A few days after 2K Games released the "Sinclair Solutions Test Pack," the first multiplayer-oriented add-on for BioShock 2, it was revealed that the DLC was not actually something you downloaded, but something already built into the game, you were merely downloading a key to unlock it. This revelation has thrown fans of the shooter, and its online modes, into a tizzy, crying foul, and deeming this a total rip-off.
The odd part is that they're right, but for all the wrong reasons. The issue isn't that the contents of "Sinclair" were already part of BioShock 2; the real issue is that the contents of "Sinclair" don't really add much to BioShock 2.
For those who haven't played BioShock 2 online yet, the game has seven different modes, including versions of “Team Deathmatch” (“Civil War”), “King Of The Hill” (“Turf War”), and “Capture The Flag” (“Capture The Sister”). It also has as a leveling up system akin to Modern Warfare 2, in that you gain Adam (read: experience) from killing or getting an assist on a kill, by winning or simply finishing a match, and by completing such “Trials” as killing a set number of enemies with a specific weapon. You can also gain Adam by hacking turrets and vending machines, by taking pictures of other player's dead bodies (which gives you a damage bonus against them), or just by picking up bottles of the stuff that's been left lying around where any kid can get his or her hand on it.
Oh, won't someone please think of the children?!
As for what "Sinclair" brings to festivities, the DLC adds two new playable characters, new masks for people to wear, a third set of upgrades for each of the weapons, new “Trials,” and a new level cap of 50, up from the default 40.
And that's it. It adds no new maps and no new gameplay types. Which means this doesn't add anything substantial that would refresh the game or make it play any differently. It doesn't even include any new Achievements or Trophies, say for reaching level 50, y'know, like every other game that raises its multiplayer level cap.
That said, some of the new additions aren't half bad. While some of the weapon upgrades are less effective or interesting than the ones already available (we prefer the grenade launcher's old homing grenades to its new faster-but-less-accurate rate of fire), some are on par with the older ones, such as the ability to turn the nail gun into a semi-automatic.
The same can be said for the new “Trials.” The bulk are related to the new weapon upgrade: using the aforementioned grenade launcher's faster-but-less-accurate firing rate to shoot off five grenades and kill two splicers nets you 75 Adam. The more interesting and challenging ones come when hit the odd-numbered levels between forty and fifty, such as the 1000 pointer unlocked when you hit level 43: “Win a match using only weapons, not firing a single plasmid once!”
The new characters and masks, however, are just superficial and cosmetic, and thus largely pointless, since neither have or add any individual attributes, save for the pithy comments a character makes when they kill someone.
Had this add-on been free, it would've been cut some slack. Especially since BioShock 2's online modes are still tons of fun. But at 400 Microsoft Points (or $4.99), there's just not enough here to reignite the interest of anyone who feels they've played it enough. You're probably better off waiting for a more substantial bit of content to download. Or unlock, as the case might be...