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Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt Review
Borderlands 2, like the original game before it, just refuses to let you go. The game released in September of last year, and ever since it's been a constant onslaught of DLC expanding the game in some really interesting ways. But while the stuff that Gearbox has released since the game's release has been plenty of fun, it hasn't quite transcended what the main game was all about in the way that the first game's expansions did. Where are our zombie apocalypses? Where are the robot revolutions?
Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt represents perhaps the biggest shift in visual tone for the game since it has been released, and that's much appreciated. It goes a long way towards making the game's enemies and weapons feel new and fresh again, something that does the heart well after pumping over 100 hours into the massive game.
Clearly, a lot of effort was put into the design of the new enemies. Facing down the tribally terrifying Witch Doctor or the tricky Floating Spores is always a blast. The Witch Doctor is a new and more challenging type of enemy, who can summon other savages, heal them, and level them up, as well as use tribal magic to transform himself into a powerful tornado or a swarm of bats.
If you played the original Borderlands, you might remember the Drifters from the Secret Armory of General Knoxx. These scary, giant spiders make a return in Hammerlock's Hunt.
There's also a new vehicle called the "Fan Boat" which functions much like the Sandskiff from Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, but which fires out corrosive projectiles from its cannons. Players can also switch to using Shock or Flame turrets via the secondary gun, making for a dangerous one-two that can take many enemies out in a jiffy. It's an intelligent implementation of the game's corrosion systems, and a lot of fun. The Fan Boat can travel both on land and water, making it a good way to get around the swampy terrain of Aegrus
You can technically jump into Big Game Hunt at any point during the game, but it'd be smart to save it for after a completion of the main campaign. The story of the expansion, which sees Handsome Jack's fan Professor Nakayama seeking revenge against you, inherently contains some spoilers for the end-game, and the enemies you'll face in your quest could be pretty tough if you aren't familiar enough with the game's systems.
The story of this expansion serves more as a vehicle for jokes and goofy one-liners than as an actual nuanced plot, but it's perfectly fine for moving the action forward. The side missions, on the other hand, get into some pretty funny territory, and it's a blast exploring the new world and seeing what crazy stuff you can dig up. While the main campaign quests are short, the real action happens in the side quest. Nakayama is just a distraction from your fun weekend hunting trip with Sir Hammerlock. Don't let the main story get in the way of your hunt!
The loot in this expansion includes new Blue, Seraph, and E-Tech weapons, as well as a new shield with a twist, and a new relic. You will obtain most of the unique weapons by hunting the new named beasts from the side missions. There is also a two new raid bosses, one of which requires Eridium to summon. The level cap does not increase in this expansion, however Gearbox had previously stated that it will be raised early this year.
You want more things to shoot in the face using Borderlands 2's absurdly flexible role-playing mechanics. Gearbox has delivered exactly that in Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, and it's certainly enough to justify another 6-8 hours in the game's bizarre world. This expansion's new enemies and environments breathe new life into the Borderlands 2 formula, and they're just as fun to tear up as ever thanks to the new vehicle. If you're still craving more Borderlands 2 action, there's no sensible reason to pass up on this one.
*Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt DLC costs $9.99/800 Microsoft Points, and is also part of the Season Pass which includes four DLCs for $29.99. The season pass is still available for sale from Amazon and other retailers.