‘Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt’ Review – Aim Small, Miss Small

As with the first “Borderlands“, Gearbox continues the tradition of offering a ton of additional content for their popular shoot-n-loot series. With two pretty solid DLCs “Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty” and “Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage” Gearbox hopes to keep that fire burning for ever better drops and crazier enemy encounters. The third add-on certainly checks off each box on the list before locking and loading, but does it hit the mark? Find out with our review for “Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt.”

Beginning the new DLC is as easy as the others. When you boot up your latest save (after downloading the compatability patch, of course) you’ll notice a new location on your fast travel kiosk. Just select the new area and simply click OK and you’ll soon be whisked to a whole new land full of adventures to have and baddies to kill.

This go around removes your Vault Hunter from the familiar post-apocalyptic deserts and garbage-strewn cities and drops you squarely into a massive swamp with a slew of strange creatures and funny natives.  You’ll slog through creepy bogs and cruise through damp marshes on the newest vehicle, a speedy airboat with a choice of nasty armament from electric bolts to corrosive volleys. My only gripe (and this goes with the Desert Skif from Pirate’s) is that you can’t take the new ride into the vanilla game- not a big deal really, but I actually like recklessly drifting about wrecking everything in my sight. Anyway, there’s a lot of pretty scenery touched with a lot of what makes “Borderlands” unique. The overall look and feel goes well with the big game theme and the touch of nature is more than reminiscent of the “Zombie Island of Dr. Ned” DLC.

The story is a pretty familiar one as well. Upon entering the wetlands you’ll recieve an echo call from everyone’s favorite gentleman gamesman and scholar, Sir Hammerlock, who will task you with the hunt of a lifetime… or at least you would be, since a not quite competent evil scientist interrupts your little chat and challenges you mano y mano. This scientist, Dr. Nakayama, has somewhat of a Jack fetish and basically wants to splice his DNA with some of the local fauna to create a murderous foe hell-bent on your demise. There’s a lot of tongue in cheek humor carried over from the other DLCs and main game but the quest falls a bit short with only a few of missions to keep me busy until the ultimate confrontation with the bad doctor.

It’s unfortunate that the main quest is over before it really begins, I thought Dr. N had a goofy charm and was hoping to face increasingly ridiculous bosses. On the plus side, however, is that there are few extra side quests to occupy your time along with a mega boss on the level of a Terramorphous or Hyperion the Invincible but you’ll need plenty of Eridium for the various totems scattered throughout the wetlands; and I would be remiss to mention the new tribal psychos, whose unique elemental powers and tanking abilites present a glimer of hope for more involved firefights down the road. In the end, you’ll be justly rewarded with a nice set of weapons but coming into this DLC as a level 50 Commando, I already had a phenomenal arsenal.

This is kind of the problem with late game DLC and maybe a little bit with how “Borderlands 2″ works in the long run. After maxing out four or five characters, you’ll more or less want to use a combination of a few “go to” weapons and the rare drops won’t mean as much. With that said, I recommend a trip after a first game run, as you should be around level 30 or so but as a stand alone add-on, “Big Game Hunt” falls a bit short on content compared to the last two outtings. Weirdly, “Big Game Humt” makes a great case for picking up the season pass, as you could just chalk it up as a somewhat middling quest line along with a bunch of awesome extra content in the form of the previous add-ons. By itself, however, it just misses the sweet spot as a stand alone pack.

“Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt” is available for Xbox 360 for 800 MS points.

[Review code provided by Gearbox and played to completion on the Xbox 360]

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