Sunday, February 5, 2012

Game Update 20: DLC Round-Up 5

It's getting close to a year since I've done of these. I'm not quite as focused on seeing every piece of content from every game I play as I used to be.

Bioshock 2: Minerva's Den

Minerva's Den has a reputation as one of the best DLC add-ons for a game ever made, and it's well earned. If you didn't need to buy Bioshock 2 first to play it, I'd say you could just skip it and play Minerva's Den to get all you need out of the experience. It serves as a sort of smaller version of the main game, again having you play as a Big Daddy and collecting most of the same equipment as you experience a story that's a lot more tightly written and emotionally effective than the main game's. It always seems a bit odd to focus on praising the narrative of a video game, especially a downloadable add-on, but Minerva's Den really is exceptionally well conceived and executed. Worth checking out even if you didn't love the main game.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link

Another add-on that acts as a microcosm for the main game, The Missing Link explores a gap in Human Revolution's story and basically allows you to make a new Adam Jensen from scratch that you will use for a few hours before the story wraps up and connects back to the main plot. You begin on a ship and eventually end up on another secret base, which you can either sneak or shoot your way through until you reach the ending. Obviously this DLC doesn't capture the other side of the game that lets you just walk around and explore, and there were a few annoying aspects of the level design, particularly the way the mission requires you to go back and forth in the same space repeatedly and pass through the same extremely slow doorways until you get sick of them. But if you really enjoyed Human Revolution like I did, it's hard to say no to another clandestine base to infiltrate, especially if you can get it on sale.

L.A. Noire: Rockstar Pass

None of the DLC for L.A. Noire was very substantial, but the way Rockstar distributed it was very cool. There were several individual cases that were available for download for okay prices, but if you knew you wanted to play all of it, you could plop down a little extra for the "Rockstar Pass" and get all of it as it came out at a lower rate. It encouraged people to pay more up front with the knowledge that they wouldn't miss anything. The cases themselves seem like they were merely snipped out of the main game without much thought, some of them even revealing certain story elements that were referred to "later" in the main plot without explanation. The original game was plenty long enough, so I didn't feel cheated, and the cases themselves were a natural extension of what made the game fun in the first place. Neat investigations and adequate action sequences abound.

Portal 2: Peer Review

The best kind of DLC is free DLC, and Valve knew that when they put out Peer Review, an extension to Portal 2 that added something similar to the challenge mode from the first game that was missing in the sequel, and more importantly, added a new section to the already stellar co-op campaign. This section mixed and matched various concepts from earlier in the co-op to put together some really fiendish puzzles, creating perhaps the most difficult (and no less entertaining) Portal gameplay that I've experienced. And of course it's framed within the context of Portal's very funny and entertaining universe, which means plenty of new GLaDOS quips and robot antics to laugh at. It's hard to get a better value for your no dollars.

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