Minerva's Den is a very fun stand alone adventure set in the Bioshock 2 Universe. It is has a self contained story about a scientist who invented the computing machine which controls much of Rapture's infrastructure (the Thinker) but who was double crossed by his partner. The story is well developed and engaging and the gameplay is fun too. It is intended for people who have already played Bioshock 2 so the difficulty level is reasonably challenging but you get a few new weapons and plasmids to play with which gives it a bit of variety.
Burial at sea episode 1 is an add on for Bioshock Infinite which brings Elizabeth and Booker DeWitt from Columbia into the world of Rapture. I found the gameplay very challenging but a lot of the blame for this is down to my stubborn insistence on sticking with Hard level. However the high difficulty highlighted the game's frustrating lack of the ability to save anywhere and the checkpoint spacing is generally terrible. There is a storyline but it is quite forgettable and all in all I would rate this one of my least enjoyable Bioshock experiences. The only real function it serves is to establish the link between Rapture and Columbia.
Burial at Sea episode 2 is the follow on to episode 1 but is surprisingly a much better experience all round. You play as Elizabeth and the game introduces a new stealth based playstyle which is a fun new way to experience Rapture and later in the game Columbia. I enjoyed this a lot and actually found it easier in many ways than the normal kill everything approach, particularly later in the game after I got upgrades which allowed me free instant invisibilty. Episode 2 is also overflowing with story snippets although much of these don't make sense unless you have played through previous Bioshock games. This is definitely a wrapper up for the entire series which endeavours to tie up all loose ends. There are plenty of opportunities to wander off the direct path and explore stuff often gaining insights into previous elements of Bioshock. The opening scene deserves a particular mention because for the first time ever it gives you the ability to wander through pre-cataclysm Rapture. It is really only a snippet and a tantalising one at that but it makes me sad that Irrational never set an entire game during this period.
Burial at sea ties up all the loose ends from the Bioshock storyline but sadly it also appears to have been a final swan song from developer Irrational games. How sad it is that such a group of talented game developers was wound up and dispersed earlier this year. Look at the following list of games taken from theWikipedia article on Irrational. Every single one of them is a triumph of gaming:
|1999||System Shock 2||Yes||N/A||Yes||N/A|
|2005||Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich||No||N/A||Yes||N/A|