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Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution 360 Review

26/12/2011 Thinking Story Gamer Review
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Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution 360

Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

Format:
360

Genre:
Shooting

Style:
Firstperson
Singleplayer
Competitive

Buy/Support:
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Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution 360 is the last DLC for the original Borderlands, and puts the game's iconic robots centre stage in another substantial expansion that's for hardcore fans of the series only.

I'm really looking forward to the forthcoming Borderlands 2, but with no concrete release date set for the sequel, there's plenty of time to catch up with any of the DLC for the first game that you might have missed.

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is the last DLC released for the first Borderlands before developer Gearbox turned their minds to other projects, including this year's Duke Nukem Forever.

Like a lot of the best downloadable expansions, Revolution takes one popular aspect of the main game and expands on it in a fan-pleasing this way. In this case it's the Claptraps, the mono-wheeled, monocular robots that were the most visually distinctive element of the Borderlands world of Pandora, and were the source of a lot of the game's humour and charm.

As the title suggests, this last expansion sees the Claptrap's in full revolt against humanity, and where Revolution is most creatively successful is in milking humour and fun out of the diminutive robots.

There are variant Claptraps with mohicans or boxing gloves, along with enemy Claptraps wearing military helmets and the like. There are also funny, silly boss Claptraps, like Clucktrap who is... well, a chicken Claptrap. There's also a sub-mission to find propaganda statues of Claptraps in heroic poses.

All these twists on the robot mascot work really well, and are a neat expansion on the fiction of the series. Gearbox clearly had a lot of fun playing around with the possibilities for different types of Claptrap, and that fun is infectious.

They're pretty much retreading the same ground here..

Less interesting are the 'claptrappised' versions of old enemies - basically the same as the old models, but with lightbulbs on their heads - which appear as bosses. Characters like Ned and Steele get the claptrap treatment, and as with the zombified old baddies in previous expansion The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned, they're pretty much retreading the same ground here.

Gearbox have even claptrapped some old missions - collecting increasing numbers of claptrap parts for mad scientist Tannis is a direct repetition of hoovering up increasingly ridiculous numbers of zombie brains in Zombie Island - and as with that, your counter is frozen on collecting for the next batch until the current consignment is dropped off, so any you grab in the mean time are wasted. That mission was tediously repetitive first time around, so to be asked to do the same again is infuriating.

I had a very real sense with Revolution that Gearbox had limited resources available for new assets or updated AI, but had instead decided to throw the kitchen sink at the player to provide a substantial challenge. Enemies come thick and fast, and are often tough to beat. As well as the Claptraps themselves and the claptrappised enemy types, other sequences require wading through wave after wave of monstrous, rock hard skags and spiderants just to walk a few metres.

One for dedicated Borderlands veterans who want to spend more time playing co-op in the Borderlands world

It can become a bit of agrind, the frame rate slowing down as the screen fills with explosions and life bars are rapidly depleted.

In spite of the fun to be had with the Claptraps, this is certainly not an expansion for the casual shooter fan, but rather one for dedicated Borderlands veterans who want to spend more time playing co-op in the Borderlands world, and who will appreciate the chance to extend their time on Pandora. For those players, this will be a gruelling challenge, but an opportunity to re-establish old camaraderies in one of the definitive co-op experiences of recent years.

If you haven't tried Borderlands at all, then may I point you to the Game of the Year Edition? The GOTY Edition contains the original game and all the DLC (including Revolution), along with a physical map of the entire of Pandora. Even by the usual stack them high, sell them cheap approach to older games, this is an amazing amount of content and I can't recommend it enough.

Written by Mark Clapham

You can support Mark by buying Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution



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Mark Clapham writes the Story Gamer column.

"I love a good story. Games tell many different stories: the stories told through cut scenes and dialogue, but also the stories that emerge through gameplay, the stories players make for themselves."


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