2009 Reviews

Borderlands DLC's

  • Review Date: 2014-02
  • Release Date: 2009-11
  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Rating: 8.0

The Borderlands DLC's are good mixed bag. DLC1 is fantastic providing a nice new theme. DLC4 is also very good with a set of levels feeling like they came straight out of the full game. DLC3 is decent but drags a bit with too much driving and some pretty boring and long-winded sequences. DLC2, however, is the only true black sheep that definitely isn't worth the money. But overall three very good DLC's that are also much longer than your standard DLC's. In fact, put these three together and you've probably more than a standard games worth of playtime, easily over 10 hours.


The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

Released November 24, 2009

This is what DLC's should be like. A good 4-5 hours of gameplay, all new enemies, all new levels. You could almost consider this a mini-game at that length!

The DLC takes place in the new area or Jakob's Cove, where Dr Ned has turned all the inhabitants into zombies and the odd werewolf. There's a number of different kinds, mostly fairly slow but one that spits at you, slowing you down and impairing your vision. This is where things can get tricky especially as you can get outnumbered and surrounded. Gearbox, sadly, went for re-spawn enemies behind you to make it more challenging. But this can be fucking annoying. There's several bigger zombies and even a number of mini-bosses, although playing through from level 36-40 on playthrough 1, most of the mini-bosses were dead before I even had a chance to look at them.

The DLC seemed to want to keep feeding me high-spec sniper rifles and rocket launchers, but strangely by level 15 Detonating Sniper was still more affective than anything at high level 30's. I did, however, pick up an awesome shotgun that could take down Badass Bruisers in three hits.

The levels are more creative than the original game, taking a horror/halloween theme throughout. One of the best scenes was as you look up towards Dr Ned's lumber yard in the distance. Absolutely epic. In some ways it's a shame the original game couldn't have given a bit more variety like this DLC has.

If the rest of the DLC's are as good as this one, I think almost give Borderlands Game of the Year edition an extra half a point as they will improve the entire game with the added variety.


Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

Released December 29, 2009

This is the disappointment of the bunch, consisting of three medium sized arenas. I played the first, got through the first 10 of 25 rounds and had already had enough. That was already probably almost an hours combat, so another few hours of this in the same three arenas? No fucking thanks. While it introduces the best character in Borderlands - Mad Moxxi - this DLC is only for hardcore players happy to spend five hours of solid completely repetitive combat without a break. Non-stop because you can't exit or save in an arena.


The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Released February 23, 2010

After the disappointing Underdome Riot DLC, it's back to a proper release for the third official DLC. General Knoxx is a good 4 hours length, featuring all new levels. Sadly, they're nowhere near as interesting Zombie Island, being mostly made up of long highways surrounded by natural terrain. The biggest issue with this DLC is that it feels like you spend so much time driving instead of fighting. But then when you do finally get to fight, it's one big tough enemy after another. Not too tough, of course, as I was still 4-5 skill levels above the DLC anyway, so it really wasn't too difficult. But if I were on the same level I imagine it would be a more challenging campaign. For this reason I didn't feel the need to play through all the optional missions. With only one DLC left after this, I don't need to keep levelling up.

In the end you have three minutes to raid a huge armoury of weapons. I left pretty frustrated, having not really got anything of value at all, nothing above $100,000 or even something to beat the level 15 Detonating Sniper which still seems to be more affective than any Sniper since then for non-headshots.

The story was pretty good, as you work with Mad Moxxi to break Athena out of prison. This is the highlight of the campaign. Then you get to take on General Knoxx in his armoury.  

There's lots of new enemies; from heavily armoured slow-moving humans to the very agile assassins, and even the Rocketeer.

One other issues is that the framerate is very choppy at times, especially when driving. Gearbox may have pushed the limit on level size here.

And a final word... partly my mistake... I was curious about what Crawmerax looked like and what loot he dropped. I headed in there on skill level 44, got chucked off the site four times in a row before barely making a scratch. So I just chucked on a one-hit-kill for fun. Turns out all the gear is level 58+ stuff, not usable. But then because Borderlands has no saving I couldn't undo what I'd done and turns out DLC4 defaults to level 60 if you've defeated Crawmerax. What a fuck up.

Overall it's certainly not as good as Zombie Island, but a decent length so satisfying enough.



Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

September 28, 2010

This is more like it. Back to the standards of DLC1. Decent length, again. Good story as you have to stop the Claptrap Revolution, with a rogue army of Claptraps with various attacks. They are somewhat refreshing because they're low in health but attack in numbers. So my tactics were quite a bit different to previous as I was able to use an Automatic Rifle for most of the DLC. This may have been also because I finally had an effective Rifle, at least more effective than the Sniper Rifle and Shotgun. As mentioned above I had to upgrade my skill level from 44 to the 60's (thanks WillowTree) in order to play DLC4, since all the enemies are 60+. That also meant all my old weapons I'd collected across the 30 odd hours were now worthless, leaving me with the dozen I'd collected from Crawmerax. No big deal, they were pretty good. Five times the armour I had before, more than double the Sniper Rifle damage. But despite that the Pearl Havoc rifle provided the most enjoyable gameplay.

Aslo some old enemies and bosses return, having been modified by the Claptrap army.

What's best is about DLC4 is simply a great new set of levels to explore, carrying existing Borderlands themes but none of the great open spaces or long trekking. It's all in close proximity.


Borderlands DLC's