Borderlands: Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution: review

It seems impossible for any review of Borderlands DLC not to include the phrase, “If you liked Borderlands…” This is because fans seem only to want more loot, more missions and more guns. For the fourth time, developer Gearbox is delivering with its latest add-on, Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution, and while true fans will certainly be happy at more content, Revolution fails to deliver anything new to the franchise.

Revolution can be easily qualified as “more Borderlands”, which is hardly a bad thing. More than any effort prior, Borderlands successfully combined the loot-focused exploration and character customization of the RPG with the twitch-sensitive action of a modern shooter. It seems that anyone who undertook Borderlands ended up sinking 100+ hours into the title and continued itching for more of Pandora to explore. That is exactly what Revolution provides.

This can't be good.

Those who finished Borderlands will recall a strange cutscene featuring an “interplanetary ninja assassin” Claptrap, a cameo that was never explained. Now, the story is being told. This rogue Claptrap robot is fed up with the enslavement of Claptrap-kind and has raised an army of automated assailants to take over Pandora. Players will navigate a large addition to the planet, fight off Claptrap-inspired assailants, and eventually bring the entire Borderlands title around full-circle.

The core of the story missions are undertaken at the behest of the Hyperion Corporation, continuing Gearbox’s tradition of incorporating a single gun manufacturer into the DLC’s story. The Hyperion Corporation unleashed this Claptrap menace and now they are seeking help with containing it. There seems to be more voice work contained in the NPC dialogue, which is entertaining, and the window on another company’s machinations is kind of neat. Players will get a small peek into Hyperion and probably notice how similar in appearance it is to the Atlas Corporation from the General Knoxx DLC.

In fact, much of the content in Revolution is rehashed from Borderlands and its other DLC offerings. Most enemies are just bandits or soldiers that players will have seen before, tricked out with robotic attachments to provide that “Claptrap feel”. The chapter takes this tongue-in-cheek, pitting players against literal cardboard cutouts of many Borderlands favorites but this doesn’t excuse the obvious repurposing of existing assets, which cannot be ignored.

Tartarus Station is lovely this time of year...

What’s most disappointing however is the seeming lack of any new weaponry inside Revolution. Anyone who has played Borderlands for any length of time knows that the game trades on one major currency: guns. The inclusion of a new gun rarity in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx helped spur sales of that DLC, for certain. Unfortunately, Gearbox failed to learn from that success and instead has just populated Revolution with more average-grade firearms. Even after the DLC’s final mission, when players are treated to a trip inside Hyperion’s private gun locker, the findings are mostly a letdown.

The fact that Revolution exists at all should be appreciated by all Borderlands players. In a recent interview, Gearbox head Randy Pitchford admitted that the team never intended to create four DLC packs for Borderlands. But when fans asked for more, Gearbox could not refuse. So it’s entirely possible that Revolution may not be the last Borderlands DLC.

But all gratefulness aside, Revolution will stand as one of the least successful DLC packs for Borderlands, due to its lack of new items and unfortunate recycling of existing assets. Yes, it is more of what players want, but it is not more of what fans deserve.

6/10

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Written by MarkP

I am a 32 year-old father of three–twin boys age 6 and a one-year-old baby girl. Gaming is a fundamental part of our family life. We game together. We talk about games together. We shop for games together. But we also each like different things. My preference is for shooters, action games, and RPGs. I have a degree in English. When I’m not playing games, I’m reading or writing.

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