With the Minerva's Den DLC for BioShock 2 coming in a few days, here's a load of previews to help you decide if you have any interest in the addition to 2K's shooter-RPG. Joystiq.
Putting around the cold corridors of the Den are Lancers, the new Big Daddy type. These dudes are pretty vicious. I fought one and while I was able to put him down, he was no joke. The Lancers wield the new weapon in the Minerva's Den DLC: the Ion Laser, a beam weapon that harnesses the power of sunlight to create a powerful Moonraker-caliber laser and gives Lancers a strong flash bang-like defensive move that dazes you. With my drill, my own Ion Laser and only my Telekinesis Plasmid to rely on, I had to run though plenty of first aid kits before finally taking him down. But take him down I did ... and then I harvested his Little Sister.
The events in question occur in the middle of the sequel's timeline. Tenenbaum has just parted ways with Delta in BioShock 2, but Minerva's Den will reveal her story thereafter, which begins with her awakening you - as Sigma - from hibernation to investigate the events that transpired in the Den and hopefully resolve the conflict. As you approach the Den, you receive a distress call from Charles Milton Porter - the inventor of the early super computer that is responsible for all the automated technology in Rapture. Your main quest, therefore, is to search the depths of Minerva's Den for Porter as well as for answers to how the Den was disconnected from the rest of the city.
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.
Minerva's Den is a darker, more cut-throat area of Rapture than we have previously encountered in both previous iterations of the world. The Splicers are more challenging and use plasmids with much ease; even the security bots have been upgraded with different weapons such as an electric shock, lasers and a rocket launcher. Fighting the new set of bots will prove to be difficult obstacles to overcome but, on the flip side, grant a definite bonus if you can hack them successfully and turn them to your side. There's nothing better than a well-placed bot shredding the enemies to pieces.
Given all of that, it's funny then that the upcoming singleplayer DLC, Minerva's Den, may actually address the breadth issue that both BioShock games have shared. Set in a previously unseen section of Rapture - of course - Minerva's den isn't a scenario, like the recent Protector Trials DLC. Instead, it's a sort of expansion for BioShock 2 that will see players find almost all of the plasmids and tonics from the main game as well as a few new tricks and enemies, all in a much shorter amount of time.
The titular Minerva's Den serves as the most technologically advanced district in Rapture. Overseen by ominous artificial intelligence The Thinker, the once pioneering Den now lay in ruins, defaced by wreckage, ruin, and foreboding graffiti based around one central phrase: "The Thinker Knows." Led by Charles Milton Porter, one of Rapture's most brilliant minds, players will explore an as-of-yet unseen side of Rapture abandoned on the brink of a new industrial era.
Minerva's Den is a technological wonderland that has been cut off from the rest of Rapture. Once upon a time, the den served as a house for Rapture's computers. You'll play as a Big Daddy named Subject Sigma, another Alpha-series behemoth that gets his free will back via circumstances that will be made clear over the course of the adventure. The story kicks off in familiar fashion, with Sigma gaining consciousness and being contacted by Charles Milton Porter, a computer savant who created the intricate systems that keep all of Rapture running. While fans of the series will be familiar with most of Porter's creations, one will be quite new: a supercomputer called the Thinker that serves as Rapture's brain.
In addition, Minerva's Den has a new plasmid, the Gravity Well. This powerful item creates a vortex that consumes enemies (alive and dead) and various objects within the environment. It also proves useful against Sentry Bots, which fire rockets and electricity this time around. Keep that in mind while hacking them.