We missed the initial review for Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, so we’re going to roll up both Mr. Torgue AND Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt into one sexy super-review! They’re both great additions to the world of Pandora, but they serve completely different purposes.

Just a sampling of the unlocks you can get with the Hammerlock Big Game Hunt.

The basic idea of Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is that another vault is discovered in a crater on Pandora, and Torgue got to it first, creating a massive bloodsport arena on top of it. The only way to get to the vault is to win his tournament…and you start on the very bottom of the pile. To become a contender, you’ll need to take on miniboss-level enemies that will put your combat abilities to the test. Sure, some of them are cheap, but almost all of ‘em are incredibly entertaining.

In a lot of ways, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign is a massive nod to the DLC from the first Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot. Indeed, you’ll encounter the titular Moxxi throughout the campaign, only this time, she’s in a support role. Yup, the real star of the DLC is Mr. Torgue himself, who has some of the best spoken dialogue since Handsome Jack himself!

You’ll run into every one of these characters, and more!

Here’s just a tiny, tiny taste:

“IS IT ME, OR IS THAT GUY GONNA TO BETRAY THE FK OUTTA YOU?!?!” (after you meet your first incredibly shady sponsor, Piston.)

“YA I KNOW I SHOULD OF GOT THE SPONSORS SET UP AHEAD OF TIME BUT I WAS TOO BUSY SUPLEXING A SHARK WEARING A BOLO TIE! YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING WHO WAS WEARING THE BOLO TIE! ME OR THE SHARK! ANSWER: YES!”

“BIG DEAL! I CAN DO INNUENDO TOO! TONIGHT’S FIGHT IS BETWEEN FLYBOY AND THE VAAAULT HUNTERRRR!…BLOWJOOOOOBS!” (After Moxxi unleashes a pants-shifting stream of breathy, hypersexual innuendo).

The character of Torgue is a massive amalgam of every ‘roided out screamer from the past 30-ish years: it’s like taking Macho Man Randy Savage, Jesse Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Sam Kinison and Terry Crews and throwing ‘em into a blender. The result is a bacon-and-gunpowder flavored smoothie of awesomeness.

This is Torgue. He really is this fantastic.

While the writing and interactions are massive, the “Badass Crater of Badassitude” it actually small in comparison to the other DLC locations. Sure, it’s wayyyyy bigger than Moxxi’s underdome, but the meat of it takes place in the same areas: the main crater and the Old Haven-like Beatdown, with smaller (but slick looking) areas introduced, such as the Forge, where Torgue’s explosive guns are crafted.

Like Captain Scarlett, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign also includes a new monetary system: Torgue Tokens. The tokens are ONLY redeemable at the Torgue vending machines, which can give you legendary-level explosive weapons…unfortunately, they’re dropped with the same frequency as the Seraph Crystals (from Captain Scarlett)…or Eridium bars. Unlike the other two though, you can usually expect a coin from defeating upper-level/badass enemies. Still, there’s a fair amount of grinding to get enough Torgue Tokens to purchase that shiny gun you’ve been eyeing, so get ready to pay out the butt (by gambling at Moxxi’s) or hunt down bosses/badass enemies.

“That’s it?” “THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”

The game is an absolute blast up to the end. You’ll hear awesome dialogue, meet old friends and blow lots of things up, all in an effort to become the #1 contender to open the vault. Unfortunately, the wheels fall off with the final boss. The pre-fight will be reminiscent of the megaship battle from the end of the Borderlands campaign, but the FINAL final boss battle is rage-quit worthy. After I dumped my entire cash stockpile on respawns (no lie), I ended up finding a cheap, exploit-y way to beat the final boss. And honestly, unless you’re teamed up with three other people (or have maxed out your skill tree), you will find him nearly impossible to beat. Truthfully, I haven’t gotten this mad over a boss since Demon’s Souls…and that’s saying something.

Plus, the vault’s haul isn’t that jaw-dropping either. Sure, there’s one really slick weapon/mod, but the rest is Eridium and sellable trinkets. I honestly would have dug getting a couple thousand Torgue Tokens…God knows I earned ‘em in that battle.

Still, stupid final boss aside, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is a solid (and FUN!) alternative to the standard “arena tack-on”.

Sir Hammerlock in all of his Roosevelt-ian glory.

Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, on the other hand, is extremely challenging. Sure, the end of the Torgue campaign was extremely hard, but it wasn’t necessarily challenging. Hammerlock really pushes your weapon management and ability skills, in ways that the initial campaign couldn’t. Be aware, also, that it has a level minimum of 30…and it earns every inch of that rating. My level 17 Commando, adept at running and hiding behind my turret, couldn’t even finish the first mission…let alone take on any of the new creatures.

In addition to an entirely new cadre of creatures, Hammerlock also has some of the most expansive vistas I’ve ever seen on Pandora. There’s lush foliage, cascading rapids, daunting peaks and Endor-like tree-cities. And sentry towers…can’t forget the sentry towers.

Like “The Badass Crater of Badassitude”, the off-limits areas in the Sir Hammerlock campaign are delineated by mobile turrets that won’t hesitate to blow you out of the water. UN-like the Crater, though, you’ll get plenty of warning. It’s a nice change, since I ended up dropping over K on respawns in the Crater. That, and the fanboats don’t ever get enough momentum to blow past the boundaries without giving you adequate warning.

Fanboats: not as flimsy as they appear.

Oh yeah: FANBOATS! You’ll be traversing the land and water on shiny, new fanboats. Though they don’t look it, they’re actually quite hardy and pack a fairly decent punch. I’d recommend using the “Electrocution” option, since the Corrosion tends to be spotty, and the Flamethrower is severely limited in range and doesn’t really do a terrible amount of damage.

The only real problem with the fanboat is the same problem I had with the DLC as a whole–there are far too many areas where you can either get stuck or glitch out. Want to jet over some rapids to get up to a better vantage point? No problem…until you try to get down. You’ll coast over rocks with ease, but attempting to go back the way you came might leave you stranded.

See the guy on the rock? That’s a Witch Doctor. KILL IT WITH FIRE!

It’s an odd design choice, since even when you’re NOT in a vehicle, you can get snagged on miscellaneous environmental objects that you traversed only seconds ago. Case in point: I ran over a half-sunken barre to engage a crowd of savages. But the second a Witch Doctor appeared, I was tried to beat a trail back the way I came, essentially running backwards (the exact way I came) while firing my gun forward…and screaming like a little girl. Only, I got caught on a barrel and couldn’t back over it, as a crowd of (now Hulked up) Savages swarmed in on me, leading to a K respawn. Not fun.

Yes, even though the level is filled to the brim with shiny new enemies, the Witch Doctors will undoubtedly be the bane of your existence. Not only can they sap your movement to nearly a crawl with their beam attacks, but they can almost wholly obscure your vision at the same time, so you don’t really know whether or not you’re heading into a mess of enemies. Needless to say, mini-map reliance is incredibly necessary in this DLC. The Witch Doctors can also spawn new Savages, buff (and re-buff) Savages already in play, and they also have incredibly long health-bars, with insanely long-reaching attacks.

This is the LEAST amount you’ll ever see.

Plus, there will be moments where you barely survive a run-in with a village of Savages (buffed by the Doctor), only to have a Shock Witch Doctor come tumbling out of a door, alongside a pile of new Savages (and a couple Badass Savages thrown in for good measure). What’s that? Your best gun happens to be a Shock weapon? Enjoy your respawn, buddy!

That’s not even the worst part though: in addition to being able to obscure your vision and deplete your shields completely, Witch Doctors also have a tornado attack that can blast you 100+ yards away. They can also blast you straight into glitches, which happened at least six times in the treetop areas. Not fun…especially when there is a massive loot drop directly BEHIND said Witch Doctor, and the glitch forces you to quit your game. Bah.

The main quest is definitely the most straightforward.

The other not-so-fun part to Sir Hammerlock’s expansion is the “seek and find” quest(s) that this expansion is so fond of. I spent 40+ minutes looking for the final egg in “Egg on Your Face” quest, and more than an hour on the “I Like My Meat Rare” quest, since you have to keep revisiting the same areas in hope that the rare creatures spawn.

Aside from those issues, the Hammerlock campaign is solid, and there are a wealth of side quests to undertake. The boss battles (unlike the cheap Witch Doctor encounters) are fun and challenging, and kept me on my toes. Plus, the final boss encounter is outstanding. Just be aware, unlike the Torgue vault, the Hammerlock ship is crammed to the gills with large weapon boxes and massive upgrade vaults…unfortunately, there’s no real way to ferret your winnings back to a vending machine to make yourself real money, so only load up on the choicest items, unless you want to go back through the final area again. Bummer.

I actually liked the Hammerlock DLC a lot more than Torgue’s, only because there’s sooooo much to explore and do, even after the main quest is completed. Plus, the locations remind me of a beefed-up Island of Dr. Zed DLC from the first Borderlands. The writing isn’t as excellent as Torgue’s though, so there’s a little bit of a trade off.

All of the areas in Hammerlock’s quest are exceptionally beautiful.

Both DLC sets are 800 Microsoft Points (or .99), and as far as DLC goes, I think they’re completely worth it. Better yet, pick up the Season Pass for .99 and save yourself some dough!

EXPLOSIONS!

 

 

 



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