Borderlands 2 - Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox 360Also available on PC and Sony PlayStation 3
Borderlands 2 is one of those unique games that somehow keeps you coming back periodically for more guns, loot and general mayhem. Just when you think you will never play it again Gearbox goes ahead and releases the best piece of DLC to date all completely focused around fan favourite Tiny Tina - time to go back to Pandora!
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep is a bit of a departure for Borderlands 2 in a handful of key areas. Our band of space pirates, aka vault hunters, are thrown into a world that isn’t populated by giant robots, it is now something more akin to a day out in Rivendell. Orcs and trolls are but a few of the weird and wonderful fantasy-based beasties that roam the huge new area adding some much needed fatigue-beating change to what can be an endurance based experience. The nice touches don’t end there with this DLC as it is helmed and steered by the always awesome Tiny Tina (voiced by Ashley Burch of Hey Ash fame) and essentially the entire DLC is being made up on the fly from Tiny’s vivid and frequently bonkers imagination. This adds an element of surprise to multiple enemy encounters as the situation is turned on its head when the narrator steps in with a game-changing curve ball.
There is also a rather vain attempt to get a little bit serious in this campaign and the core theme of Tiny dealing with the loss of Roland is explored in some detail. It works to a degree and shows a deeper, slightly less bonkers side to Tina’s character, that said it’s a touch out of sync with the general tone of the game in which people would have ploughed many many hours into already. It’s a nice change but is by no means one of the core reasons why you should pick up this DLC - fans of Tiny Tina will be pleased to know that even though the tone is a tad more serious in places, Tina is as ridiculous and amusing as ever - the difference being in this DLC, it’s all Tina, thus meaning there are plenty of laughs along the way.
For the most part it all works rather well and is by far the longest DLC available to date, this is both a blessing and a curse. Jokes come thick and fast, for the most part are funny but some fall flat and the whilst initially the curveball moments are welcome and amusing, the trick is used too much, leading to frustration in key moments that are meant to be highly amusing. The old bait and switch technique is overplayed but not to the point that you want to stop playing. Other standard Borderlands 2 issues are still ever present; the game is pretty much fetch quests gone mad and the maps can be incredibly frustrating to navigate - the mini map on your HUD being more or less useless throughout causing multiple regular annoyances when desperately trying to find certain waypoints and quest markers.
Whilst the world around you is different to what has been experienced to date, right down to re-worked chests and vending machines, the gameplay is a solid mainstay. As this is Borderlands, there are more guns, more loot and more customisation but the core gameplay is exactly what you expect. Pick up quest, gallantly try and find the quest marker, talk to comedy character and then shoot stuff in the face repeatedly until they are down. It works, it has always worked and is a joy in co-op with up to three friends. This solid platform of gameplay is ripe for story driven DLC and Gearbox have really pushed the boat out with Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep.
Easily the longest of the DLC released to date, Dragon Keep clocks in at a cool twelve to fifteen hours, possibly even more if you are the kind of player that explores every last nook and cranny of the map. Providing excellent value for money and to date the best reason to go back to Pandora, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is a must for anyone remotely interested in going back to Borderlands 2.