Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack Review

The question everyone asks about DLC is invariably, "Is it worth the extra money?" As modern gamers, you’ve spent your hard-earned dollars to buy some really expensive hours of gaming up front, so if you’re going to pay more for what are essentially additional episodes of the same game, they need to be a bargain. And for the hours of fresh gameplay that it offers, the Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack at $20 is just that. This pack features two of the three currently released expansions to the world of Pandora, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, and each brings some great ideas from other games and incorporates them into the Borderlands universe uniquely.

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned opens a darker, zombie-infested section of Pandora that offers around 6-8 hours of undead-blasting action that feels very similar to Left 4 Dead in a lot of ways, whereas Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot is a lengthy Coliseum/Horde-mode expansion that will appeal to gamers who just want to get their fight on, wave after wave. Combined, you are likely to get a solid 22-25 hours of gameplay out of these expansions, assuming you play through the entirety of the Underdome missions. However, while the zombie-hunting expansion maintains a solid pace sprinkled with moments of real intensity, the Underdome can get monotonous simply because of the nature of its repeating wave formula. Think of it more as another game type than a mission-driven add-on. Let me break it down a little more.

zombie island

So The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned takes place in an eerie, deserted town and its surrounding area (owned by the Jakobs Corporation) where, of course, something has gone horribly wrong. It seems that Dr. Ned, notably similar to Dr. Zed from the beginning of the game, has turned everyone into zombies in an attempt to reanimate corpses, so it’s your mission to find an antidote and confront Dr. Ned. Much of the main quest missions involve the player trekking from one area to another, slogging through zombies along the way, and reaching a point near the end of most missions where they must fend off an invasion of a horde of such zombies before completing the task. This is where the game really feels like Left 4 Dead, but in a great way, because while the zombies are pretty easy to carve through during the majority of the missions, things get pretty hairy with literally hundreds of these things bearing down on you at once.

As for the zombies themselves, there’s a standard lumbering zombie, a "spitter," a crawling torso, were-skags, some suicidal, barrel-throwing brutes, and a treasure-toting zombie beast, among others. They can be taken down pretty easily, which is in and of itself just a lot of fun, but can be really formidable when bundled together. All in all, the old-horror-flick motif that the expansion goes on fits well with these almost "classic" zombie characters, and fits in well with the tone and humor of the Borderlands world. Side missions abound, as well, and along with the main missions will take players from storming the hill of Generally Hospital to wading through a large underground lake of blood. If you’re thinking "Sick," you’re pretty much right.

mad moxxi

The Underdome Riot is a whole other bag. As previously mentioned, this add-on is very much directed at the "grinding crowd" and fans of the recently super-popular "horde-mode" seen in a number of other games. However, it takes a while to make any progress. Each coliseum (Hellburbia, The Gully, etc.) offers five rounds with five waves in each round. Those waves come in as the Starter, Gun, Horde, Badass, and Boss waves each time, but offer something a little different each round. The enemies are randomly generated within the category of the wave (the Horde wave, for example, is all Maniacs of one variety or another), and can be augmented by changing bonuses that affect the player as well (like less gravity, no shields, bigger clips, etc.).

The main difficulty, however, with this add-on is the inability to save between rounds or waves. All 25 waves of one map have to be done in one sitting, which generally requires at least an hour and a half and can be taxing. If you are willing to stick with it, though, there’s a lot to love about the Underdome, especially the hard-rock/techno fusion music and the constantly goading jeers from Mad Moxxi herself. And of course the opportunity to punish bandit upon skag upon Sledge in low gravity with only a rocket launcher is a barrel full of fun, too. Just be wary of a few glitches here and there with characters and items colliding clumsily with the environment, causing you to lose some of the rewards you may have earned.

These expansions can be bought separately for 800 MS Points each (about $20 USD), or together in retail at $20. Is it worth it? If you want to continue questing with your super-upgraded Borderlands character, kill hordes of zombies, experience a little classic horror aura, spend some real hours knocking back hundreds of waves of some of your favorite enemies from the original game, and do it all while staring at the almost-cel-shaded, bad-assed Pandora you’ve come to know and love, then it’s absolutely worth it. Just don’t sit down with it unless you’ve got the time to finish.

4 out of 5


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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