Excellent, more Borderlands content.
A little while ago I reviewed Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot (the second downloadable content pack released for this title) and I said we should all forget it ever happened and hope developers Gearbox get it right the next time, like they did with their first DLC.
I am very pleased to say that they've done just that with The Secret Armoury of General Knoxx. You can tell that Gearbox listened to their fans this time, as the DLC has a lot of what people have been wanting for a while now. We have a higher level-cap, a better narrative for the missions, more loot to find, more vehicles, and a better variety of enemies to fight. Basically, it brings a ton of content (easily ten hours worth) for a great price.
The story takes place after the main story has been completed. It is also important that you be at a higher level, because this is certainly late game content. This should be fine for most people, especially considering that the level-cap has been raised to 61, giving all you level 50 players a reason to get back in there and kill, kill, kill.
The plot is fairly basic, and centres around the Atlas Corporation you battled against in the original game coming back to Pandora to try and take back the planet. You, of course, will fight them off and meet some great characters, both new and old, along the way.
While arguably not quite as funny as The Zombie Island of Dr Ned, this DLC contains Gearbox's natural talent for abstract humour that most fans will instantly bond with. One attribute that will certainly liven things up is all the new guns and other toys you will find along the way. Yes, they finally added new stuff and some of it is pretty awesome. This is great, because it was something sorely lacking from all previous DLC.
The combat is pretty much the same, however you will spend a lot more time out on the road driving. For some reason the fast travel system is missing from this content and therefore the only way to get anywhere is to drive there along some cool looking highways. Unfortunately this forces a lot of backtracking and messing around, which is actually kind of annoying. Luckily they have added some new vehicles to the mix, which helps. The coolest of the new vehicles is one that can fit all four players; it is virtually a tank with a cannon, machine gun and mines. When there are four of you in this thing driving around, you do feel pretty unstoppable. That is, until you face some of the newer, tougher enemies of course.
Difficulty scaling seems to be a problem Borderlands has always suffered from. They cannot seem to get the balancing quite right. It is not too big of an issue here, but there will be times where you have to go somewhere and grind a few more levels before you can continue with your quests. When you do get onto the main missions, however, you will face a good variety of new enemies. Some of them look really great and others can have an interesting effect on how you should fight a certain battle and the strategies required. There are also some truly epic boss fights that reminded me a bit of a big raid boss in an MMO.
All in all, if you are a Borderlands fan, this is the DLC you've been waiting for.
The Secret Armoury of General Knoxx is another fine example of how to do DLC right, and it's certain to ensure players continue to invest time in Borderlands long after they grow weary of the original content. Gearbox is doing a great job of keeping the momentum up, and I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.
If you love Borderlands and have three friends who feel similarly inclined, you cannot go wrong with this expansion to your shooting and looting experience. Enjoy!