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Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution
Score: 88%
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: First Person Shooter/RPG/Online

Introduction:

The Borderlands formula is starting to show its age. For about a year now, gun nuts and fans of bloody anarchy have had their chance to explore a massive wasteland with up to three buddies. Taking down bad guys, completing quests, leveling up, and collecting tons of loot makes for a great sense of progression, and Gearbox's sleeper hit delivers that -- big time. The release of Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution doesn't necessarily mark a decline in the breakout role-playing shooter's quality, but if you have any experience with the original game and any of its downloadable content packages, it's difficult not to get a severe case of déjà vu.

Viva la Robolución!:

Claptraps have been a part of the Borderlands universe since the original game launched a year ago. They are polarizing little droids. Some think they're hilarious. Others look at them as the Borderlands version of the near-universally-reviled Jar Jar Binks. For the record, this writer thinks they're great. Regardless of what you may think about Claptraps, your enjoyment of this release doesn't depend on your opinions of the feisty robots. Even if you hate them, you'll get more than a few chances to thin out the herd. So it's a win-win situation.

Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution takes place after The Secret Armory of General Knoxx. The Hyperion Corporation clearly has a taste for irony. The greed of munitions dealers and Vault Hunters has effectively put a stopper in the company's income flow. So, they do something incredibly stupid: they activate the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap to clean house. Unsurprisingly, the little bastard doesn't do the job it has been hired to do, opting instead to launch a revolutionary agenda. The goal of the aforementioned agenda? The complete assimilation of all Pandoran life. (I totally saw this coming from the start. Did you?) The irony here is that Hyperion hires you to quell the uprising.

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution runs under the assumption that you played The Secret Armory of General Knoxx to completion. If you haven't, do so before taking on this downloadable content. There are several inside jokes aimed squarely at those who have stayed with Borderlands since the beginning. Even if you haven't taken your own mercenary from the skag-infested Arid Badlands to the heart of the legendary Pandoran Vault, there's still some great humor to be found in Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. It's a gushing love letter to nerd culture; within the first hour of this DLC, crystal-clear references are made to geek staples like Back to the Future and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even the pro-Claptrap propaganda overshoots the simple definition of "paraphrase;" a broadcast tower plays a robo-friendly version of Andrew Ryan's opening speech in BioShock.


S.S.D.D.:

The main feeling I get from playing Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is that the established formula is running out of steam. The shooting is as sharp as it ever was, but the loot system (a cornerstone of the Borderlands experience) is starting to lose its luster. After I got back into the swing of things, I found that I was perfectly content to stick with the Bastard Gun and Recoilless Harpoon I acquired during my second playthrough. Hell, I even found myself ignoring cash drops and beelining straight for quest items. That's not a good sign. It's very possible that I've simply become jaded; after all, this content doesn't fumble the franchise's core strengths like Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot did. However, like most downloadable content, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is aimed at gamers who have been playing Borderlands since it hit the shelves -- gamers like myself. If, for some reason, you've only recently gotten into Borderlands, the chances are high that you will love every minute of this content.

Full Circle:

Our friends at Gearbox know that they've got a quality product on their hands. Everything you love (or perhaps don't love) about the game is present in Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. The humor is still sharp and the cooperative play is still strong. If you're okay with spending $10 on more of the same kind of content, this should be an easy buy. (A word of warning to Level 61 Vault Hunters: don't tear into Claptrap's New Robot Revolution until Gearbox releases the free level-cap increase. If you need your fix right away, don't say I didn't warn you.)

The addictive pull of Borderlands feels like it's starting to lose its grip, but don't think for a second that the gameplay has devolved. Claptrap's New Robot Revolution merely suggests that it may be time for Gearbox to start taking bigger risks. Whether that happens in a future DLC release or in a full-fledged sequel, I hope to see one sooner rather than later; when a phenomenon like this is still in its infancy, it's very exciting to imagine the possibilities.


-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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