Sequel to one of the greatest games of this generation, Bioshock 2 was an action-packed return to Rapture. While not as striking as the original, there were enough additions and improvements made to the gameplay to make up for the lack of narrative direction. After several multiplayer-focused add-ons, Minerva's Den is the second piece of single player downloadable content made available for game on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live. The expansion catalogues Subject Sigma's bid to escape Rapture with Charles Porter and his greatest achievement, the Thinker. Minerva's Den houses the Thinker, as well as much of the machinery which powers the automated, Art Deco dystopia of Rapture. With the help of Porter and franchise regular, Dr Bridgette Tenenbaum; Subject Sigma tackles splicers, Big Daddies and the mad mathematician, Reed Wahl.
New tools - There is a new plasmid and weapon available in Minerva's Den. The Gravity Well plasmid has applications in both combat and exploration, allowing you to throw a polyp which sucks enemies and items into the void it creates. The visual effect for the fully upgraded ability is impressive, and is especially useful when ADAM harvesting. The Ion Laser, while not as fun to experiment with, has the potential to dispatch some of the stronger opponents you encounter on your journey.
The final twist - The story of Subject Sigma ends in spectacular fashion, with the final jaw-dropping revelation made all the more memorable by a challening final encounter with Wahl and his minions. The journey may have dragged for a little while, but the last hour of this expansion was a real joy to play through.
If it ain't broke - All of the fantastic weapons from Bioshock 2 (including my favourites, the Rocket Spear and Trap Rivet) make their return in Minerva's Den. ADAM gathering still demands the same level of strategy, and the aggro splicers making a dash for your Little Sister still illicit the same urgent response. The strong, core gameplay elements of the initial retail release are all present in this add-on.
Fetch boy - Minerva's Den is essentially a four hour long series of fetch quests. These quests are punctuated with the series staple of rescuing/harvesting Little Sisters, and hacking bots/vending machines. Power to the People stations are absent from this release, with players instead finding weapons (and upgrades) scattered throughout Minerva's Den. Apart from the fantastic final area, Minerva's Den drags its feet around Rapture.
Blair Witch - Apart from the final area, it is very hard to distinguish any of the hallways, basements and Art Deco design in Minerva's Den from any other part of Rapture. Bioshock veterans will find very little here that they have not seen before.
Various visual blemishes - The same issues with texture loading present in the initial release have not been remedied in Minerva's Den. While it is a minor gripe, every blurred character model and item do impact on the experience.
Rude Welcome - When you visit the first Gatherer's Garden in Minerva's Den you are taunted with the opportunity to earn more ADAM to expend in Minerva's Den, by playing through the previously released Protector Trials DLC. Nothing sucks you out of an immersive experience quite like advertising.
7/10 - If by the end of Bioshock 2 you began to tire of the dark corridors of Rapture, avoid Minerva's Den. It is more of the same. If you are not quite yet fatigued by Andrew Ryan's Art Deco dystopia, then this content is well worth the asking price. There is about 4 hours worth of playtime available in this expansion, and some of the revelations and set pieces should be experienced.