Borderlands: The Underdome Review
Gearbox Software’s Borderlands is a hit, no doubt about it. Who knew being an alien treasure hunter could be so fun? Since Borderlands was released last October, there has been a steady stream of downloadable content for the action/shooter. Mad Moxxi, a twisted ringleader of sorts, is the main character for The Underdome, which offers some intense arena action and a new area to store gear.
This would be an obvious benefit to players at Level 50, but to someone still working on their first playthrough, is it worth the 800 MS points? Let’s look at the HOTs and NOTs.
If you’ve played through Borderlands at least once, the functionality of the bank that The Underdome offers will be a nice perk. There’s no fee to store your gear, but you will be charged a small amount of money to take them back out. It’s great for class mods, high level named weapons, and other general items you can’t bear to part with but don’t want to lug around. The Underdome also immediately shows up on the fast travel network whether you’ve played through the game or not, which is convenient considering there are vending machines also located within it.
Level-capped players will appreciate new, well-designed areas to test their skills; hardcore fans of the game will especially enjoy polishing off wave after wave of the most familiar enemies in the game. There are a total of three new maps: Hell-Burbia, The Angelic Ruins, and The Gully. Players who are at Level 50 should also note that you get a skill point for completing all three. If you enjoyed the relentless action of the Circle of Death/Circle of Slaughter quest chains, this will be right up your alley. The graphics for The Underdome are flashier and more eye-catching than the original game, which is a nice touch for people tired of the same old areas.
Playing With Friends
Because the combat in the arenas come in waves (the waves increase in difficulty, with the fifth wave being the Boss wave), it is almost imperative that you play with a friend, especially if you are not at Level 50. It’s a great way to expose new people to the game by bringing them in and getting them used to the combat, and is also fun for friends who are both at high levels to settle the score on who’s the better Borderlands player.
No Experience or Weapons
No level cap increase and no experience gained from arena battles means that players who haven’t completed the game will find this content less useful. Although the vending machines offer decent gear, it’s not essential for anyone playing through the main game or for those who have been done for a while. In fact, The Underdome as a whole isn’t really tailored for people who haven’t already played the game through a few times. Gearbox explained that the lack of experience gain was to prevent people from using The Underdome as a way for players to level up quickly, but as a result, the lure for newbies is low.
Only Three Maps?
Because the arenas are so challenging, the likelihood of playing and replaying the same three maps over and over is high. Thus, they become stale quick, especially if you and your friends enjoy playing co-op. You might find yourself wishing for different areas, or choosing another game to play together instead.
There is no doubt that die-hard fans of Borderlands (read: max level, played through two or three times) will enjoy the new content and especially the precious storage space. If this is you, then The Underdome is a must have. However, the 800 MS points tag is simply not worth it for people who haven’t squeezed every last drop of fun out of the original game and the other DLC, so if this where you’re at, you might want to wait on this one.[Editor's Note: Borderlands DLC: The Underdome was reviewed on a Xbox 360 platform. The DLC was supplied to us by the publisher.] Borderlands: The Underdome Review,