Still with me? Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is all about proving you’re the baddest dude or dudette in Pandora, because only the baddliest of baddasses will be allowed access to the vault that requires the blood of a coward to be opened.
Have you ever played the Wii’s No More Heroes? Where the protagonist faces off against the next rank of assassins to become the number one assassin (and I suppose the only one even alive)? The plot in Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is precisely about that kind of competitive killing. Which means, of course, that you’ll be introduced to several new characters, each equipped to fight you in their very particular style, whether that’s atop a buzzard or on a road bike.
There’s an entire new area for you to explore while bloodily making your way through the ranks of badasses. They’re all centred around the large, gladiatorial arena. Some are clusters of bandit camps. Others are dark, up and downhill paths around buildings, giving the impression of an elaborate city (which would be awesome, and I would love to see this idea fully realised in future DLCs). Others still are hazardous walks through lava-laden hideouts. It’s neat, but there really isn’t a lot to dig up in these new areas. They’re nowhere near as beautiful or expansive as the last campaign add-on we got for Borderlands 2.
This isn’t like Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, the last campaign DLC that graced Gearbox’s FPS/RPG sequel. There aren’t a ton of side quests to plough through. Even the main mission in Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is a fairly fast adventure, something I killed in about four hours. You start off in an arena, fighting off waves of enemies and proving yourself worthy enough to enter the ranks of badassery. Then, after you’ve defeated each individual up the badass ladder by tracking them down across the Badass Crater, you’re back in the arena, fighting for the last win.
Mad Moxxi officially becomes your “sponsor” during this tournament. She and Mr Torgue make allusions to other fighters vying for the badass title to open the vault for all its shiny loot. So you’re meant to believe that this is some sort of championship. That there are other fighters out there apparently attempting to win the belt same as you. But it never actually felt that way. It felt more like someone gave me a hitlist and I assassinated my way through it.
That’s not to say that Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage wasn’t fun. It certainly was. But whether that’s a product of the additional content itself or simply a matter of the base game being so darn fun that all I really need is a proper excuse to revisit it is something I can’t quite put my finger on.
But I’m left feeling like this latest campaign DLC wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been. I know people weren’t fans of Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, but I still would like to have seen an arena mode unlocked by the end of the DLC campaign. It felt like it was building to it, and just never did. Even the awesome multiple-seater motorbike was never something players could access. Enemy bandits would drive it around, teasing you, but you could never actually drive the thing yourself.
The DLC does introduce a new currency — Torgue tokens that can be spent on Torgue-manufactured gear — and even new items to pick up (like sexy portraits of Mad Moxxi), but this new DLC was simply a series of quests that I was determined to complete and then promptly forget about.
Captain Scarlett is such a chunky, meaty slab of content that I’m still revisiting Oasis to finish sidequests or get through raid-level bosses. Mr Torgue can’t stand up to that depth of content. I often felt that Mr Torgue was hanging on in the ranks of amazing Borderlands content by the skin of its teeth. It’s just not as impressive, not as remarkable.
So what’s with the big green “Yes” to the right? I may have had my expectations given Gearbox’s track record with Borderlands and DLC in general, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t still an entertaining experience that I’m happy to sink more hours into the game for. There are new characters, the return of Tiny Tina (which, as someone who is named Tina and nicknamed Tiny by her mother makes me very happy) and new areas to explore.
Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage could’ve used the new vehicle it dangled in front of your nose. It could’ve used a new game mode. It could definitely have done with better loot, because even the vault’s burst of new weapons didn’t match up with what I already had in my inventory, a scenario that will likely be similar for many of you who have already dug lots of hours into the game. But even with the glaring omissions, it’s hard to argue with the super burly dude who has a penchant for inserting curse words into practically every syllable. Seriously, don’t argue with him. He yells a lot.