Review - Borderlands 2 DLC - Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt
Borderlands 2’s third DLC, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, sends the vault hunters to the swampy, creature-infested world of Aegrus: a prime ground for those who thirst for beast blood.
Story-wise, Big Game Hunt is a total wash. What starts off as a simple trek for the sportsmanship of beast-slaying, turns into a half-assed narrative about a mad scientist, Dr. Nakayama, and his futile attempt to clone Handsome Jack. Of course, the vault hunters must stop him over the course of a three-chapter campaign that lacks identity and substance. Although this is apparently Hammerlock’s show, Nakayama gets most of the face time, and that is the Big Game Hunt’s downfall. It has no anchor. Unlike Captain Scarlett or Mr. Torgue in their respective campaigns, Dr. Nakayama has no real presence here. He is intentionally created as a weak lampoon who is fully aware of his second-rate status. It is meant to be clever, but here he just comes off as lazy.
Upon arrival, players are cast into a new environment that is small in comparison to the two previous DLC’s. Aside from a pretty cool cliff-like level towards the end, most of Aegrus is swamp-like, with waist-high bodies of water to wade through, and a tribal re-skinning of loot boxes and buildings. One section has a bright and washed out color palette, due to it being so close to the sun, and I found it to be one of the most visually interesting places of Pandora yet.
The tribal motif also carries over to the enemies, with aggressive baddies like “Warriors” or “Savages” who attack you with spears and shields. “Witch Doctors,” all with different elemental variations, are a real wildcard and the highlight of this DLC. They have healing powers, can morph into tornadoes, and can buffer enemies around them to stronger variations -- adding real challenge, priority and urgency to the already hectic gunfights.
On the beast side of things, there are new enemies. Drifters return from “The Armory of General Knoxx,” and creatures like Boraks and scorpion-like Scaylions are interesting designs, but nothing that requires real strategy to combat. When it comes to the monsters, general strategy should be to blast everything in sight. There is a new Seraph Guardian, which should be inviting to those who love a devastating challenge. Besides monsters, and new weapons, there is a new vehicle: the fan boat. Exactly as you would imagine, this amphibious hovercraft is pretty much a re-skinned Runner that isn’t as fun to drive.
On a final note, there are some very frustrating mission designs, that when failed, force the player to trek across the map to the task giver, then all the way back to the objective, rather than just re-trying from that location. It’s a small amount of time, but time I’d rather spend doing something else.
The biggest letdown is a lack of extending the level cap. My main character has over 100 hours of playtime, and was at level 48 when I began Big Game Hunt, capping off at 50 about halfway through. Raising the cap could have been this campaign’s saving grace, but instead it is only a short campaign comprised of monster killing and switch flipping, all headlined by a lousy antagonist. Compared to the other two DLC’s, Big Game Hunt lacks identity.
This is still more Borderlands 2, which I could never get too upset at. If you have already purchased a season pass, this is a no-brainer, but if you are buying the DLC campaigns individually, this should be the one you skip, or wait for until it goes on sale. Here’s to hoping that the next DLC can get back on track.
|Shaun Bolen is a freelance reviewer for ScrewAttack.com. After interning with the site for eight months, he left to continue his education. Shaun holds a degree in Foreign Language with an English BA on the way, and is now back with ScrewAttack to write reviews in his spare time. He can't wait for GTA V to come out, and enjoys taking emotive black-and-white self-portraits.|