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Borderlands DoubleGame Add-On Pack (Xbox 360) artwork

Borderlands DoubleGame Add-On Pack (Xbox 360) review


"DLC has earned a reputation for being a quick and easy cash-grab, yet Gearbox’s efforts to expand the world of Pandora come off as anything but that; these are earnest and hearty attempts to deliver fans more of the engaging cooperative play we’ve already fallen in love with. Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack conveniently bundles two of the three currently available expansions onto one reasonably-priced disc, and it’s a worthwhile investment for those who haven’t made it already."



Given the popularity of Borderlands, it’s a noble effort on Gearbox’s part to continue servicing fans even after the big, juicy main product already did that. DLC has earned a reputation for being a quick and easy cash-grab, yet Gearbox’s efforts to expand the world of Pandora come off as anything but that; these are earnest and hearty attempts to deliver fans more of the engaging cooperative play we’ve already fallen in love with. Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack conveniently bundles two of the three currently available expansions onto one respectably-priced disc, and it’s a worthwhile investment for those who haven’t made it already.

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned should be self-explanatory: Players can access the island of Jakob’s Cove from any teleportation kiosk on Pandora, wherein they’ll find themselves amidst the zombie apocalypse. The new region’s dark, swampish terrain more appropriately fits this DLC’s newfound Halloween theme, and it’s a welcome change of pace from the generally dry and barren landscapes we’ve encountered in Borderlands so far. In addition to the legions of walking dead, we’re treated to hosts of other horror-themed foes (were-skags!), and the original game’s signature brand of humor thankfully remains in full supply. The new Claptrap we meet is a clever twist on old zombie movie clichés, and much attention is paid to the titular character and his resemblance to Dr. Zed from the main storyline. The final boss holds a surprise so devilish that even the Xbox 360’s achievement system is in on the joke.

Yet despite the presence of so many promising details – both old and new – I’m ultimately torn on this DLC. Jakob’s Cove is more of an homage than a legitimate take on horror, yet zombies by default just aren’t very interesting to fight, at least in this context. What I loved about Borderlands was its merging of exciting gunplay with the looting and grinding of traditional RPGs, and while there’s plenty of the latter, there’s far less in the way of pulse-pounding action. I admire the amount of content available here (it’s at least several hours’ worth), but I’m glad it’s only a temporary diversion. As it stands, it serves the purpose of briefly mixing things up, but by the time I was finished, I was very much ready to continue with the main adventure and get back to fighting enemies who actually shoot back.

Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, on the other hand, is arguably the most fun I’ve had with Borderlands yet, which is surprising given how trivial it initially seems. The idea of endurance-style arena combat has already been employed in countless RPGs and shooters alike, yet the Underdome turns out to be a natural fit for the sort of teamwork-based gunplay that made Borderlands so fun to begin with. Every wave you fight pertains to a theme: There’s always a relatively easy “starter wave” to warm you up, followed by groups of enemies that attack you with guns or melee weapons, and each round ends with a boss encounter plucked from the central storyline. This is all accompanied by the incessant heckling of Moxxi herself, who’s nice enough to offer weapon pickups in between rounds.

No experience points are rewarded for any of your Underdome exploits, and coupled with the arena’s eventually grueling difficulty, it feels as though this DLC is tailored for those who have already reached the level cap and are looking for an additional challenge, which should apply to many dedicated Borderlands players. The roulette-style conditions applied to each round – such as strengthening or weakening certain weapons types, or forcing players to kill enemies quickly to restore their constantly-draining health – often inspire the sort of on-the-spot strategizing that makes this sort of cooperative play so engaging in the first place. If you’re looking to tackle the Underdome, it’s recommended that you do so with the people you’ve been playing Borderlands alongside and are comfortable getting tactical with. You're in for hours of challenging and intense combat, which is precisely what Zombie Island somewhat lacked.

Both of the DLCs present in this package are so vastly different that you’ll probably find yourself leaning in one direction or the other. I obviously very much preferred Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, but either way, it’s impossible to complain about the value of this disc when there’s so much additional content being offered. If you’re looking to lengthen your visit to Pandora, one way or another, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. It’s a meaty expansion to an already meaty central experience.

Rating: 8/10

Suskie's avatar
Freelance review by Mike Suskie (May 06, 2010)

Mike Suskie is a freelance writer who has contributed to GamesRadar and has a blog. He can usually be found on Twitter at @MikeSuskie.

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zippdementia posted May 07, 2010:

Good review, Suskie. I only meant to glance through this, but ended up reading it in detail. You didn't go overboard with examples and the length was nicely short. A good highlight of personalizing the experience and getting across the feel of the game by describing your response to the reader. I felt like a friend was telling me about the game and I came away knowing how it would feel to play it.
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Suskie posted May 07, 2010:

Thanks, Zipp. By the way, have you played Borderlands? I vaguely remember you saying you were interested in it, so the very fact that you gave this review a glance has me wondering if you've gotten around to it yet.
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zippdementia posted May 07, 2010:

I haven't! I saw it played a couple times and was on the fence about it. My main reason for not picking it up is because the friend I was going to co-op on it bought it for the PC and hated it. So now I have no one to play it with :(
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Suskie posted May 07, 2010:

Ack! I found a typo:

In addition to the legions of walking dead, we’re treated to hosts of other horror-themed foes (were-swags!), and the original game’s signature brand of humor thankfully remains in full supply.

Should be "were-skags." Thanks to whoever gets around to fixing that.

Done

Thank you, Sir Hartley.

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