One of most gamers’ gripes with the otherwise excellent Borderlands is that despite its open endedness it’s just a bit too easy. Just a little over a month since the last DLC for the game, Gearbox is here to change that – and in that regard they’ve succeeded pretty damned well.
Unlike “The Zombie of Dr. Ned,” this latest DLC isn’t an episodic bit of narrative, but instead is presented as a set of three arenas where you’ll fight wave after wave after incessant wave of enemies.
While Gearbox have been quick to disassociate Mad Moxxie’s Underdome Riot with arena mode offering from Halo ODST’s firefight and Gears of War’s Horde mode, that’s precisely what it is. There’s no narrative to speak of; When you teleport to the Underdome you’ll be greeted with a short video detailing who Moxxie is exactly, and why it is she’s running the arena – and that’s really it for the story.
Instead you’ll find yourself fighting for survival against waves of enemies, ranging from skags to psychopaths to badasses and finally bosses. 5 waves make up a round, and 5 rounds completes the first challenge in each arena. Naturally each wave increases in difficulty, something further bolstered by the addition of random modifiers, which later begin to stack. These modifiers do things like increase enemy shields, challenge you to only use specific weapons or fiddle with Pandora’s gravity. It all becomes quite brutally difficult, and rather time consuming.
As with all things Borderlands, this add-on is made all the better by the addition of co-op buddies, with each additional player increasing the fun exponentially. And while it is indubitably fun, it seems to be tailored towards players with online friends who’ve reached the level cap and still want more Borderlands.
For level-capped players it does offer two extra skill points, which may be worth the asking price if you’re pedantic about honing your character. Beyond that though if you don’t fit the above profile, Mad Moxxie’s Underdome Riot is difficult to recommend.
Borderlands’ very soul, you see, lies in its loot drops and the gaining of experience – neither of which are on offer here. None of the enemies you kill in the relentless waves will add to your experience or weapon proficiency, and the loot – what little of it is there is – is hardly meaningful. If you were hoping to use the Underdome as a means to grind your lower level characters, you’d be better off giving it a miss.