BioShock 2: Minerva's Den DLC hands-on

The upcoming Minerva’s Den DLC is its own little mini-adventure, taking place during the same events of the main BioShock 2 game, but all the way on the other side of the city from Subject Delta’s rampage. This time, in keeping with the whole prototype Big Daddy thing, you’ll play as Subject Sigma. Things begin along the lines of BioShock’s main theme of choice and control – you’re lumbering along as a mindless Big Daddy, not in control of your actions, when something not entirely clear happens to break you out of your stupor.

Right off you’re immersed in Rapture’s dangerous world – except this time, it’s even more dangerous, because Minerva’s Den, an area of the city that’s been essentially sealed off, is host to advanced splicers – splicers who can use plasmids. To help you out, you have two new items at your disposal: the Gravity Well plasmid and the Ion Laser. The Gravity Well doesn’t really function much different from the Cyclone Trap – it sucks enemies (and debris) into the air. The difference, however, is hilarious: splicers, once sucked into the air, orbit around the well comically, and of course you can take pot shots while they fly around.

The Ion Laser obviously shoots a continuous beam of death – a yellow one, which is a color usually neglected in laser weapon design. Anyway, it’s horrifically powerful, tearing down life bars in a second. Again, functionally it’s not so different from a machine gun, but it has the fun factor. It also can be outfitted with alternate ammo, like the Burst Cell, which changes the laser color to blue and allows you to charge up one big super-shot, which is handy for finishing off a Big Daddy.

The theme of Minerva’s Den is computing technology. With the time period still in 1968, computers aren’t the sleek, small tech we’re used to in games. There are banks of computers running up to the ceiling, full of blinking Christmas lights and looking suitably archaic. Charles Milton Porter, the designer of Rapture’s computing tech, will play a major role in Minerva’s Den. He’s the mind behind the sentries and other security systems we’ve come to know over the course of the series, so it’s pretty cool to finally see where all this stuff comes from.

Along these lines, we’re promised to get some answers to questions left hanging from BioShock 2, such as the unresolved fates of certain characters. One new character we get to meet is the Thinker – the brain of Rapture, so to speak. During our play we only got to hear a polite greeting from the Thinker’s voice, and it was creepy in a GLaDOS kind of way. We’re hoping to get into an epic confrontation later on, or maybe a cool super hero team-up.

There’s also the new Big Daddy type – the Lancer. He’s another “skinny” Big Daddy like Delta and Sigma, and he’s armed with the same Ion Laser you have, so he’s pretty scary when he starts cooking your goose with ultra-precise beams from afar. He also has one special move you don’t – a blinding flash of light that works like a flash grenade. If you see him charging up to do it, you can look away to keep from getting blinded.

Note that while Minerva’s Den features lasers and computers, it doesn’t feel so high tech as to be incongruous with the rest of Rapture. It actually fits in perfectly, and has the usual crumbling plaster and water leaking in everywhere. It contains three distinct areas to it, and will constitute a size comparable to a decent portion of the main game – the devs are hesitant to say how many hours it will take since everyone plays at a different pace. The DLC is expected to become available in a few weeks.

Aug 26, 2010

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  • elpurplemonkey - August 28, 2010 7:37 p.m.

    @ Redeater Geez dude, simmer down. Yes Bioshock 2 multiplayer is average. We get it. Move on. Getting back to the article- this DLC actually looks pretty interesting. I'm not sure I want to revisit Rapture though, I'm pretty content with my time there. Maybe it'll depend on the price.
  • jameshalsey - August 26, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    i knew there would be a reason for BadLadJon to keep bioshock 2 :D
  • jameshalsey - August 26, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    i knew there would be a reason for BadLadJon to keep bioshock 2 :D
  • Doctalen - August 26, 2010 8:52 p.m.

    Awesome time to boot up the old Bioshock 2.
  • Redeater - August 26, 2010 8 p.m.

    wished = wish Excuse my grammar but I get so angry when people defend companies that clearly have no desire to support the games who are keeping them in beer and skittles.
  • Redeater - August 26, 2010 7:56 p.m.

    @db1331 I wished the gaming companies would use this game as a lesson. 360 sales for bioshock 1 = 2.58 Million bioshock 2 = 1.36 Million Boy I'm sure glad that multiplayer they pissed away all that money on paid off.
  • db1331 - August 26, 2010 6:43 p.m.

    @Redeater You are right on the money. I really enjoyed BioShock 2. I have never even clicked on the "Multiplayer" option on the main menu, and never will. Then again, I actually like games and know the difference between good content and tacked-on crap.
  • oufour - August 26, 2010 5 p.m.

    a big daddy. with a lazer gun. well, we're fucked.
  • Crypto140 - August 26, 2010 4:44 p.m.

    Soemthing tells me this will take alot of memory. A GB or 2 that I dont have. Damn.
  • Redeater - August 26, 2010 3:51 p.m.

    @grim08 You keep telling yourself that buddy. Have you checked the gamefaqs board lately? Keep holding your breath and they might release a patch so you can get all those multiplayer "achievements".
  • Cyberninja - August 26, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    darn i wanted it to a big sister play as.
  • dugfinger - August 26, 2010 1:31 p.m.

    Sounds good. Kind of hoped you'd be just a normal guy, like in the first game, rather than a Big Daddy again. Sounds pretty awesome. I'm hoping for a fair few hours of gameplay.
  • Redeater - August 26, 2010 1:29 p.m.

    It's about fucking time. Hey 2k hows that multiplayer holding up hmmm?
  • abbottfrizzell - August 26, 2010 1:23 p.m.

    I'm not sure I like the idea of ANOTHER big Daddy getting control of himself, hopefully it is has a good reason behind it.. but that doesn't matter I can not WAIT for this one
  • BadLadJon - August 26, 2010 1:05 p.m.

    i knew there would be a reason for me to keep bioshock 2 :D
  • BadLadJon - August 26, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    i knew there would be a reason for me to keep bioshock 2 :D