Mr. Torgue, of Pandora’s Torgue weapons corporation, has a question for all you would-be vault hunters. EXPLOSIONS?!
That’s how the latest DLC for Bordelands, Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, starts off. Mr. Torgue, shirtless and muscle-bound, then proceeds to yell at you for a good five minutes, about how a new vault has been discovered, and can only be opened when the Ultimate Badass gives it the blood of the Ultimate Coward. So naturally, he’s set up a tournament to find Pandora’s ‘ultimate badass.’
Borderlands has always been over-the-top, but this DLC somehow takes it even further. The titular Mr. Torgue will constantly berate and encourage you with loudly-yelled catch phrases and buzz words, as you fight your way through arena-fights, death races, and of course, gratuitous explosions. It’s no secret that Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot was the most poorly received of the original Borderlands DLC’s, it’s main problem being that while it introduced the Arena mode, a mode where you fight waves of bad guys with increasing difficulty, it didn’t really do much else.
There wasn’t really a campaign, or even too many new zones. Mr. Torgue has set to remedy this, by providing the Arena mode alongside a fully-fledged DLC story. Players can expect 4-6 hours of gameplay, new enemies, new areas, new weapons and some new features.
The story is pretty self-explanatory – fight your way up the ranks to become the ‘Ultimate Badass’. The main quests revolve around seeking out the next ranked badass in his lair, fighting through his swathes of henchmen and eventually taking his head and his rank. Anyone who ever played the Quirky wii action title: ‘No More Heroes’ will feel more than a little nostalgic.
Although, rather than fighting your way through 10 ranks like in No More Heroes, in Mr. Torgue, there are only 5 ranks. As you complete each ‘challenge’ required to fight a ranked badass, you’ll unlock repeatable quests related to that challenge. For example, one challenge required me to start, and win, a bar fight. After completing that, I was able to repeat the bar fight challenge on a higher difficulty level, making use of the game’s new ‘battle-boards’.
Rewarded from quests, repeatable challenges, and drops from certain enemies are the new ‘Torgue Tokens’. The Torgue Tokens feel like an attempt by Gearbox to answer a complaint about the original game. Many players felt that money became worthless as you gained levels. Sure, you could use it to gamble, but the rewards (much like actual gambling) were far, far, too few and far between to be worth it. For example, I have never seen so much as a purple item from the slot machines, let alone an orange one.
Torgue Tokens are an ‘alternative’ to money, and are redeemed at the new Torgue vending machines, where you can buy blue, purple and orange quality Torgue items. As expected, all of the items have ‘explosive damage’ as an affix. It’s a nice little way to feel like you are actually progressing towards getting new, better, items, particularly if you are unlucky with drops like I am. It would be nice if you could also directly exchange money for tokens, but this is a decent enough system.
The characters (both returning and new) are well written, and I found myself chuckling at a lot of the jokes and references. The quests are relatively short, and often have generously placed quick-travel locations (easing my complaints on the main game and Captain Scarlett, in which I felt they were too far apart). The story is a neat little arc that wraps itself up quite nicely. Again, just like Captain Starlett, this is the way DLC should be handled, a nice little addition to the main game and main story that feels like it adds to the game rather than completes it.
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. While Gearbox has done a decent job at streamlining quests, and making side-quests easier to follow and more tightly bunched, it still suffers because of the god-awful quest tracking system that only lets you track a single quest at once. I mentioned that a lot of Captain Scarlett’s enemies just felt like reskins… this is even more the case with Mr. Torgue, with every enemy just feeling boring and the samey.
Thankfully, the driving challenge only has to be completed once, because the driving is still awful. You can’t even use the hovercraft that Captain Scarlett introduced, or the Bandit Technical from the original game, you are stuck with the stock-standard runner, and it sucks. I got stuck on terrain more often than I care to count while just driving around the maps, and minuscule obstacles that caused my car to completely spin out for no reason made the driving challenge teeth-grindingly frustrating.
So where do I stand with this DLC pack? Overall, I felt it was more ejoyable than Captain Scarlett, whose wide open areas were often more frustrating than fun. This one had a lot more content packed into a lot smaller area (like some kind of… explosive?), it’s easier to get around and everything just felt a lot more convenient. The writing was good and the new loot incentives were enough to make me load up Borderlands 2 again, so as a DLC it’s succeeded. Just like in my Captain Scarlett review, if you want to play this, you should probably get the Season Pass, as it includes Captain Scarlett and two more unreleased DLC’s. If you don’t feel like you can stomach 4 pieces of DLC and just want to try one of them out, at this stage, I would recommend Mr. Torgue over Captain Scarlett.
Buy (in the Season pass)
Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty is available both individually ($9.99) and as a part of the Borderlands 2 ‘Season Pass’ ($29.99) on the steam store. If you liked Steve’s article be sure to check out his “Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty Review” and his “Borderlands 2 Review”