Posted by The_Nubster (1950 posts) -

There are a lot of games. Can we all agree on that? Some are amazing, some are totally awful, but holy moly are there a lot of them. It's a shame, because I'd like to get my hands on every single one and play them, like some kind of game-playing monster. It's hard to like playing games so much, but not be able to play every game, so I'm taking steps to correct that. Inspired partially by my huge, embarrassing Steam backlog (it's so big, sometimes people run away when I show them), I'm going to play old games to completion.

This is an idea I've had for a long time now, and I've tried to refine it and come up with criteria for what an 'old game' is, and I'vbe come up with a few dumb ideas that I won't stick to.

  1. Any full-fledged retail product that is more than three years old.
  2. Any game which has received a direct sequel and is more than one year old
  3. Any DLC which is either more than one year old, or has been proceeded by another piece of significant DLC and is more than 6 months old.

After writing that list out earlier, I decided that it was stupid, and I'd let this be a more organic experience. More fun, less studying. This is an adventure, and the more rules that are laid down, the less fun I'll have with this, and the less enjoyable it'll be for everyone to read along.

One important thing I do want to point out, though, is that there will be spoilers!

I can't really talk at length about old games and dance around spoilers at the same time, as much as I'd like to preserve these experiences for other people. It'd be boring for me to gloss over any interesting plot details or hidden subtleties in an attempt to save people from old-ass spoilers, so know going in that I'm going to spoil things willy-nilly and with reckless abandon.

So, now with all of that out of the way, let's get down to the important stuff.

Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den

This is a game (or rather, a piece of content) that I've been meaning to play since it was released. There have been nothing but good things said about it, and Brad's unmatched fervor in defending its title as Best DLC certainly got me interested. If for no other reason, it has to be experienced to understand why Brad loves it so goddamn much, so that's what we'll do.

Now, I'm very excited to dig in to this piece of DLC. Even though a lot of people found Bioshock 1 to be a very special experience, I found it to be extremely repetitive and boring, and then it proceeded to fall apart in the final third of the game. But we're not here to talk about Bioshock 1; Bioshock 2 holds a really special place in my heart. There are so many moments where I had to stop and just take in the horrifying beauty of what was happening around me, something that the sparsely-used underwater portions helped drive home. The further exploration of the relationship between Little Sisters and Big Daddies left me haunted, both disgusted with myself for how I'd treated them throughout the game and moved that they continued to love me so much. And the climax, in which you see your actions towards both the Little Sisters and other human NPCs play out, is one of the most powerful ending sequences in gaming.

On top of an improved story and moral system, Bioshock 2's gameplay is also head-and-shoulders above Bioshock 1, and it encourages experimentation and diversity far better. Minerva's Den's accelerated upgrade path should make the combat far more interesting than it was in either of those games, hopefully doling out new powers in such a way the prevents falling into a comfortable routine and ignoring new Plasmids. I'm looking at you, machine gun and Electro Shock.

All of the Bioshock titles seem to suffer from a sort of lack of situational awareness. In Bioshock Infinite, I remember running around like a fool, looking for the very last enemy to kill, because I just had no idea where he was. Even in Bioshock 1 and 2, there were times when I would walk in to a room populated by enemies who were just out of sight, and I'd find myself at half-health before even getting my bearings on where everything was. Now, it's not as if health kits and EVE hypos were in short supply in either of those games, but it was just a small annoyance that hasn't been corrected in these games. I don't expect Minerva'a Den to take great strides to fix this, seeing as it's just an add-on to Bioshock 2, but it'll be something that I'll have to learn to get used to.

Those are my hopes and expectations regarding Minerva's Den, folks! I'll be back next Sunday with my progress and a solid write-up of what's going on, as well as some purdy screenshots and better grammar. I'll try to keep each game 3 entries long or less, to avoid repetition and fatigue. If you have any suggestions for the layout and general look of this, feel free to let me know. If you want to to suggest an old game for me to play, PM me and I'll add it to a list.

#1 Posted by csl316 (7345 posts) -

Now that I'm finally working through Infinite, I'm in the mood to finally play Minerva. I'd do Bioshock 2 into Minerva, but at that point it may just feel like overload.

#2 Posted by bluefish (371 posts) -

Minerva's Den was pretty good but it felt too similar to Bioshock 2 (which I really enjoyed) to really feel like a singularly memorable experience. So even though I had a good time with it I've always been a little blank on why people praise it so consistently.

And you felt Bioshock was BORING? but Bioshock 2 holds a special place in your heart??? Sure, the action is better in 2 and it gets better as it goes but the first Bioshock is incredible. INCREDIBLE. <--- caps yo.

I find you hard to trust now. I'm sorry.

#3 Edited by thatdutchguy (1217 posts) -

I still like the underwater setting way more than the sky city.

#4 Posted by The_Nubster (1950 posts) -

@bluefish: I've spent a lot of time defending my love for Bioshock 2 over Bioshock 1, and I totally understand why most people want me to die in a traffic accident after hearing it. Basically, it boils down to this: Bioshock 1 was supposed to be a meta-commentary on the minds of gamers and why we do things in games, so it was filled to the brim with meaningless fetch quests and banal combat in service of that message. That was all well and good until THE TWIST, which literally removes the meta-commentary from the game, and then it continues to be filled with meaningless fetch quests and banal combat for another 2-4 hours, which killed any enjoyment I had derived from the narrative beforehand.

If that game had had the good sense to end at the twist, like Infinite did, I would have really liked it, but the way it played out just made it almost repulsive to me. Bioshock 2 felt like a more organic, polished game, and everything concerning the Little Sisters and the morality system of it was so impactful and well-crafted that I still think about it and wish more games had that kind of emotional pull to them.

I'm not saying Bioshock 1 isn't good, I just don't like it at all.

I'm sorry, too. We could have been such good friends in another reality.

#5 Posted by jiggajoe14 (514 posts) -

Oh shit I forgot that they put Minerva's Den on steam. Been meaning to play that (like you said Brad's praise for that is one of the driving factors). Thanks for the reminder.

Inspired partially by my huge, embarrassing Steam backlog (it's so big, sometimes people run away when I show them),

OH OH OH OH! PENIS JOKE! PENIS JOKE!

#6 Edited by Belegorm (284 posts) -

Bioshock 2 is old? lolwut?

#7 Posted by The_Nubster (1950 posts) -

@belegorm: By the completely arbitrary, stupid set of rules that I laid out for myself an then promptly ignored, yeah, it's old. Not to mention it's creeping up on 4 years old, anyways, which is plenty of time for people to have completely moved on from it. I feel like it's a worthy candidate.

#8 Posted by crithon (2574 posts) -

cool, I've been playing it too because of the steam sale. In the middle of part 2, not in minerva's den yet. You didn't spoil anything for me. Outside of the obvious complaints and excuses in order to make a sequel I found the game surprisingly solid. Like an expansion to a game in 1997, where you get a new weapon or a new enemy type and it totally looks out of place with everything else in previous games but it's a decent excuse to play the game some more.

#9 Posted by Humanity (7945 posts) -

Ah yes Minerva's Den, two-thousand-whatevers most overrated DLC of the year. I don't know what Brad saw in it. Fine piece of content, for sure, but groundbreaking? I dunno.. if you have played a Bioshock game before you could almost instantly deduct the ending from the word go.

#10 Posted by bigjeffrey (4156 posts) -

now that i got the DLC for free, (GFWL taken out back) I will play it for sure.

#11 Edited by Tennmuerti (7720 posts) -

@humanity said:

Ah yes Minerva's Den, two-thousand-whatevers most overrated DLC of the year. I don't know what Brad saw in it. Fine piece of content, for sure, but groundbreaking? I dunno.. if you have played a Bioshock game before you could almost instantly deduct the ending from the word go.

Have to agree with this.

I've played it couple of weeks ago (since it was made free on Steam) and really found it kinda rote. The story and it's twist was predictable. There was less sense of exploration then in the main Bioshock games as they mostly just reused the assets and there were no real cool set pieces. I also found the mad dash speed with which the DLC feeds you weapons a negative rather then a positive.

Overall i gotta say I liked the main Bioshock 2 more. It was still a good time tho and I enjoyed playing it.

#12 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (4429 posts) -

I think now is the time for me to finally go back and play this, since it came out on PC.

#13 Posted by The_Nubster (1950 posts) -

@humanity said:

Ah yes Minerva's Den, two-thousand-whatevers most overrated DLC of the year. I don't know what Brad saw in it. Fine piece of content, for sure, but groundbreaking? I dunno.. if you have played a Bioshock game before you could almost instantly deduct the ending from the word go.

Have to agree with this.

I've played it couple of weeks ago (since it was made free on Steam) and really found it kinda rote. The story and it's twist was predictable. There was less sense of exploration then in the main Bioshock games as they mostly just reused the assets and there were no real cool set pieces. I also found the mad dash speed with which the DLC feeds you weapons a negative rather then a positive.

Overall i gotta say I liked the main Bioshock 2 more. It was still a good time tho and I enjoyed playing it.

I made a whole 'nother blog where I talk about what I felt post-completion riiight here. For the most part, I agree with you in terms of gameplay, but I found the emotional impact of the story to be pretty amazing, and the twist wasn't even the biggest reason for that either.

#14 Posted by RandomHero666 (3174 posts) -

I've been meaning to go back to the older Bioshocks, on conswole they were astounding, need to pick em up on PC sometime.

Question, do they look nicer? I could imagine some sweet Physx adding a lot to those games.

#15 Edited by The_Nubster (1950 posts) -

@randomhero666: They've certainly aged quite a bit, in purely technical terms. There aren't a ton of options and a lot of the animation is really, really choppy, but it does look cleaner and run smoother than it did on consoles. Being so close to the screen certainly helps, too. The style, though, saves it, and Rapture itself still looks pretty stunning.