Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot Review

I was late to the Borderlands party. I ignored or tuned out the deluge of rave reviews back in late October, figuring that I'd get around to playing the FPS/RPG mash-up eventually. Now that I took the time to sit down and give the game a chance, I realize that pushing it to the back burner was akin to a criminal act; Borderlands is a fantastic game with lots to do and a visual style that appeals to both my love of comic books and my desire to see heads (and various other body parts) blown off. Having just finished the first of what I'm sure will be many playthroughs of the main game, it was time to give the DLC a try. The second add-on, Madd Moxxi's Underdome Riot, has a stylish, interesting opening, but goes downhill from there. Even though the base idea has worked in dozens of other games, this DLC just doesn't fit with what makes Borderlands the fun and fresh experience that knocked people's (and reviewer's) socks off.

When you boil it down, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot is a best-tackled-in-co-op arena challenge that sends wave after wave of enemies out to smash you. Other games call this kind of mode by a few different names - horde, survival, etc. - but they all work the same way; just keep fighting until the enemies run out of warm bodies or you die at their feet. Simple. But what works elsewhere doesn't work here, mostly because the developers struck gold with the RPG elements of the main game and have subsequently betrayed them with this add-on.

What makes the main game in Borderlands fun is the growth of your character and the hunt for new, better weapons. This DLC offers neither. You won't find any new weapons that translate back into the main experience, and you won't gain any levels by fighting in this mode. The lack of new weapons, I suppose, is understandable, considering the game offers (and I'm quoting one of the devs here) "87 bazillion guns," but the lack of growth for your character makes this arena challenge a fun distraction, but little else. To be fair, this mode is probably best tackled when you have maxed out your character to level 50, which makes any added leveling obsolete, but even then, it only remains fun for a little while.

This add-on isn't without its good points, though. It offers players a place to store their gear (something I felt was sorely missing from the main game) and introduces the arena's master, Mad Moxxi, with a cool, stylish introduction, but overall, this DLC is hampered by its insistence on defying Borderlands' main selling points. Chances are, though, that if you loved the main game as much as I did, you won't be able to live without every add-on or perk the developers put up for download. I couldn't.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 64%.


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