If there’s one theme that I see developing in Borderlands 2‘s DLC offerings, it’s diversity. The Captain Scarlett DLC was a finely executed and novel introduction of pirates to the franchise, and while developer Gearbox Software could have followed that up with vampires, ninjas, minotaurs, etc., their next DLC, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, goes in a notably different direction. It’s a direction that will surely please those who come to Borderlands 2 strictly for the gunplay.
Considering the co-op friendly game design and its diverse array of enemies, Borderlands has always felt suited to arena-style play. This was proven previously with the Mad Moxxi DLC from the previous game. Many of the enclosed boss fight areas throughout the franchise give a taste of how an extensive multi-wave gun battle can play out. For Gearbox’s latest DLC, you’ll get just that, and considerably more. Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage isn’t just a settling for generic colosseum battles, although the new arena is the centerpiece of this DLC. There’s also a slew of side missions that will take this game well beyond the five-hour mark.
You can certainly see how much passion Gearbox puts into growing Pandora as the studio has added a ton of content beyond the arena. There’s at least 15 minutes of introductory content even before your first formal fight. You’re greeted by the tournament’s host, Mr. Torgue, who has the spitting image charisma of the late Macho Man Randy Savage.
He’s one of the loudest, most enthusiastic characters in the Borderlands franchise, so much so that Gearbox worked overtime on their censor button, bleeping out just the bare minimum for added hilarity. A new vault treasure has been discovered and Torgue has organized a tournament where the winner will be the one to open the vault.
You’ll of course have your hands full once you’re in the arena with enemies coming from all sides. The interior is elaborate in its art style, and the level design provides a handful of elevated structures to get both good vantage points and places of brief respite if your health is low.
Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage also continues Gearbox’s tradition of practical approaches to new content and reskins. It’s commendable how they take the time to create new enemies with unique animations while mixing them with a roster of reskined foes. Same goes for the weapons as there’s a wealth of new and rare firearms to experiment with. And once again, if you have buddies who haven’t picked up the Season Pass but love weapons, you can bring the unique guns from this expansion into the main game and give them to your friends.
Equally admirable is how Gearbox continues to deliver fleshed out stories to their add-on content, complementing Borderlands 2‘s preexisting narrative. Mr. Torgue is just one of a number of new characters, and there are also a few familiar fan favorites although we don’t want to spoil their reveals.
What I did love about Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage the most is the game beyond the arena. Through some unforeseen developments, you’ll find yourself in other unfamiliar areas including a new city. Not only is this urban area densely packed with buildings, these structures are rather tall in the context of Borderlands environment design. It certainly felt new but not out of place in Pandora. There are enemies aplenty, both in the city streets and a nearby bar. In fact, causing a brawl in the bar is one of the mission objectives; this is Borderlands we’re talking after all.
Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is out next week for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.