15th August 2010 - You’ve asked for it, and 2K Games is finally delivering it - a single-player focused Bioshock 2 Downloadable Content pack. Given the highly successful games lackluster multiplayer experience, we all wanted more of the excellent single-player gameplay. But does The Protector Trials, the first bit of said single-player content, deliver the goods for us Bioshock faithfuls? Read on to find out…
What do I get and why do I want it?
With the Protector Trials, players may be thinking this is just another ‘Horde Mode’ game type like that seen in Gears of War, Halo, Battlefield and more, but that speculation is far from correct. And since Correct is an absolute, being far from it is a big leap.
The Protector Trails fails to give us what we may have wanted the most out of a Bioshock 2 DLC pack, but what it does deliver is just as good in execution. Taking the form of ‘Trials’ (obviously!), this game mode see’s you acting as a Big Daddy who must protect a Little Sister as she gathers Adam from a hot point in Splicer activity. This ultimately results in some pretty impressive battles. But not just impressive - these fights get increasingly difficult as you progress through the modes many Trails in the decent amount of environments available. Each Trial gives you a new set of weapons/plasmids/tonics that are specifically designed to make the most of the surrounding environment for better or worse.
Where I mentioned that this doesn’t necessarily appeal to what a lot of us gamers wanted out of this DLC pack meant that I, along with countless others, were all expecting some kind of single-player addition to the story. Be it a prequel, a different point of view, anything. Its sad to see the DLC not cater to these needs, but all we can do is join hands and hope for content like this in the future. In the mean time though, what doesn’t sound mouth-watering about punishing sick mutants trying to attack a genetically enhanced and mutated little girl as she sucks red goop from a dead body with all sorts of weird powers that come from your hand as well as big, rusty drills and makeshift firearms that can light people on fire and rip through their rotted skin?
Different Trials award you different amount of ‘Stars’ upon completion, from 1 to 3, depending on the difficulty of the challenge. The difficulty is seemingly measured in how much support your base weapons and plasmids give you in turn with how the environment is set out, e.g., if you are given an Electric plasmid in a map with a good body of water would be considered ‘Easy’. As you get more Stars, you unlock new pieces of concept art, storyboards, and more, which hardcore Bioshock fans should really find compelling. A notable absence in this DLC is the lack of Leaderboards, which could have been implemented really well with some of the later challenges difficulty.
How much does it cost?
Bioshock 2’s The Protector Trials is a great example of how much you should be paying for a solid piece of Downloadable Content. The pack clocks in at only 400 Microsoft Points, which is a steal for a few fun hours of increasingly challenging and compelling Bioshock combat.
Conclusion - Is it worth it?
The base games great implementation and mix’s of weapons and plasmids work wonders in the execution of this game mode in conjunction to the well designed levels which these Trials take place in. Its this kind of combat depth that makes these Trials a must have for any of you fans of Bioshock lore and gameplay. Not an essential addition to the story but The Protector Trials does add a good solid amount of gameplay to the single-player experience of this gaming masterwork, especially for what you’re paying.
AAG SCORE: 8/10
+ More of Bioshocks compellingly deep combat
+ Cheap as chips with a solid amount of playtime and challenge
+ Concept art and character art etc., for rewards is awesome
- No leaderboards result in no competition or boasting
- Lack of narrative doesn’t suit single-player Bioshock
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott