Borderlands: Mad Moxxy’s Underdome Riot DLC
Hot on the heals of the occasionally amusing but ultimately not very good Zombie Island DLC comes Mad Moxxy’s Underdome Riot, the latest downloadable expansion to Gearbox’s rather lovely Borderlands.
As with the previous DLC, this costs 800M$P and is accessed via the fast travel system in the game. Zip over to the Underdome location and you’ll find yourself in a large lobby area with the three vending machine types and a bank that holds any extra equipment you may have. Arguably that’s a feature that could and should have been in the main game but then I’ve never really felt a need to store items especially as most of the guns in this game aren’t up to much and the 45 storage slots I have in my inventory are more than enough to keep me going.
Once you’ve bought, sold, deposited and arranged your inventory you can take part in either the short tournament or one of the three larger ones. A tournament sees you – and up to three co-op buddies – facing off against wave after wave of enemies in the now-standard Horde/Firefight fashion in one of three locations.
The small tournament has five waves per round (with the fifth always being a boss wave which recycles bosses from the main game) across five rounds per location, of which there are three. Given that the locations are bland and interchangable, this really just means 75 waves of enemies. Inbetween waves there are supply drops of health and ammo and after each boss wave new guns are also dropped (although in 99.99% of cases these are worse than the ones you are already carrying).
Irritatingly your attempts to snag some extra resources are often scuppered by a big grey box that tells you which random effects will be in play during the next round. These range from faster enemies, no shields, increased damage from various weapon types and the like.
If you are killed during a wave you have to sit out the rest of it in the penalty box which is located high above the arena. You can still help out though as the game will let you shoot from your new vantage point. If you and your buddies are all killed you will go back to the first wave of the previous round.
At first the DLC seems pretty decent with the battles being suitably tough and intense. The added difficulty increases your need to work together (at least staying near enough to heal each other) and the pace never really lets up. Unfortunately, after a while it starts to drag. Then, after another while and another while and another while and so on, it really overstays its welcome and you begin to hate it. Then you start one of the larger tournaments and realise you’ve got to survive 100 waves of enemies and at this point you realise that Gearbox have made this as simplistic and uninteresting as possible.
After the refreshingly unchoresome RPG antics of Borderlands it is a real shame to see the game spoiled with thoughtless, uninteresting DLC like this. The whole thing seems to be there to punish you for liking the main game and expecting players to sit through hours of the same thing, and enjoy it, is asking too much. Especially for the money.
Gearbox could have added more classes, quests, weapons, skills, mods, vehicles and enemy types. Instead you just get the least interesting take I’ve ever seen on this game type. I’m sure they achieved exactly what they set out to do but I honestly cannot think of a way they could have made this whole package less interesting.
Hopefully the DLC ends here (or at least the achievements will end on 1250) as I can’t see Gearbox adding anything meaningful in future installments. We don’t generally score DLC but if we did I’d give this… well… fuck all, frankly.