Gearbox Software?s sleeper hit Borderlands was released in late 2009 and was well received. To date, I have put countless hours into this game and loved every minute of it. If I were to make a list of games this generation that I was a fan of and consider staple games, Borderlands would make said list with no problems. I then checked email last Tuesday to find 2 redeem codes for the latest Borderlands DLC; The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (What shall I do with the extra I wonder?). This DLC includes a lot and takes up the hard disk drive space to show it (clocking in at about 1.7 GB). Here are the contents of this DLC:
– Almost twice the size of The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
– A brand new class of ultra-rare/kick-ass weapons
– New vehicles including one that allows for four players to drive and inflict damage and deal out death
– An exciting story line that picks-up where the original game left off
– Almost 30 new villain types
– A level cap increase to 61
– More difficult villains and smarter A.I.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx’s story focuses on Pandora post the opening of the Vault. The Crimson Lance, under orders of the Atlas Corporation, are trying to take control of Pandora. As one of the original four Vault Hunters who opened the vault, your new goal is to remove this new problem to the people of Pandora. It appears you will have help this time from some familiar characters and a new one (don’t want to give any spoilers).
The Crimson Lance is drastically new and improved. They have new enemies types to deal with. These include ninja-like assassins that dual-wield swords, special elemental soldiers impervious to damage from specifics elements, heavily armored foes, and new variants of Pandora thugs/hoodlums. The previously mentioned A.I. plays a huge role in this. Gone are the days where some people will complain that Borderlands isn’t challenging enough. The A.I. is smart, more accurate and lethal, and is in better set up teams. Also, you can expect to run into enemies slightly higher in level than you. I know they tell you to be at least a level 35 before trying this DLC. I would say, bring a level 50 or expect failure. Heck, that level 50 will be respawning a few times. This DLC is very challenging. I now have to literally concentrate on one foe at a time. Efficient use of powers, ammo, and cover are a must. Over all, the “feeling” of the original game in both design and dialogue is carried over here very well and some new funny information is bestowed upon players (like hilarious and shocking mother – son paring). T-Bone Junction (the name of the new town) caters to vehicular transportation. Finally, four players can ride in the same vehicle with the new Lancer. There are a few more new vehicles to try out as well, and they handle well. One complaint I do have about the vehicles is that their weapons are weak. Hell, some times I have to run into enemies twice just to kill them. To be fair, the rockets on some vehicles do seem to track based on where you have the aim reticule.
This is the best DLC of the three hands down. In all honesty, other companies can take note from Gearbox Studios about how DLC is done. This DLC is not just some extra costumes that are already on disc. This DLC also has loot upgrades, unlike the first two DLC releases. I felt way more motivated to keep playing this DLC than either of the other two and the new loot definitely contributed toward this. The Secret Armory of General Knoxx adds a depth to the story that even the original campaign lacked. With Scooter, Moxxi (from the previous DLC), and Marcus having roles in this adventure accompanied by some amusing new bosses (especially a odd prison mate). There is also a new arena for deathmatch, though I honestly don’t see it being used much since it stands out oddly from the rest of what this DLC provides. For future DLC, level cap raises should be more frequent. Basically, they need to make the regimen used in this DLC standard from now on. Adding new characters and maybe even class abilities would be ideal.
The Secret Armory of General Knoxx has reset the bar for my expectations of DLC in games. For its price (800 Microsoft points/$10 on PSN and PC), it is a great deal, even by computer gaming standards. Also, this DLC can be enjoyed solo or cooperatively. This was not the case with the last two DLCs, especially the second one (reviewed HERE). The Secret Armory of General Knoxx will give you good reason to venture back to Pandora and begin the skag killing and loot hunting. Also, this DLC is pretty lengthy as well so expect to spend some hours in this game. Getting from level 50 to the new level cap of 61 is not something that will happen in 3 hours, even if you are power leveled (which is really difficult in this DLC so I would not recommend if for those purposes). Gearbox has found a way to keep Borderlands in my gaming rotation for the foreseeable future and I am not mad at them for that. It is about time I found a game that had this much replayability and cooperative potential. Lets hope other companies take note of this and how they make DLC.