We reviewed Borderlands back in February and since then a pair of DLCs have been released - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx and just this week... Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. During our review we touched on the first two - Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot and Dr. Ned's Zombie Island - and felt it was a goot time to revisit Pandora.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx opens up in a new part of Pandora, home to several old friends and a few new enemies. Atlas Corporation is understandably upset with you for your efficient dismantling of their Crimson Lance army and has hired four teams of assassins to take you out. A gruff and sarcastic General Knoxx arrives on Pandora to secure Atlas' interests and begins stockpiling weaponry. As you can see, the odds are stacked against you.

Some favor befalls you, however, and thanks to Scooter's three new vehicles you'll find it a little easier to make your way around. New weapons and gear can be found, including the ultra-rare Pearlescent/Cyan grade of arms. You'll be thankful as there are many nasty new threats to your good health, such as new versions of the Crimson Lance, a gigantic spindly-legged species of spider, Skags bearing bomb-toting midgets, and a number of unspeakable monstrosities.

The writing is especially strong this time around. Borderlands has always been chock full of pop references and dry wit, but the characters that are introduced or fleshed out in SAGK are memorable and have great lines. General Knoxx, the grizzled old war hero grumbles aloud about his infantile superiors:

"I know I said I wasn't gonna update you again you brainless moppet, but I thought I would share the news that former Agent Athena has been working with a quartet of donkeys that bested our bulimic albino commandant. You remember Athena, right? Killed the Dahl undersecretary for us a while back? Oh wait, that was before you were born. Unbelieveable."

A secretively gay duo rule the local prison where they hold hostage Athena, who declares upon her rescue that prison wasn't so bad...

"Mostly they just wanted to do my nails and talk about boys all the time. I almost sort of liked it here. They were like the sisters I never had because Atlas duped me into killing them. Wow, that got heavy, didn't it?"

It's a very colorful cast.

Gearbox also answered the call from gamers for a tough, respawning boss. A sign labeled the "Secret Final Boss" leads the way to a real handful for just about any team which, when killed, rightfully drops an epic load of loot. Completing the main storyline will also give you a few runs at the Atlas armory where, for a brief time, you can help yourself to a skyscraper full of goodies. A smart about-face from the pushover final boss and subsequent anemic loot drop from the main game. It gives you a reason to keep coming back.

Content-wise, SAGK is a real champ amongst the other DLC. Fourty-four new missions complement the additional weaponry, enemies and vehicles very well. The variety is impressive and you'll find yourself involved in any number of different assignments, from erasing lewd graffiti to duking it out arena-style for a shot at entry to the ranks of the Crimson Lance. It looks great too; the level design team managed to give you plenty of new things to see without ever losing the sense that you're still on Pandora. The single gripe I have with it is that a single New-U station exists amongst the sprawling play areas. Long highways shoot out from your entry-point and you sometimes finding yourself driving as much as shooting. You might even find yourself quiting the game if you're far from the hub, just so you can respawn in T-bone Junction.

The bottom line is that if you own and enjoy Borderlands, Knoxx is the must-have of all the DLC. It doesn't hurt that you also gain things like a level cap that is raised to 61, new achievements, and more backpack space. The hours of time you'll spend playing through this enjoyable episode and the replayability it offers makes it the perfect complement to the base game.


Second Opinion

Sir_Brizz: Secret Armory of General Knoxx is a riotous romp back through some unvisited areas of Pandora. Atlas Corp is back on your tail and wants you dead, so once again you have to save yourself by causing mortal harm upon their leader. The writing is superb, the areas are expansive, and the primary thing you will find yourself missing (yet again) are fast travel posts between the various areas (I do NOT want to travel to Road's End again... but I do!). New vehicles, new weapons, new achievements, new areas and an overall interesting cast make this the must-have expansion for Borderlands. A really superb piece of work. 9/10

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution offers a fourth shot at a brand new adventure in Pandora as well as a shot at the robot that everyone either loves or loves to hate. Hyperion is none-too-happy about the hit their business has taken since your team of adventurers began plundering loot. Way to dilute the marketplace! One of their Claptrap robots has been reprogrammed and assigned to take you out through means of subversion. Unfortunately for all, he's also started a revolution amongst his fellow Claptraps. A robolution. It's your job to shut him down.

The premise is great and while there are some truly hysterical lines from the cast, the story just doesn't stand up to SAGK. Whereas Atlas sent assassins to track you down, Hyperion seems quite content to let you wander about, dangling the occasional carrot. Only once during the story do you feel a threat to your own personal space.

The gameplay remains the same for the most part and the evil Claptraps, while potent enough in swarms, ultimately fails to challenge. The Hyperion guards, on the other hand, are a little tougher. The remaining enemies are mostly subtly altered versions of what you've seen before, which ultimately creates a sense of "been there, done that"

There are no new vehicles in CNRR. There are no vehicles whatsoever, so add that to your plus or minus column. The developer did a nice job creating a reasonably large play area that links around a central hub and there are no lengthy highways like you find in Knoxx. All satellite areas are less than a minute away by foot. What really stands out though is that almost every area feels like it was constructed on a much grander scale than anything found in the base game or the other DLC. By that I mean that the setpieces used to flavor the area are absolutely immense and many of them are navigable. Using a bit of creative climbing you can reach a few really stunning vistas and are usually rewarded with a hidden chest or two for being extra adventurous. Even though most weapons you'll find tend to be a bit on the weak side, there's always a vending machine nearby. If Knoxx is known for weapon farming, then Claptrap surely takes the cash crown.

Without giving away too much, the theme of this DLC seems to be "something old plus something new". And if this is the final piece of the Borderlands puzzle, then it's not so much a Grand Finale as it is a pleasant recap of a long, long ride with a sly smile and a knowing wink. The final scene wraps things up nicely and overall there's really nothing to offend. Story-wise it's a proper send-off and it ties into the rest of the game, so I'd have to place it above The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, but it doesn't provide as many new thrills, nor is it as packed full of content of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. Still, the quest is lengthy enough to provide value and really... who can resist taking a shot at that mouthy robot?


Second Opinion

Sir_Brizz: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is great on it's own two feet, however, as hard as it tries, it ends up unable to deliver a compelling enough gameplay experience. The areas in the DLC are large and really nice, the lack of 20km long roadways is a nice change from SAGK, and the riotous humor remains intact quite well. Still, while having the absolute best premise of any of the DLCs, CNRR comes off as short and easy (and annoying, depending on how much you like collection quests). Is the DLC worth getting? Absolutely. However, instead of blowing us out of the water with this one, Gearbox has played it safe returning to Ned quality instead of maintaining the level of quality that Knoxx brought. But, hey, there's always the Steam Holiday Sale coming up, right? 7/10