Borderlands Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot DLC Preview

Borderlands Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot DLC Preview

Join me as I strap on my weapons and take a trip deep into Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot, the second dose of downloadable content for Gearbox Software’s Borderlands.

The second installment of Borderlands DLC ditches the exploration found in The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned in favour of strengthening the ties between the game and the Mad Max series of post-apocalyptic action movies. Stealing a premise from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot sees players fighting for fame and fortune in a series of new Riot Mode arenas, facing wave after wave of enemies in either single player or co-op battles.

It sounds intriguing, but it’s got to be more than three new arenas to warrant a $US9.99 price tag, right? Read on.

What Is It?
Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot is the second set of downloadable content for Borderlands. Rather than a new area to play in, which we got in the first downloadable content, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxi delivers a new gameplay mode, Riot, which is almost like a game show version of Gears of War’s Horde Mode. The titular Mad Moxxi, a widow several times over seeking to relieve her boredom with carnage, entertains a cheering crowd as you and your teams take on five different waves of enemies in three new arenas – Hell-burbia, the Angelic Ruins and The Gully. These aren’t simply pits that fill with enemies – they are relatively sprawling yet contained battlegrounds, ready to be soaked with the vital fluids of your prey.

What We Saw
I played through each of the three new arenas multiple times, using a pre-made level 30 soldier graciously supplied by the folks at Gearbox. OK, I attempted to play through all three arenas several different times, dying frequently. I unfortunately only got to play single player, but it’s easy to imagine having a blast with a couple of close total strangers on Xbox Live.

How Far Along Is It?
The new DLC releases next week on the Xbox 360, so the build I was playing is damn near close to the finished product.

What Needs Improvement?

No Experience Necessary: You don’t gain experience while battling through wave after wave of enemies in the Underdome, which quite frankly feels odd. I understand the draw here is new weapons and the glory of triumphing over seemingly impossible odds, but when I spend an entire game on a steady climb towards max level, spending several hours tooling around a plateau just feels like a slight waste of time.

What Should Stay The Same?

Riding The Waves: The enemies in Mad Moxxi’s Underdome come at you in different waves, each consisting of different types of enemies. One visit to an arena might start you off with an Easy Wave, with powered-down enemies that are easier to dispatch, before moving on to a Gun Wave, in which all enemies have guns (duh) or a Horde Wave, where swarms of melee enemies come at you mindlessly. There’s a variety, but it’s not so much that you can’t anticipate what’s coming next after you’re done scrambling for the health and ammo Moxxi tosses into the stadium between rounds.

Moxxi’s Got Talent: Black widow Mad Moxxi is a constant presence in the DLC, shouting out taunts to you as you struggle to survive, egging on the crowd, and just basically being the consummate showman, adding to the feeling that you are a contestant in some sort of twisted game show birthed in the mind of a violent husband-killer. Good times.

The Penalty Box: If you die during a wave, you’re warped into the penalty box, an area overlooking the arena where you can shoot from, but cannot leave. Once again, I only played single player, where its mission failed if you wind up in the box, but I can easily imagine the fun that will come of having 2-3 other players in the box, urging the survivors on while desperately searching for targets to take out long range.

Final Thoughts
Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford has said that Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot is “like Smash TV in coop FPS, but in the Borderlands.” I’d have to say he hit the nail on the head. There might not be piles of cash spawning at the end of every round, and the enemies aren’t quite as numerous, but once you step into the Underdome you’re the star of a game show where your life is on the line. I’d like to think that if the world had body replicating technology, this is the sort of thing we’d find on every street corner.


  • was fairly dissapointed with the first borderlands DLC.

    It was fun, but way, WAY too short. I blew through it in less than 2 hrs. Compared to the fallout 3 DLC which cost the same and took me at LEAST 4 hours for each pack, this is unacceptable.

    Definatley won’t be buying this one, even though i <3 borderlands

    • I disagree completely, I thought zombie ned was fantastic. Fallout 3 you spend half your time talking to people which is probably where your extra time came from, not to mention the fallout 3 combat system basically plays in slow motion compared to Borderlands.

      I don’t see videogames as a straight money to ‘time it took me to play’ conversion.

      I’m not trying to crap all over your opinion Bogos, just letting people know there’s others who feel the opposite about this point.

      This…. latest…. arena thing? I’m with Bogos completely, I probably won’t get it, doesn’t sound like my style.

      • Fair enough, each to his own.

        I agree with you about the combat system, however, Fallout 3 was FPS on constant easy mode. I LOVE the borderlands system (FPS + Diablo 2? HELL YEAH!)

        I just feel that these packs should be either:
        1.) Cheaper/Free
        2.) Longer/Have more content

        Especially when compared to other games (GTA IV Episodes, TF2/L4D Free updates)

  • Ooooh, penalty box. Sounds like that could be a heap of fun with 3 friends. Kind of like the bumblebees gamemode in Halo, except the sniper is the good guy.

    Hopefully this is well priced though because i don’t see this being a good distraction for very long unless it manages to pull me in like Horde mode did.

  • Hmm…

    The gameplay seems extremely fun, but the experience factor seems to be a massive letdown.

    I’m going to get it, though. It looks extremely entertaining, and that box thing: awesome. In any of the arenas in game, if anyone died, it was arena-over, so the box thing is brilliant.

  • I’m sorry but it sounds good.
    Will sure beat raiding around pandora looking for good mobs to fight (die spiderants die)

    In defence of an add on that I have never played, most people playing this game will have at least 1 level 50 character (cause it doesn’t take THAT long to level up) and so earning experience will not really be necessary. Fighting a whole truckload of bad muthas and the playthrough 2.5 dudes would net you tonnes of exp which might level you up too quickly?
    Are the arenas like quests that you accept and gain experience based on completing the arena rounds rather than individual enemies?

    Doesn’t matter, I’m keen as a bean. How about some real Borderlanders drop their GTs for xbox live below?

    mine is: dmanwhat

  • Yeah, this sounds pretty good. Still deciding which one to get, but I’ll probably get this first as modes like Horde and Firefight are a personal favourite of mine, as I like the teamwork and the feeling when you mow down enemies with your best mates.

    Better bust out Borderlands and level my Hunter up for this, then.

    GT: Shatterfront

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