Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack Review

Site Score
1.0
Good: Elements Finally Mean Something
Bad: Level Differences Are Bad, It Kind of Breaks the Game..., The Woes of New Gear
User Score
7.4
(140 votes)
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Borderlands 2

Thanks to a perhaps poorly worded trophy/achievement, many people have been eagerly awaiting a level cap increase in Borderlands 2. Now that three of the four Season Pass DLC packs are out, Gearbox has finally released the level cap increase, plus an additional mode to go along with it. After months of warnings and claims that the DLC would break the game, is the level cap increase something you should get or does it break this already poorly balanced game?

Lets look at what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Borderlands 2 Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack.

HOT

Elements Finally Mean Something
Despite Borderlands 2 having a lot of guns/different items, they never really had a huge impact on gameplay. Sure, a lightning weapon is great for shields, slag gives a damage boost, fire burns skin and corrosive melts robots, but these elements were never a requirement to be successful. However, if you want to survive Ultimate Vault Hunter mode, then you might want to change your play style or at least slag a few enemies. Needless to say, this forces people to play a little smarter than the base game ever expected.

NOT

Level Differences Are Bad
As you might already know, UVHM scales enemies to the highest-level person in the room. Whether this person is level 51 or 61, you will be fighting enemies within a 5 to 6 level gap. So even if you’re level 59, don’t expect enemies to cap off at 61 like they do in True Vault Hunter Mode, since they go as high as level 64. When you consider these levels require almost as much XP to obtain as the previous cap, it can feel like an incredibly daunting journey. Sadly if this does happen, you’re forced to either get on their level, obtain the new level cap or see if they will drag you through the game as dead weight. In any case, it can really put a damper on your experience playing alone or with people you don’t know or like.

Borderlands 2

It Kind of Breaks the Game…
For a while Gearbox has been claiming the level increase would break the game, but that never stopped anyone from wanting the extra levels. At first an additional 11 levels sounds trivial, but it actually has an absurd impact on the game. You see, the 11 skill points might not have a huge impact on the game, but the higher level certainly does.

On average in terms of legendary weapons I’ve found, it seems like level 61 gear is about 4 times more powerful as whatever you can find at level 50. The fact UVHM enemies have 4x more life suggests this is just how the game is coded and something Gearbox was actually trying to prevent. While these weapons remove most of the skill in UVHM, they obliterate any form of challenge formerly found in TVHM. For example, my Bee shield could withstand two (yes two) nova blasts from Hyperius, my norfleet did enough damage to kill Voracidous (after breaking his shield effortlessly) and I killed Pete/Terra with minimal effort with just an infinity. Obviously you don’t need to use level 59+ gear, but between limited space (the additional 6 slots aren’t THAT useful) and people wanting to look “impressive”, you’ll probably see a lot of this. In any case, this can be especially annoying if your friend isn’t interested in leveling to 61 or won’t pay for the DLC, since you will need to adapt or play with different people.

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Borderlands 2 - Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack Review, 7.4 out of 10 based on 140 ratings
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11 Comments

  1. Kiddo
    April 9, 2013, 4:28 PM

    I have to say giving it a 1 is pretty ridiculous. I don’t think the UVHM should have even cost any money since really it doesn’t give any new content, but still it doesn’t deserve a 1.
    And while a majority of the new gear is crap, I’d have to say that Bone of the Ancients is actually pretty good since it combines two of the best relics in the game (Proficiency and Elemental Damage) into one.

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  2. Grant Gaines (大将)
    April 9, 2013, 8:42 PM

    @ Kiddo

    If you don’t think it should have cost money, doesn’t really give new content and adds items you mostly think are crap… why is it ridiculous to give it a low score?

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  3. Aldershot
    April 11, 2013, 2:27 AM

    it’s ridiculous because it’s not a fair representation of the quality of work and enjoyment it gives.
    they justify the score by continuously reminding us that we have to pay for it, but in actual fact they gave this update out for free to season pass users.

    the season pass was never supposed to include this but they did as a sign of good faith. What about the other players? you may ask. The truth is, any one who is interested in the upgrade will get the season pass first, this will allow access to the rest of the game and this upgrade. so the editor who wrote this trash didn’t do his research, which is poor journalism.

    Not to mention that the editor never even considered the context of this release. He reviewed this like any new game or DLC when infact it’s tailor made for hardened BL2 players. It’s obvious to me that this guy never so much as visited the BL2 forums to see how other fans react, how the player base is reacting, how the target audience is reacting to this. If he did, he would notice it’s quite positive.

    If you are not writing for your target audience then who? yourself? if so, keep your shitty review on your personal blog, don’t post it on a professional web site, let alone as your job.

    I promise you that the BL2 community will all disagree with this review. Every one including myself feel this is a much needed upgrade and we are appreciative of GB for releasing it.

    Look at the difference in the user score and his. it’s ridiculous. That alone proves my point.

    JPS, if you are a journalism service with integrity. fire Grant Gaines, or at least give him a good talking to. I’m sick of seeing so called critics and journalist blab about their personal feelings on this. i expect an objective, well researched article when i read and watch reviews.

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  4. Teraku
    April 11, 2013, 2:54 AM

    It’s quite obvious that this game apparently isn’t for you. Giving it a 1? Really? For all the new content this contains?

    It was free for Season Pass users, by the way. It’s something that was not even supposed to be in the season pass, yet GBX decided to be generous.

    And you’re forgetting that enemies scale to your level constantly. Being Level 61 doesn’t break the game, since enemies’ HP increases by 15% per level, while your own increases by 13% per level. Sure, there’s skill points to offset this. But if anything, UVHM is harder at Level 61 than Level 50.

    And Elemental Damage not mattering in TVHM? Are we playing the same game, or were you just 5 levels overleveled all the time? Sure, Elemental Damage wasn’t a necessity, but it sure as hell helped.

    Also, if you’re using the Sham and the Norfleet, of course it’s going to be easy. Or The Bee and Sandhawk.

    Overall, this review reeks of poor journalism, bias and stupidity.

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  5. iloveUVHM
    April 11, 2013, 2:55 AM

    terra and pete are hard….. 5.9 second terra solo in uvhm http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showthread.php?t=265363

    pete in uvhm killed by a lift http://forums.gearboxsoftware.com/showthread.php?t=268190

    really challenging kills…

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  6. justplay
    April 11, 2013, 7:20 AM

    I remember back when all we ever wanted was the game to continue. Now all I hear is we have to pay for this or that. It was 5 bucks not 20 still worth it to me. Also I’ve always hated fighting through a game and coming out the other end still feeling 2nd best to some of the regular enemy’s in the game. I want to come out the true badass or in this case the ultimate badass when I’m done with the game. I don’t mind a good fight I have the mile high club achievement from cod4 try to get it. It’s a lot of fun or don’t if you have a short temper.

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  7. justplay
    April 11, 2013, 7:46 AM

    And about terra and all the other bosses play the game without getting online first to see the easy way. I had a hard time I didn’t have the cc or the bee and me and my wife that’s riding my back to get through most games still managed to kill terra. I waited until I got bored with the gun’s I had to get online and find out how to get them and to figure out what made things easier for us. The bee and the cc ok let’s go kill the warrior 50 times and 49 times the legendary weapon wound up underneath him or there was no weapon at all. Let’s not even talk about the bitch gun’s the bunk3r drops well suppose to drop I’ve killed it about 150 times and the only one I have is the analytical bitch that someone gave me. Rinse wash repeat is what breaks the game for me drop rate needs to be higher. So paying 5 bucks to get to level 61 THANK YOU gearbox. Also I would pay for a higher drop rate cause I still don’t have the skullmasher I’ve killed that boss about 75 times.

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  8. Tridus
    April 15, 2013, 9:39 AM

    Quite frankly, this mode sucks. They buffed slag and enemy health both up so much that if you’re not slagging everything (or have already farmed a ton of stuff in the past), it feels like you’re fighting with a BB gun. That is something less than even remotely fun.

    When a simple weak trash enemy can take two clips of ammo worth of direct head-shots and still be standing, something is way off with the game balance.

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  9. Tridus
    April 15, 2013, 9:41 AM

    @Aldershot – Games are a subjective medium, and all reviews are subjective. You can’t objectively review art or fun, and anybody who claims their reviews are “objective” is lying to try and sucker people into believing it.

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  10. heyapple
    May 20, 2013, 8:32 AM

    1? Are you kidding? This is a minor DLC clearly targeted towards hardcore players who found TVHM too easy, and no casual player will ever consider to go through the same game for the third time. It adds some cool stuff and it makes tactical use of slag more important, but even in TVHM elementals were extremely useful. This review is extremely biased plus the person who wrote it clearly didn’t played the game for more than a coulpe hours, maybe he didn’t played this game at all and just watched some youtube vids

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  11. trey
    May 21, 2013, 9:19 PM

    I WANT A REFUND I GOT NOTHING AND IM STILL MY LVL 14 FOR GUNZERKER THIS GAME IS A RIP OFF I GOT NO MODE OR ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!

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