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Review: Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution

1:00 PM on 09.28.2010 // Conrad Zimmerman

On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 8:59 PM, Benjamin PerLee wrote:

Ooh, you got some time with Claptrap? It's great.

On Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 9:00 PM, Conrad Zimmerman wrote:

No. No, it's not. It's a steaming pile of sh*t.

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PC/PS3/Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Darkside Games / Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Released: September 28, 2010
MSRP: $9.99/800 Microsoft Points

I can see how you might get the impression that it's great. The concept has tremendous potential. And I'm not opposed to the idea of paying for a good boss rush mode, even if that consists of characters which previously only existed in optional content that players may not have bought into, creating the potential risk that they may be somewhat unfamiliar.

But once you spend more than an hour or so with it, the veneer peels away pretty quickly. The characters aren't only written poorly, they're completely different. Tannis as a zany mad scientist is an insult to the dryly humorous sociopath researcher she was prior. And Steele is wasting time cracking a joke about the hole in her stomach? Please. At least they got Knoxx fairly close, although that's not exactly a challenge.

And then there's the mission content. The "story" missions are fine and fit reasonably well with the standards for Borderlands. I have little truck with them, though they don't stand out. But the optional missions are idiotic. There's only one side mission where you have to go kill someone. And a mere two that have you doing shit for people in the town which would be funny if they made sense. One of these has you putting garbage in a chute. But the designers have clearly never seen Pandora and known that it's a fucking interplanetary landfill because they thought it would be a good idea to make you collect a specific pile of trash. And I don't know how you perceive what a "chute" is, but I think of a chute as something that an item travels down. So, naturally, I was looking for rooftop access. I mean, I don't want to nitpick on semantics like that, but I was still pretty pissed about the trash thing at that point.

But the worst offense is Tannis' collection quest. It's one (in four parts) of around four collection-based sidequests which make up roughly a third of the DLC's content and it's exactly the same as T.K. Baha's quest from The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned. But instead of needing to collect 435 brains, you need to get 375 claptrap parts. Despite needing less items, it's not even possible on a single run without grinding, whereas the Ned quest at least offered a combination of skill-oriented shooting with a sufficient number of enemies to get the job done without much fucking about.

And that's the thing that's the most insulting about Claptrap's New Robot Revolution: the rehashing of that T.K. Baja quest. It clearly illustrates that this is just the same old Borderlands shit with Claptrap parts slapped in. The enemies are the same, except they have Claptrap parts (with the exception of midgets, which they removed entirely to make room for Claptraps). The missions are all the same. They just have Claptrap parts on them now. It's abominable.

Then, to make it all worse, the achievement/trophy shit they have there isn't even the slightest bit creative. It's just collecting seemingly arbitrary quantities of low drop percentage items dropped by -- you guessed it -- Claptraps.

There are only two redeeming qualities. There is a room following the Knoxx fight which seems to have a lot of excellent (not new or particularly special, just quality) equipment, but only if you're the sort of character that uses gear which can be collected from lockers. If you use anything bigger than a pistol, you're fucked. Second, the final boss encounter with the Intergalactic Ninja Assassin Claptrap is a worthy challenge, though it'll pale in comparison to something like Crawmerax.

Shit. I just wrote the review. I'm seriously considering just posting this e-mail reply, and pointing out that I don't want to spend any more time thinking about this wretched, wretched thing any longer than I already have. I love Borderlands. It was my #2 pick for Game of the Year in 2009. This is a disgrace and fans should let Gearbox know that it's very easy to perceive this as a lazy cash-grab. Small comfort comes from the knowledge that they outsourced its development to a company I can't remember the name of and won't check because it would require me to play through that fucking thing again. At least they have someone to share the blame with.

Score: 3.0 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)

Forget it

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
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An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

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