Suddenly I find Badass Crater of Badassitude (no kidding) on my map. A name that turns out to be very appropriate when we're talking about the new Borderlands 2 expansion.
Within, weapons manufacturer, loud mouth and suspected pro wrestler Mr.Torgue has found a new Vault - something that according to legend, can only be opened by Pandora's best warriors.
What's resulted is Mr.Torgue building an arena and dedicated himself to finding just those persons. I encounter him - and his excessive attitude - as soon as I enter the Crater, and before I know it I'm entering a Rocky parody, picking sponsors and coaches, and heading into the arena to combat waves of enemies.
To my great joy, there's others who claim to be Pandora's best entering the tournament, and so the arena's full of would-be superstars of all shapes and sizes (particular boss fight favourite is Motor Mamma, astride a massive two-seater motorcycle).
Aside from the blast that is the boss fights, Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage packs a brutal amount of side missions where we get to reacquaint ourselves with Tiny Tina and the ever popular Mad Maxxi. The whole package feels superior to the previous expansion.
And while like Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, this DLC doesn't come cheap (Xbox 360: 800 MP, PSN: £7.99, Steam: £7.99), but the update's as large as full digital releases. Scarlett took me ten hours to clean up everything it had to offer, and Mr.Torgue's fully comparable in content. Any fear of this being a simple Horde-style expansion when I heard about the stadium concept is quickly laid to rest: there's plenty of story and places to visit.
To create some variety to the gameplay, Gearbox has added racing into the mix - roaring around tracks and hitting checkpoints in time. Game control isn't quite as tight as you'd want, but its a fun little aside that occupied myself and my co-op buddies for a few hours - a sign that we were happy with the XP that was being handed out.
Perhaps the biggest change is with Mr.Torgue's vending machines. They've got the usual setup - ammo, weapons, health - but not the usual goods. Mr. Torgue's got his own label of stuff to sell, and you can't buy them with traditional cash.
Instead, you've got to find Torgue Tokens to exchange with, and it quickly becomes an enjoyable pursuit to pick up a whole host of unique items contained in the ad-heavy cages. It's like being thrown back to the beginner's league of Borderlands 2 but without the annoyance.
One glaring omission in all the mind-blowing action is our inability to use the motorcycles with side-cars we see countless enemies roar around in. Surely these rides could have been made player friendly, as they had massive co-op potential - and how about escort missions, in which you need to keep your passenger alive? Great ideas that seem squandered opportunities. As it is though, the motorbikes are strictly enemy-only.
In the end, it is easy to recommend Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage to all Borderlands 2 owners. This is a fully-stocked expansion that differs radically from Captain Scarlett's, even if it skimps on the good humour we're used to by now. It's well worth paying a visit as Gearbox continue to prove that they best understand how DLC should look, function and cost.
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