Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution Review

Though not nearly as enticing as some of its downloadable predecessors, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution still provides hours of enjoyable mercenary mayhem.

Since its release almost a year ago, Borderlands has rolled out three robust downloadable content packs to tempt players back into the addictive cycle of shooting, looting, and leveling up. The fourth such pack has now arrived, starring one of the most eccentric and memorable characters on Pandora. Claptrap's New Robot Revolution sends the runty automaton on an amusing one-wheeled trip down megalomania lane, resulting in some entertaining propaganda and a few good one-liners. Yet the humor, much like the action, hits the same note for most of this substantial adventure. Many of the environments you visit and enemies you encounter also strike a familiar chord, though there are some good touches, and the core mechanics are still inherently satisfying. Claptrap's New Robot Revolution may lack the spark of its downloadable predecessors, but there is more than enough enjoyable action to keep interested mercenaries occupied for hours.

The trouble starts when the Hyperion Corporation resorts to drastic measures to stop the rampant secondhand sales of its product. Hoping to divert that revenue stream, it activates the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap, a robot with formidable combat abilities and, apparently, a penchant for puns and clever references. His diatribes are broadcast from loudspeakers across the many environments you traverse, and they include references to video games ("Is a Claptrap not entitled to the oil of his brow?"), the French Revolution ("Every Claptrap will be given liberty, equality, and fraternity, and the humans will, uh…not!"), and Shakespeare ("Hath not a Claptrap an eye? If you prick us, do we not bleed?"). There are some genuinely funny lines, but after a while the robo-lution propaganda loses its luster, and there isn't anything fresh to pick up the slack. A few friendly (and not-so-friendly) faces make amusing cameos, but some returning characters don't know when to make an exit. Novelty gives way to familiarity, keeping this DLC from matching the humorous highlights of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.

Yet though you end up hearing it over and over again, it's still slightly amusing to hear your Claptrap enemies die while exhaling, "Error 404! File…not…found." These diminutive foes zip around trying to shoot, stab, or otherwise maim you. They make up in numbers what they lack in toughness, and a quest reminiscent of The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned gives you an extra incentive to hunt the buggers down. Your other enemies are essentially the standard smorgasbord of Pandoran threats, and blasting your way through them is still fairly satisfying. A number of boss fights spice up the action, though most of these encounters are more like hearty leftovers than exotic new dishes. The same can be said for the environments. A deserted dump, a desolate city, and a gloomy cave are among the areas that, while well designed, don't bring anything new to the table. The lack of invigorating new elements makes the combat in Claptrap's New Robot Revolution feel like a step backward from previous DLC, but the core mechanics are still good enough to make stopping the robo-lution a fun endeavor.

Whether or not this endeavor is tangibly rewarding depends on where you are level-wise. Players who have not yet reached the level cap will likely find that the game matches their level reasonably well and that experience, loot, and some other goodies await them. Level 61 players have fewer rewards in store and are advised to wait until developer Gearbox Software delivers on its promise of a free level cap update. Without the brisk humor of Secret Armory or the interesting environments of Zombie Island, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution is less of a compelling reason to return to Pandora than those predecessors were. However, even though it doesn't go out of its way to entice you, it does provide a lot of new content to play through. The Borderlands formula is still engrossing, and if you are eager for more mercenary action, your 800 Microsoft points ($10) will be well spent here -- especially if you've always longed to put a bullet in a Claptrap's beady red eye.

The Good
Amusing pro-Claptrap propaganda
Solid amount of new quests and areas
Same great gunplay and loot mechanics
The Bad
One-note humor eventually fizzles
Many enemies and environments feel too familiar
Few rewards for maxed-out mercenaries
7
Good
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Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
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    Borderlands is an RPG sci-fi shooter that features four player online co-op.
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    Developed by:
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