Review: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Review: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

On February 23, Gearbox finally released its last planned downloadable pack for their addictive, FPS/RPG hybrid, Borderlands. This add-on, entitled The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, provides more content and more length than the previous DLC packs (The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and Madd Moxxi’s Underdome Riot), making it the best add-on for frugal gamers to get the most substantive bang for their buck.

In terms of new changes to the game, perhaps the biggest difference is that The Secret Armory of General Knoxx raises the level cap from 50 to 61, which gives ample reason for any Borderlands veteran to hop back in and start leveling once again. Unlike other games that have raised level caps in recent memory (Fallout 3), it seems that the guys over at Gearbox were very careful in the process of making this upgrade operate in a way so that the game does not become overwhelmingly unbalanced. So, for those fearing that the 50+ levels would make the game too easy, think again—this third add-on, even at high level play—is definitely the hardest yet.

Much like instance bosses found in the ever-popular World of Warcraft, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx has included some end game content that allows for loot grinding once the levels stop rising. This adds a ton of replayability to and already long DLC pack (I clocked in at around 8-10 hours of play), since players can continue killing the end boss in the never-ending quest for the best loot possible.

Another inclusion for this add-on is the addition of new gear, including another tier of ultra rare items known as pearlescent gear, named for the color of the text used to describe the item. These, along with many other level 50+ items have been rolled into Borderlands making the additional eleven levels to grind a pleasure, considering doing so yields more powerful rewards.

In terms of story, there’s about as much of one as there was in the retail missions of the game; that is to say, very little. Basically, after the events that took place in the main game, a bad dude named General Knoxx is doing bad things, and this good lady named Athena wants you to stop him by killing him and blowing up his armory. A simple concept, yes, but then again, Borderlands was never really about strong narrative flow.

During your journey, players will encounter all the familiar faces of the original content (barring Dr. Ned/Zed) as well as the new character, Moxxi, who was created for the Underdome DLC. They all have their own setups in the new areas and all have quest lines to follow, so returning players will have no problem figuring out who’s who in terms of back story and relevance to the rest of the game.

In terms of mission structure, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is largely a vehicle-based add-on. In fact, players cannot leave the initial hub area without being in a vehicle capable of traversing the long and not so lonesome road that is the Crimson Tollway. In order to spice up the vehicle sections though, Gearbox has created three new vehicles for players to ride around in to decimate their opposition: the Monster, the Racer, and the Lancer. The Monster is a giant truck with a homing missile turret and slow acceleration, the Racer is the fastest car to grace Borderlands, and the Lancer is the game’s only four person vehicle that is essentially a massively powerful but slow APC. All the vehicles seem to have ample merit for most players to effectively utilize each one while traversing the wastes.

All in all, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx easily adds the highest volume and quality of content to the Borderlands experience. While it definitely won’t win over those who didn’t like the first game, it surely qualifies as a must-buy for fans.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

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