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Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage review: Macho man, hollow thrill


Mr. Torgue likes masculine things. Like explosions, suplexing sharks and sick guitar solos. He's a great mouthpiece blaring in your ear during the otherwise ho-hum missions that make up Borderlands 2's Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage DLC campaign.

The premise surrounding Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage is simple: Mr. Torgue wants to know who the biggest badass on Pandora is, and he just so happens to own an arena, conveniently situated within a massive crater called the Badass Crater of Badassitude. What he lacks in naming craters he makes up for with loud exuberance.

Being a Vault Hunter, it's only natural that you be considered for this contest. Mr. Torgue is on your side though. He clues you in on a double-cross early on because he likes to break the fourth wall and tell you these things. It's what makes the Macho Man lookalike the endearing highlight of this Borderlands 2 DLC adventure.

Gallery: Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage (Borderlands 2 DLC) | 3 Photos

The entirety of Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage doesn't offer anything entirely exciting or ingenious when it comes to gameplay or mission structure – in fact, some of the missions in Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage are downright weak. One mission literally tasks you with walking down a hallway then immediately turning around and walking down the hallway again. Another mission asks you to drive around a track for a few minutes. A driving mission. In Borderlands 2.

But what helped lift my spirits during a mostly dour series of missions and boss fights is Mr. Torgue himself, and his seeming need to just be a part of my life. He narrates situations and provides key plot points with unrelenting charm and energy. He screams everything but I never really minded because I knew he just couldn't do it any other way. Mr. Torgue is, in short, the embodiment of excitement.

Tiny Tina, a fan favorite with a propensity for pop-slang, also makes a return, and even Moxxi enjoys some brief time in the spotlight. As you've probably guessed, however, both take a backseat to Chris Rager's excellent portrayal of Mr. Torgue.

Like Borderlands 2's previous DLC, Captain Scarlett, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage includes its own currency system. Special tokens allow you to purchase Torgue weapons from specialized vendors, but in a game where you're constantly getting new guns, there really isn't much point. There's also a slot machine you can play in Moxxi's bar, which I found to be a better place to drop these coins, as it offers more prizes than just guns, including shields and artifacts.

The campaign (carnage included) is fairly short, clocking in at around two hours for the main missions and tacking on a few more for all the side quests. Main missions essentially see you battle your way through grunts before facing off with a boss – a process that is repeated several times before the big final showdown with the big Badassasaurus (actual name) seen above.

The rogue's gallery of bosses runs a strange gamut. There's a guy obsessed with fire – "His gimmick is that he really likes fire," Mr. Torgue happily yells as you approach his compound – and a gigantic cannibalistic lady who rides around with a motor gang. There's also a punk kid who speaks in internet acronyms. As you might imagine, killing him – and thus shutting him up – is intensely satisfying. None of these encounters are really exciting or particularly different from other boss fights in the game, but the humorous narration throughout makes it more palatable.

In fact, the highlight of Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage is a side mission involving a video game review score. See, ECHOnet – what I assume is Pandora's premiere video game coverage outfit – didn't like the game Diamond Mercenaries 2, but Mr. Torgue loved it. So, he does what any sensible person would do and sends you out to murder ECHOnet's entire staff. The mission is a great little moment of metahumor, but it's indicative of the entire Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage experience – a hollow thrill, a mission that is quickly enjoyed and discarded without a second thought.

That's the heart of Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage: a glorified hit-list of boss fights and missions that do their least to come up with an excuse for you to fight a few enemies. The boss fights aren't exactly interesting or breathtaking, while Mr. Torgue himself is both. In fact, killing my way to the top of his list of badasses wouldn't have been half as fun without Mr. Torgue's raw enthusiasm and loud naivety.

This review is based on final code provided by 2K Games. Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage is available on Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and PC for 800 MS Points ($10).

Note: Joystiq does not provide star ratings for downloadable content reviews with the understanding that the quality of the core game's experience is unchanged from the retail release to DLC add-ons;
see: Borderlands 2 review.

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