Saturday, 28 August 2010

Borderlands DLC Triple Review!

Review time! And this time I'll be reviewing each piece of DLC for Borderlands so far, in anticipation of the latest addition to the DLC roster, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. Hopefully by now most of you will have played the product of pure awesome that is Borderlands, and this will give you low down on which pieces of DLC to get, and which to forget about. We'll start with...

The Zombie Island of Dr Ned

Aaah, zombies. Zombies are welcome in any game, and they definitely work in Borderlands. The story takes place on an island, obviously, which houses workers for Jakobs (a gun manufacturer in the Borderlands universe). There has been a zombie outbreak on the island, and you are the one to find out what caused it, and to put an end to it. There are new enemies, locations, 25 missions and more of the humour that made Borderlands so amazing. I would say that out of the three content packs, this is the one which provided the most chuckles. This isn't to say that it's the best overall though.
I was able to complete all the missions in just a few hours, which didn't really give me time to get used to all of the areas fully, and as the enemies are all the same apart from the few bosses (the bosses are all actually really cool), it can become repetitive quite fast. There aren't many NPCs in the content. This is obviously to add to the atmosphere of a zombie apocalypse, but it does feel like a very empty world, with only a Claptrap to talk to.

Whilst it is a good first attempt at DLC, it should have been better. Borderlands was such an ambitious project that you would expect the same of the extra content. Despite these few bad points, it is a fun little DLC, with some interesting missions and an intriguing, twisted plot, and if you're a big fan of Borderlands, you should definitely check this out.


Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

The second piece of DLC centres around Mad Moxxi's hunt for a new husband. She clearly is Mad, as she figures the best way to find a husband is to build three elaborate arenas, throw in the potential suitors, and send wave after wave of enemies at them to see if they're tough enough. The story ends shortly after it starts. The player is treated to a cutscene explaining the above, and then the missions start. Expect no more story at this point, as that isn't the point of the Underdome.
The Underdome Riot pits you against waves of enemies, getting increasingly harder after each round. A  round consists of 5 waves, and the first three arenas consist of 5 rounds. So all in all, 25 waves of enemies.The first round just pits you against the enemies, with no advantages or hindrances. Eventually though, there are bonuses put in place for a random number of waves. Some of the better bonuses include low gravity and high speed, the latter letting you cross the map in a matter of seconds. Most of the bonuses don't deserve that title however, as they are designed to give you more of a challenge. They range from the enemies being much stronger than you, to your health steadily depleting over the course of the round.

The Underdome Riot does provide the player with entertainment for a while, but soon gets very, very repetitive. The same five waves are repeated over the rounds, meaning that you see the same enemies every five rounds, the only difference being the fifth wave, or the Boss wave. On the Harder challenges though, you see each boss four times, as there are twenty rounds. TWENTY rounds. This literally takes hours to complete, and there is no option to save and continue. If you quit, you start again.

Maybe the increased level cap and massive experience points make it worth it. Oh wait, there isn't that stuff. You get no EXP per kill, just some for completing each arena. And not enough! For completing the first three arenas, you do get a skill point which is a really great reward, especially if you have reached the level cap. The enemies also do not drop weapons. At the end of each round, there is a weapon drop by Moxxi, but it is very easy to miss, so many players will probably not benefit from this.

There is no doubting that Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot adds many hours to Borderlands, but not particularly in the way that most people would like. The reward for completing each wave, round and arena just isn't great enough to truly justify all the time and skill needed to complete them.


The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Now we get to what is widely considered as the best DLC for Borderlands. It has structure, lots of new characters, new vehicles, weapons and enemies, and many new areas. It raises the level cap to 61, giving you 11 extra skill points to build your character with. So far so good.

This DLC is everything you could want from extra content for Borderlands. It lasts for such a long time, more than The Zombie Island and Underdome Riot combined, and the work put into it is obvious. One of the first missions sees you collecting car parts for Scooter (the very same Scooter from the original game), and then programming the finished vehicle into the Catch-A-Ride. There are three new vehicles overall, the Racer, the Lancer and the Monster. The first is all about speed, low on defence and attack, but by far the fasting thing ever to have graced the Borderlands. The Lancer and the Monster however, are both explosively awesome tank like vehicles. Each vehicle needs a different strategy, making each journey potentially unique and adding depth and tactics to the usually mundane driving sections.
One of your new allies in the game is a former Crimson Lance assassin, Athena. You could say she is awesome. She is a dual wielding ninja assassin from the future, I figure she qualifies for awesome. You must take out similar awesome assassins who all come with a gang of minions. These are just an example of some of the new enemies, to list them all would take a LONG time. That sentence can be used for many aspects of the DLC. It is so expansive, Gearbox could have easily charged 1200 or 1600 MSP for it. Heck, I would have been happy to pick this up as a retail game. 

One of the main problems with the previous DLC was the lack of loot. To say that the Secret Armory is the exact opposite is an understatement. If there was more loot, your brain would almost certainly implode at the thought of it. You see, the plot of the Secret Armory of General Knoxx is to destroy the Crimson Lance base before they can transport the contents of the Armory off of the planet. What is in the base, you ask? Buy it and see! 

I can not think of any DLC, from any other game that I would recommend more than this. It is perfect in every way, and a complete steal at 800 MSP. Gearbox have mastered downloadable content, and here's hoping that the fourth piece of content, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution will prove that. Only time will tell.



  1. I am finally going to start playing Borderlands...seeing the DLC review is a good prompt to get me going!


    Twitter: @ilRadd

  2. Good reviews. Really had high hopes for Moxxi. She is still my favorite character even though the DLC isn't the best. It is all worth it for the bank though for sure.


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  5. I started playing Borderlands about 4 months ago, after 2 months I bought all the DLC. If that doesen't say how fun this game is I don't know what will.
    Buy the DLC (even Moxxy) you wont regret it.