Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Borderlands 2 DLC, Part One

Post-Launch Review
Borderlands 2 DLC Part 1
Developer: Gearbox
Released: various

Since I've already posted a review of Borderlands 2 I'll skip the formatting and just write a bit on each DLC pack. This is the first half - I was able to play through two of the DLC packs this week.

One thing that's important to note before I go into specifics on each DLC pack: by default almost everything in the game scales only up to level 30. But you can level up to 50 (61 with the Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack), which means that by the time you finish the main story you'll probably be above the level of the DLC, making it trivially easy.

That's fine though - all you have to do is start your character on Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, which allows the entire game to scale up to 50. You can pop into the DLC right from the very beginning of the new game, so there's no time wasted unlocking it or anything. 

Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt

The gentlemanly Sir Hammerlock invites you on a weekend hunting trip. Since Hammerlock is such a cool dude, that in and of itself would have been fun on its own, but of course that's not all there is. When you arrive in the swamps you're immediately harassed by Dr Nakayama, an aspiring and incompetent supervillain who wants to be recognized as your new arch-nemesis post-Jack. That sounds a lot like the Monarch from Venture Bros, and that's fantastic (and if you haven't watched Venture Bros, you should).
The new environments - dark misty rocky swamp caves - are neat, but not very exciting visually. I mean, I like it, but it's all very monochromatic and blurs together pretty quick. Fortunately you get a new vehicle in which to navigate them - a fan boat with a choice of corrosive, shock, or explosive weaponry. It lets you strafe, unlike wheeled vehicles, which is great for circling large slow enemies.

The ending is hilarious. I can't really tell you what happens unless you want spoilers, but DAMN, I laughed pretty hard.

Verdict: story missions are hilarious, otherwise a bit bland.

Mister Torgue's Campaign of Carnage

Patricia Tannis has uncovered a new vault buried in a crater. She wants to research it. Mister Torgue, owner of the Torgue weapons manufacturing company, thinks research is boring. He's renamed the place the Badass Crater of Badassitude and he's holding a tournament to determine the number one badass on Pandora, and the winner gets to open the vault.

Torgue is so awesome. He screams when he talks, swears all the time while being bleeped out, and is obsessed with explosions and badassitude. He's fantastic and provides an excellent start to the campaign. The voice actor for Torgue is the same guy that did Mr Satan / Hercule in Dragonball Z, so you know he's good.
I also appreciated Moxxi's larger role. You learn a bit more about her backstory and character, and she becomes a little more sympathetic as she backs you up in the tournament, making her more than just a pretty face that spouts sexual innuendos.

There's a new currency too - Torgue tokens - that you earn for defeating bosses and badasses. These can be redeemed at special Torgue vending machines for guns that shoot explosions, with at least one legendary weapon (orange rarity) available at any given time. Playing through the DLC you'll certainly get enough tokens for at least one gun. It's a nice reliable way to get some good guns if you're willing to farm tokens.
So Mr. Torgue is awesome, and the big fights are awesome. The story missions are awesome. Even the side missions tend to be awesome, especially those provided by Torgue. I did have one issue though: there's something missing in the atmosphere to make it feel as badass as Torgue makes the whole thing sound. The music is a little too quiet and backgroundy, and the standard RPG quest structure means that the action isn't as nonstop as I'd like.

Verdict: f***ing badass.

Check back next week for my thoughts on Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty, as well as Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep!

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