A little belated, but here's my review for the main game of Borderlands. This'll be the same style as the review of the DLC below.
Everything in the game looks nice, but Pandora is such a dead planet, that it's kinda boring to look at after a while. Later on the environments change up a good bit, but it never looses that Wasteland feel. Which is what they were going for, so I can't really fault them. The guns, which almost overshadow the characters as the stars of the game, are where you'll see the most diverse graphics. The characters are all well done, and you can customize their color schemes, which is a nice touch.
The background music isn't bad, but there's nothing spectacular. Except for the main theme, Ain't No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant. It's awesome, and can be heard here. (Video is dumb, so pay it no mind.) As for the sound effects, their a sight better than the background music. The different gun types do sound different, and each effect fits it's weapon well. Voice acting is great, what there is of it. Your characters don't really talk except to spout amusing one liners when they kill enemies with a critical hit. Everyone else talks a lot though, and how it sounds goes a long way to making these characters as memorable as they are.
Game Play: 10/10
Excellent. They've certainly made good on their claim that this is a hybrid of an FPS and an RPG. There are elemental affiliations for weapons and creatures. Every type of creature has one or more 'elite' versions that are a lot tougher to bring down, really more like mini bosses. The bosses themselves are alright, but I do wish they'd put more work into them. In the DLCs that follow, they do a lot to make up for this.
Characters gain experience and levels as they progress which serves two purposes. Firstly, factors in determining how much damage you do to enemies, and how much you take from them. If an enemy is higher level, it'll take longer to kill, and kill you pretty quickly too. You're warned of tougher enemies by helpful little Skull icon appearing next to their name.
Secondly, at every level you gain a skill point to be placed into a skill up to 5, each one increasing the skill's effectiveness. There are three different trees for each character, and all are open to you. Each tree has four levels. Once five points are in the first level (total points, they need not be in one skill) you can access the second level. What results is a varied way to customize each character for your personal play style, though each character has it's own combat role to play...which brings us to the main point for the game.
The Multiplayer. The entire game can be completed alone, but it's no secret that the designers really want you to play with friends (or some random people lol). Enemies get tougher the more people you play with. The loot also gets much better. Finding a gun in single player that's good is not uncommon, but finding that same gun in multiplayer makes it far more likely to be much stronger. Plus, all Exp and Money earned is shared completely. You pick up $100, everyone gets $100. Same with Exp.
In short, the game gets more fun the more people you have.
If I have to pick a complaint, it's that more enemy variety would've been nice.
There's fairly little in the way of actual story. The game mainly serves as a vehicle with which to give you massive amounts of humor. Everything in this game is pretty hilarious. With tons of pop culture references hidden here and there...or smacking you in the face. Some are obvious only if you're pretty familiar with their target. (Such as the Ludicrous Speedway. Got to be a Space Balls fan to get that one. lol)
The game really only sets out to be funny, and thoroughly succeeds. If you can play this without laughing, it's because you have not sense of humor. Something here for everyone.
Final Score: 9/10The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned DLC
The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned definitely adds some fun to the Borderlands experience, but is it worth the price of admission? Tough call. Everything it does is as well done as the rest of the game, but it really feels like they might've done a bit more.
Genuinely creepy everywhere you go. The humor still comes in too, as you'll often hear over your com announcements from the Jakobs corporation. Very amusing.
You'll be mostly fighting zombies. Undead townsfolk NPCs, undead bandits, skeletal rakk. They are much like fighting their normal counterparts, with the exception that they will almost all try to close in for melees as opposed to relying on Pandora's abundance of guns. This certainly doesn't make them less dangerous, however. Most enemies have attacks that can inflict Stun slowing you down for several seconds.
There are several different kinds of enemies, but the similarity of their attack patterns makes me feel like I'm fighting the same enemies over and over. I'll list them in a separate post. A little more variety would have been nice, but a somewhat improved quality of the AI goes a ways to making up for this. The look and feel of all the enemies is also very nice and adds to the atmosphere.
There's not a whole lot of story to be had, but what is there is funny and entertaining in the same way I've come to expect of Borderlands. If you like the rest of the game, then you'll like this.
Not quite enough variety, nor quite enough of them in general. There are fetch quests, and kill quests. A few are what you'd expect in this setting; survive the zombie onslaught until X way out appears. A couple provide good new minibosses. One fifth (5) of the new quests are just gathering zombie brains for a certain character. This can be done by killing one with a critical hit (most often via headshot, meaning you're literally blowing their brains out, lol. And you can't help but laugh at the role reversal. I recklessly charge the zombie horde with the intent of ripping open their skulls while crying "Brains! I must have more brains!"). More missions in the next installment please, Gearbox? It's a really wonderful set of levels, and I'd much like more reason to run around in them.
Not just the look, but the layout of these levels is really good. At any step you could be surrounded by zombies, but if you look around a bit you can often find cover or good positions from which to defend yourself making the hordes more manageable for a solo player. Some places evoke some classic creepy images, while others are reused, if altered set pieces from the rest of the game. The most obvious one is a remake of Old Haven (including zombie versions of it's inhabitants). The layout is altered with many paths blocked off, you start in a different place, and of course, everything is all undeaded up. Your foray here is fairly short, and Gearbox was honest about what it was calling the place simply "Dead Haven".
This is the same as the rest of Borderlands. The slightly improved enemy AI makes you pay attention a bit more. The mob tactics, sneak attacks, stun inducing attacks, and the faster bleed outs can make for a bit of challenge.
The only fault I can find with the game is that it leaves me wanting more. Bottom line, if you like the game, then you'll like this too. If you've got the money ($9.99 American) spare, then getting this isn't a waste of it. If you haven't yet bought Borderlands, then you may want to hold off on getting it as you might (and this is speculation on my part) see a Greatest Hits or Game of the Year edition that already has this DLC included in the future.
As stated above, here's a breakdown of the enemies and their tactics. This I'll put in a spoiler tag as it's only intended for use if you need a little help with these guys. If you find any other good ways to fight them, then post up and I'll edit them in with proper credit.
I'll also post the same warning yet again here regarding the collection of Zombie Brains.
To avoid a spoiler, I'll just say that you need to go to the southwest corner of Hallow's End. The questgiver is in a house tucked away in it's own corner, just below the Pumpkin Patch on the map. You can get all the brains you need for the first three of those missions before leaving that area. Just make sure not to pick up any brains before you get the quest. (Actually, don't pick up any period in any area until you get the quest. Any brains collected before the quest is received are wasted. Leave them where they lay. They stay on the ground where they drop until you pick them up, or until you turn the game off.) And once you're on the quest, only pick up as many as you need. Leave the rest for the next quest. Mad Moxxi's Underdome DLC
Here are a few things to know that I've picked up so far in my one playing of the DLC's first tournament.
1. The bank is located just inside the start area. It's a claptrap with a tux theme. It can store several items default, but upgrades can be purchased from the weapons machine in the first room.
2. The first tournament is structured like this:
Each Round consists of 5 Waves of enemies. Each Wave has a theme. As of yet, there has been no variation that I've noticed. They always proceed in the same order, but each gets harder the more rounds you get into the game.
Wave 1: Starter Wave- Has some bandits and skaggs of varying types in it.
Wave 2: Gun Wave- Has mostly bandits with better guns that usual. Later rounds get a few Bruisers.
Wave 3: Horde Wave- Has nothing but Psychos of various types. Learn the area and run backwards a lot while shooting a good close range weapon.
Wave 4: "Elite" Wave- This one usually has several Crimson Lance soldiers in it. Only one of which has a shield.
Wave 5: Boss Wave- Contains a random, though buffed, Boss or Mini Boss as well as a few minions. I know it's random because I died fighting Bonehead (If you hated him at level 11, imagine how much he sucks at level 50. He's the only boss I lost to so far.) in Round 4, only to repeat that round and face Baron Flynt. So far I've also fought Hans & Franz, Mad Jack (and me without my car to just run over him, dang), Sledge (who you can cheap to death), Tyler Cob, Captain McCloud, and Reaver.
After each wave Moxxie, who you can see atop the center spire, will drop several large containers of health and ammo that quickly shrink and vanish. Health restores you to full, while the ammo contains a set amount of every type of bullet. NOTE: For whatever reason, there are no health and ammo drops after a Boss wave!
After each Round, several weapons will drop in the spawn area. Grab them quick as they'll disappear once the next wave starts. Best bet is probably to just pick them all up and sort them out after you win or lose.
A few rounds in you'll start seeing a slot machine come up after each wave. This will assign one (and later up to four, though I didn't get past two) random effect on you, the enemies, or the arena.
Ones I've seen so far include:
Weapon specific strengthening effects that make one type of gun stronger while weakening all others.
Low Gravity. Very fun as it allows you make huge jumps so you can reach otherwise inaccessible areas to use for cover.
Weakened Criticals. Headshots deal normal damage.
Strengthened Criticals. Headshots deal much higher damage, but all other shots do less.
No shields for you, but you very slowly regen health.
Enemies regen shields faster.
Enemies have stronger shields.
Enemies regen health.
There may have been others, but I can't recall.
Note: Whatever effects were on in Round 4 will still be on in Round 5. They don't change.
During multiplayer, if you die and aren't revived or get a Second Wind, then you'll be sent to the penalty box, which is also located under the center spire. You'll remain there for the rest of the round, but can still contribute by shooting from above.
If everyone wipes out, then you'll be given a choice of whether or not to try again. You'll start over from a previous round. Eg. I died in round five and had to start again at the beginning of round four. It's structured like this throughout.The Secret Armory of General Knox DLC
I'll just focus on the what's new, good or bad for this section.
This DLC picks up where the main story left off. Your characters are now being hunted specifically by legions of Crimson Lance soldiers...even more than last time. And they've all learned some new tricks. This falls into the category of Good things, surprisingly.
Most Lance now have an elemental affiliation like other critters. Shock Troopers use shock weapons, and take less damage from electric attacks, with Pyros (Fire) and Chems (Corrosive) following suit, with elite versions taking it even further.
That aside, there aren't too many new enemies. there are a few old enemies with new skins, but the same behaviors. Other notable additions are skag riding midgets, elite midgets, Drifters (huge enemies meant to be taken on in vehicles) and Destructors (huge lance Mech suits). The new variety was nice, but I'd have liked to see a little more.
Any concerns about the difficulty of boss fights have been thoroughly put to rest. The game's last story boss fight is well balanced, and can be defeated though a bit of skill and proper preparation. The game's secret final boss, however, is an absolute Nightmare. With this one they really wanted to encourage teamwork, and while he can be soloed, I really wouldn't recommend it without just the right setup of skills, guns, and mods. As well as a truckload of luck.
Another new addition are the three new available types of vehicle. The Monster is an about average speed truck with a homing rocket launcher (that works wonders against those Drifters) and higher than average armor. The Racer is a high speed car with low armor. The third vehicle is practically a tank, it has so much armor and goes fairly slow. The Lancer is a four seat vehicle with a laser gun, a mine launcher, and a Blast weapon that damages anything immediately around you. Sadly, the latter two weapons won't see much real use as thing rarely follow in a predictable pattern to hit them with the mines, and though the Blast might seem good not much really gets close to be hit by it. Would've been better served with a second turret, imho.
There are now many Crimson Lance chests scattered around Lance outposts and fortifications. These are like red chests in the main game, but contain more items per chest. This gives you a better (though still slim) chance of getting the new Pearl weapons, which are the highest rarity rating.
The increase in level cap lets you further develop your characters, but not so much that they become unstoppable killing machines. You'll still have to work to beat the enemies the game throws at you.
One of the best things about this add on is how more focus is placed on the story. Important characters now get a cut scene introduction that better defines their characters and increases immersion a bit. When giving out missions they can still be treated like bulletin boards, but if you choose to you can listen to them actually say what it is they want you to do. There's also more chatter over the Echo to further establish the characters. It's really nice and spices up the running from here to there with more of the great humor we've come to expect from this game.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Gearbox is doing a great job of listening to their players. More importantly, they're not giving them everything they want, just the stuff that works. If they keep on like this with future dlc and games, then I can see myself being a Gearbox fan for a long time to come.
Original thread here:http://sixthnation.forumotion.net/sony-f39/borderlands-t639.htm