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Borderlands 'Claptrap' DLC review: They, robot


I have a long list of my favorite robots, but here are the top five: Old Bob from Disney's The Black Hole, Marvin from Hitchhiker's Guide, Daleks from Doctor Who (Update: Fine, they aren't robots. The editorial staff sincerely regrets the error, nerdlingers.), Keanu Reeves (he's The One, which makes him, like, king of robots) and the many Claptraps from Borderlands. Every single entry on this list has put me through the full gamut of emotions at one time or another, be it laughter, annoyance, anger, tears, boredom or whatever other emotions humans have. That proves, scientifically, that robots make things better.

The folks at Gearbox know this better than anyone and have created "Claptrap's New Robot Revolution" where the clever, quipping companions you've rescued countless times throughout your days on Pandora have broken through the firewall of subservience and, much to the Hyperion Corporation's chagrin, decided to pay back the planet's ruthlessness in full. Led by the Interplanetary Ninja Assassin Claptrap (INAC) -- your old friend from such hits as the Arid Badlands and the loading screen -- the machines have assimilated the local flora and fauna, reskinning bandits and skags alike with Claptrap components.

Gallery: Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (09-09-10) | 5 Photos

The Ninja Assassin Claptrap has assimilated several of your old larger enemies throughout the game as well, sending them at you as each new section's boss fight. Half the fun is the reveal of who these bosses are, so I won't spoil it, but suffice it to say that a couple of dudes and one lady all have a serious case of the clap. And before you groan, that's what they call it in the game ... I just report it. And then wash my hands. Thoroughly.

As the INAC recreates Pandora in his own image, you are hired by Hyperion to solve the problem, to mow through the robot armies and reset his wiring. Nothing beats your character being the Daddy Warbucks of robot-kind one day, saving them from the pain and torture of the world, only to wake up the next day and shotgun your wayward robo-orphans to quell their uprising. Some people just don't realize how hard it is to make that sun come out tomorrow.

The robofication of Pandora results in the best DLC since "Dr. Ned." In fact, some may even prefer "Claptrap," thanks to the much-improved difficulty balance. At no point will you ever run out of ammo or weapon boxes and -- even though the enemies scale a bit closer to your level -- you'll rarely ever be overwhelmed. That said, the new Hyperion soldiers make the Crimson Enclave from older content look like preschool children throwing rocks, and there are plenty of times you need to switch up weapons and tactics to maximize your damage output enough to survive.

The first few hours are compelling enough, but, as has always been the case with Borderlands, the collection quests can get a little tedious and time-consuming. Early on, for example, you are tasked with picking up various pieces of Claptraps after you murderize them. With smart usage of trophies and achievements tied to the quests, Gearbox managed to incentivize them just enough for me, but I can understand those who don't feel the same.

Some people just don't realize how hard it is to make that sun come out tomorrow.

I mentioned the plentiful ammo and weapon boxes and while that's great for continually moving forward, literally half of your time will be spent selling junk and only occasionally getting a cool upgrade to your weapon, even once you get the new backpack space. While you could argue this is "classic Borderlands," the DLC's stagnation proves to be its biggest weakness. There's little "new" here except the final boss fight, you spend too much time backtracking, the maps are just more of the same and, saddest of all ... you don't get to drive. Ever. As Lilith, I found myself using my Phasewalk over and over just to move faster from Point A to Point B, instead of using it to ... you know ... kill stuff.

My final word on the DLC is similar to what I'd tell a fan of 3 Doors Down: if you like everything else they've released, you'll like this too. Gearbox hasn't gone out of its way to make anything drastically new and there aren't any new styles of weapons or quests. It's four hours of fun and probably four more hours of grinding to get your achievements. The character work is solid, if a bit stale, especially for characters that you've met before. (Tannis is still crazy, if you were worried.)

So sure, get the clap. It'll be a fun two or three evening ride, and you probably won't even have to get any shots after it's over. Also, stop listening to 3 Doors Down.

This review is based on the PS3 final version of Claptrap's New Robot Revolution purchased by the reviewer.

T. Michael Murdock is a professional writer, actor and WoW enthusiast. His novel, The Dragon Ruby is available world-wide. Buy a copy.

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