Minerva’s Den gives players another chance to revisit Rapture, the fallen underwater utopia. It has its own self-contained story that focuses on another Big Daddy, called Subject Sigma. Unlike Bioshock 2 where you had to rescue your bonded little sister, you are on a mission to retrieve a machine known as ‘The Thinker’ and help its creator, C.M. Porter bring it to the surface where he hopes to rebuild it.
The story takes place in Minerva’s Den, the title of Bioshock 2’s official add-on. The Den was originally part of Rapture but was cut off from the rest, yet was not immune to the splicers. Based on the dialogue that I read throughout the game, particularly towards the end I am assuming the events of Minerva’s Den takes place around the same time as Bioshock 2’s story-line. I could be wrong but it seems to suggest that.
You awaken as Subject Sigma, an Alpha Series Big Daddy who already has the trusty drill and the power of Telekinesis thanks to plasmids. You are guided by a man called C.M. Porter who gives you the tasks of retrieving the machine he created called the Thinker. He goes on to explain its purpose and how his partner used the Thinker for his own personal gain. He (Porter) wishes to retrieve his machine so he may rebuild it on the surface with Dr. Tenenbaum. Yes, Dr. Tenenbaum reappears in this add-on and was responsible for awakening you.
You get a new plasmid and weapon unique to the add-on, such as the gravity well plasmid which allows you to open special doors that have a magnetic lock and even cause massive damage to enemies. As for the new weapon, you can get something called an Ion Laser which basically a laser weapon. Like Bioshock 1 & 2, you can get upgraded versions of the weapon but not from the ‘Power to the People’ upgrade stations. Instead you must find the upgraded versions scattered around.
The research camera is not used in the add-on either as well, instead you will have to explore finding the plasmids/tonics that you would get from research. So exploring plays an important role.
I did not really use the Ion Cannon personally. I mainly used the drill and machine gun during combat, and lots of electro bolt. Electro bolt is my favorite plasmid, I think it is pretty versatile since it can stun most enemies and even machines, allowing you to hack them to fight for you. I just think the drill and machine gun (especially with the specialized ammo) is more effective during combat than the Ion Cannon since you will chew through the ammo quickly using it. As for the gravity well plasmid, I mainly used it for opening the mag-locked doors to retrieve the delicious goodies inside. I did use it on a few occasions combat-wise, it does not work on the Big Sisters, Big Daddies/Lancers or the Brute Splicers. I did not try the 3rd tier of the plasmid on them, I would assume that the corrosive effect would hurt them a bit (minus the Brutes since they do not use armor).
The game will give a few hours of game time, my original game time was around…9 hours? Checking my Steam, the hours I logged into Bioshock 2 now is 15 hours. So it took me 6 hours to get through the add-on, it probably would not take you that long but it does urge you to explore as you will be rewarded with weapons and plasmids. I spent most of my time exploring, being distracted (by my mom or phone) or trying to find the last little sister since I accidentally killed the Lancer before he could call a little sister. I actually back-tracked as far as I could in the Operations level trying to find a Lancer. Turns out all I had to do was reload a save and go back to the general area where I killed the last Lancer and wait for him to call a little sister. So that was fun.
The downsides to the add-on are very few. One is the long loading times that seem to occur between transitioning different areas. The other is how easy it was to see what the twist in the story was, I already had figured it out long before the end. Not necessarily a bad thing however, it is just not surprising.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy the ending of the game. It is a nice ending for Dr. Tenenbaum’s story and ending monologue given by Porter was beautifully touching. As well how Dr. Tenenbaum mentions how the Thinker refused to leave its maker behind. I guess it is fitting to see how the Thinker is the one who manipulated the events of Minerva’s Den to make sure that it followed Porter’s wishes and making sure Porter was able to escape as well. Solid add-on and I think it is a fitting end for Bioshock 2.