Gearbox and 2K make good on their promise to release the first DLC pack within a month of the games initial release, but maybe it’s a promise they should have broken.
If you have Borderlands 2, and you’re not still playing it, then my friend I bear some bad news; You are stupid. With absolute tons of replay value, 2.5 playthrough’s and four different characters with four different play styles, there’s enough content in Borderlands 2 to tide you over till Christmas. 2014.
I jest, 2013. Either way, like many other people I bought into the “Borderlands Premiere Club” deal. This granted you three Gearbox guns (which become useless after the first boss, which is roughly 10 minutes of game play in), a relic that increases your rare loot (which some clever hacker types found to be absolute BS, and didn’t make a blind bit of difference), a golden key for a chest that gives you an awesome gun (That you can use ONCE, ONCE EVER, not like once per new character, no, once per account. And it’s scaled to your level, so if you used it at level 9, then it sucks to be you) but the awesomeness, you get the Mechromancer DLC for FREE! ERMAHGERD! With such awesome premiere club bonuses (…) it’s clear that 2K and Gearbox love their fans.
It’s partly why I’m surprised right now to be informing you the new character is absolutely TERRIBLE. If you missed the premiere club and are now tempted to shell out your hard earned dollar on this, read on and I’ll tell you why.
Content wise, the Mechromancer DLC adds one new character for you to play as, Gaige (the Mechromancer. I C WUT U DID THAR GEARBOX). The character you play as in Borderlands largely defines who you will play the game, for example you have the Gunzerker, otherwise known as ‘activate skill and hold down both triggers to win’ mode, the Commando who throws down a mean turret to murder everything, a Siren, who uses MIND BULLETS (Not really, but similar) and the generic ninja type, who is an absolute whirlwind of slashy melee button mashing death. This new character brings yet another new play style, she summons a gigantic robot named Deathtrap to wreak havoc with it’s laser claws. Yes, you heard right, laser claws.
“A giant robot with laser claws controlled by a little girl in a punk school uniform!? What could go wrong!?” I hear you cry, and whilst I agree the premise is fantastic, somehow they made it absolutely suck. Each character in Borderlands has a skill tree which is split into three categories. These categories largely vary how you play the character, with the final skill giving you a crazy feature that basically defines how you will play the game, for example Zer0 has a tree that makes him a monster with sniper rifles, but he also has the aforementioned tree that turns him into an actual ninja, where he turns invisible and you can slay an entire area of enemies without firing a single bullet.
So, why is it that Gaige’s entire skill tree doesn’t really give you any major benefits, but horribly nerf”s your play? You have the first tree which is meant to be you and Deathtrap working together. This is fine, or it would be if Deathtrap’s AI wasn’t totally bananas. I first experienced his penchant for murdering everything in one of the very first areas, Blackburn Cove. It’s a multi-tiered area where you work your way up to a boss at the top. As soon as we got to the first area, I thought “Great! A chance to finally try out Deathtrap!” So I let him/her/it loose, and without hesitation he went and killed everyone. Fantastic! Wait a minute, DEATHRAP, WAT R U DOING? DEATHTRAP?
Deathtrap went on a rampage and started murdering people in another part of the level. Which is fine, because you still get the experience, and you don’t have to play the game. What could be better than not playing a game and still winning, right? But this renders a tree for boosting teamwork absolutely useless, because teamwork is not a word programmed into Deathtrap. If you’re getting gang-raped by psycho midgets, he will not come running to your rescue, he will remain beating on the same pathetic marauder whilst you are violated in broad daylight.
The next tree focuses on elemental bonuses. And just elemental bonuses. I think there is a boost for melee damage in there, but it’s one universal skill in a sea of contextual skills. You see the problem is with elemental builds is that if you can deal 7 gazillion billion fire damage a second, you can’t deal any damage to the armoured enemies (about 50% of the games enemies). So a skill tree focusing on elements, which all the other characters have, should contain skills that still make you useful in the event your element is useless. This tree doesn’t.
The third and final tree is the game changer tree that you want, but it changes it for the worst. It is absolutely ridiculous. It revolves around an ‘Anarchy Point’ system, where every time you kill an enemy you gain one anarchy point, or whenever you empty a clip (Although this doesn’t apply on shotguns). However if you manually reload, you lose all your points. So to counteract this the skill tree gives you faster reloading time and shortens your clip.. But it shortens it by a measly 4%, so what’s the point. Oh I forgot to mention, your anarchy points have an initial cap of 150 that you can increase up to 400, and for every 1 point you gain +1.75% Damage… And you gain -1.75% accuracy. WHAT. I have got my anarchy bar to full, and whilst my bullets do a whopping 700% more damage, they’re also 700% less accurate. And it shows, the bullets literally come out sideways. You have to point blank enemies with any gun just to land a hit. Granted when it does hit, it destroys, but there’s some enemies I’d rather not get that close to. *cough* Terramorphous *cough*. There’s a skill in there that allows you prematurely reload, and sacrifice your anarchy points to gain a pretty sweet accuracy and damage bonus. But the final skill of the tree relies on having as many anarchy points as possible, so it’s pointless (Pun absolutely, 100% intended).
Nothing compliments anything. It’s such a mish-mash character with skills that would have been cool tacked on to another character here and there, but all put together into one character result in a boring character who becomes almost unplayable through one section of the skill tree. Luckily, I got this for free, and I am shocked that Gearbox believe they can charge $10/£8 for this terrible DLC.
Given that it’s overpriced, and to be honest for any price more than free I’d feel ripped off, I have to give it 1/5. This is probably the first time I’ve seen a major flaw appear in one of the greatest games made in the past decade, and to say I am severely disheartened is an understatement. Hopefully Gearbox will play test the next DLC character more, because this one was clearly rushed through the final stages.