Since the first Borderlands 2 trailer, I’ve been utterly hooked. However, with the disappointment of the second DLC  still hanging over my shoulders, I was apprehensive coming into Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt.

Fortunately, the team over at Gearbox have taken a completely different approach, and at the same time, made something that fits the Borderlands franchise perfectly.

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox
Release Date: Out Now
Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Version Tested: PC
Price: 800MSP / £8.00

Once downloaded, players can access their newly unlocked destination through the map.  In doing so, they will be greeted by the opening cut-scene which explains how the main story arc marries up to the whole DLC. A mad ol’ professor called Nakayama has been trying to create and perfect clones of Handsome Jack and is just aching for a new enemy to test them out against. Players learn this after receiving multiple calls from the begging and pleading prof, who, frankly, comes across as being a bit desperate. At times, the dialogue in these calls feels repetitive and lacking of the biting wit the series is renowned for. Unfortunately, these initial interactions make the character of Nakayama more annoying than entertaining. Put it this way, he’s definitely no Handsome Jack. I guess that’s kind of the point.

Still, it all looks good.

Still, it all looks good.

Still, Borderlands fans will know the game isn’t all about the story. That’s one thing this DLC definitely doesn’t skimp out on; loot. SHBGH will have players fighting new and old enemies such as Witch Doctors, Boroks and good old fashioned Bullymongs just to get their hands on lovely lolly. Standard enemies will drop the usual White, Green and Blue items, however, when players begin to farm bosses and quests, that’s when the equipment really shines with Legendaries and Uniques. A good example is a shield players get early on called the Rough Rider; whilst it doesn’t actually give players a shield, it does boost their resistance to all damage types whilst giving them a decent health buff. There’s also a bunch of new Seraph weapons available from the vendor at Hunter’s Grotto, such as Hawk Eye, a sniper rifle with up 600% critical hit damage, and the Interfacer, a shotgun that fires slow moving projectiles in a vertical spread.

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The environments are extremely diverse

As we’ve established, there are still bajillions of guns to choose from, unique, interesting plot points still crop up unexpectedly and as you might expect, SHBGH has a vibrant, wacky cast of characters, yet there remains something incomplete about this DLC. Although the areas are quite extensive, at times, they feel deserted and empty. Players could be walking around for ages only to find a house with nothing lootable inside it. The area design isn’t bad, in fact some vistas players visit within the DLC are beautiful. They’re just so barren.

Barren lands

Barren lands

 

Additionally, the length of the DLC remains a problem. As with Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage and Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, there’s not a massive amount of playtime to be found here. Even when taking part in all of the side-quests, SHBGH is only going to take around 7 hours to complete in full. After previous add-ons in the Borderlands series, such as The Claptrap Robot Revolution, that’s slightly disappointing.  Equally disappointing is that the level cap still hasn’t been raised above 50, although Gearbox are looking to raise that in the next few months. For now, though, it almost feels pointless walking around with a level 50 character already equipped with top-flight gear. Most of the loot drops offer wares that are far inferior to what the player is already wearing. Don’t get me wrong, SHBGH isn’t easy. Unlike previous Borderlands 2 content, enemies have been scaled up so they pose a threat to even the most experienced Vault Hunter. What it does mean, however, is that most items given out won’t be helpful to anyone above level 48.

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There’s still some cool weapons to find

In closing, Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt is a cracking piece of DLC, but at times, falls short.  It’s disappointing to see such big, glorious areas appear so empty, and it does raise some development questions. Still, this is a must for any Borderlands fan, or for anyone who has an affinity for lootin’ and shootin’.

At £8, this is a worthy investment. SHBGH introduces new characters, loot and enemies for players to test their Vault Hunter’s skills. I would, however, recommend players co-op with a few friends in a group of level 40 characters to get the most out of the content. Not only will SHBGH offer a better challenge, the gear will also be much more appropriate. Just how the devs intended.

Pros:

  • Lots of new loot
  • New enemies
  • Some of the best new areas I’ve seen created by the Gearbox team
  • Maintains the same humor you know and love.

Cons:

  • Some empty areas of the map
  • Main villain has repetitive dialogue
  • Short playtime

 Rating: 4 out of 5

 Lots to like here, but still disappointingly short and no standout, must-have loot for a level 50 character

 

Borderlands 2 is available now on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or PC


  • Keanan Hampton

    Aaron good job! Very interesting. I like how you wigh out the pros and cons. :D