Despite only being a relatively recent feature, downloadable content has proved popular with developers and players in extending a game’s lifespan; whether it’s a simple map pack for the game’s online capabilities or a new in-depth storyline. Although the title only released in February of this year, Bioshock 2 has already received four sets of downloadable content, including the Sinclair Solutions Tester Pack, a new game mode: Kill ‘em Kindly, six new multiplayer maps in Rapture Metro and two new characters for the multiplayer experience: Zigo & Blanche. Whereas the downloadable content listed was multiplayer-based, the latest DLC for Bioshock 2 has been developed for the single player portion of the game, titled: The Protector Trials.
The aim of the BioShock 2 Protector Trials is for players to protect their Little Sister from the Splicers whilst she gathers ADAM, using a set amount of weapons and plasmids which vary depending on the challenge. The longer she gathers without being interrupted, the higher her ADAM Multiplier climbs. In doing so, players earn a grade and a score on completion on the trial, based on how much ADAM has been gathered. Successfully completing a trial unlocks stars. Collecting stars is the main form of progression within the game mode, unlocking additional trials and rewards. The concept, as already evident as a small feature throughout the single player story, works well though is something only tolerable in short doses.
Unfortunately, despite the content weighing in at a fairly hefty 1GB, it may only take a few short doses of the game mode before players 100% complete it, with the downloadable content only offering eighteen trials in total. Thankfully, the 400 Microsoft Points price tag justifies how much content players receive and, therefore (in true Bruce Forsyth style), the price is right.
Gameplay-wise, The Protector Trials keeps to the same pace of the Bioshock 2 players are used to, further adding a more frantic experience with constantly-oncoming waves of Splicers causing players to make the most of their fairly-limited resources. Whilst it isn’t too different from what players are used to, the slight change may prove popular with the hardcore first-person shooter gamers.
The action takes place across six environments, all of which contain recognisable aspects and features from the single player story that have been brilliantly incorporated – still managing to create the same eeriness players experienced the first time round. Furthermore, each environment has been well-designed and developed so that they don’t only look good, but they accommodate for the plasmids and weapons available to players.
As for the rewards the DLC boasts, these are predominantly trailers, videos and concept art from the game. Whilst this is something that will appeal to the die-hard BioShock 2 fanatics, an additional seven achievements worth a total of 100 GamerScore is also available to those who would prefer to be rewarded with a higher GamerScore total.
To conclude, BioShock 2: The Protector Trials is a decent attempt at a single player downloadable content for the game. Whilst many players would have preferred the content to be narrative-driven, what is presented will extend the lifespan of the game – even if it’s only for an extra hour or so. This is definitely something for owners of BioShock 2 to consider, especially at 400 Microsoft Points.