don't have Bioshock 2 on Steam, I don't know how it would work, but seeing as it seems to go via GFWL login somehow, I bet it would just run from the get go.

2 Comments
Posted by sharpnova

This DLC has been impossible to obtain for quite some time now.

Posted by nutter

I grabbed a new copy of the Ultimate Rapture Edition on sale for $10 6-7 months back. It's installed from a disc and played on the vanilla Bioshock 2 game disc so you can install it on as many systems as you like.

I'm not getting the fuss so far, but that's probably because the core gameplay feels slow and slugish a few years later. Hopefully the story does enough to grab me soon.

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