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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! - Claptastic Voyage
Score: 90%
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 2K Australia
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Local and Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/RPG/Online

Introduction:

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! - Claptastic Voyage is a gleefully ludicrous romp through the mind of the franchiseís hapless mascot. As was true of The Pre-Sequel, certain things donít work as well as others do, but thankfully this downloadable content fires on all of the most important cylinders. Itís hilarious, creative, and stuffed to the brim with new enemy types and loot drops. It isn't a sequel, and it doesn't offer a hint at what this series might become over the course of this generation. But more Borderlands is never, ever a bad thing.

The Binary Body:

So it was inevitable that the weirdly likable Jack would meet with the mental and physical transformative moment that would ultimately result in the genocidal megalomaniac known as Handsome Jack, but that this moment would cast the franchiseís femme fatale heroine Lilith in an extremely unsympathetic light was an unexpected and bold surprise. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Ė Claptastic Voyage picks up right after the gameís post-credits scene where he has just risen to CEO of the Hyperion Corporation by strangling his ex-boss, the repugnantly snobby Harold Tassiter. Handsome Jack has plans for Pandora, and they involve unleashing the cosmic terror known as The Warrior. But our villain has just risen to a position of power and needs to shore it up in more ways than one.

Jack discovers that Tassiter has left behind an information cache that contains a multitude of dangerous technology secrets that could grant the wielder an incredible amount of power. It is known as the H-Source, and itís currently hidden deep within the memory banks of that lovably moronic droid on wheels, Claptrap. So Handsome Jack digitizes his favorite Vault Hunters and sends them into Claptrapís mind (such that it is) -- to retrieve the H-Source and bring him closer to his future reign of terror.


Ones and Zeroes:

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Ė Claptastic Voyage is a flight of fancy along the same lines as Tiny Tinaís Assault on Dragonís Keep. Itís entirely self-contained, plays by its own rules, and mostly plays to the core gameís strengths. The high points are the writing, environments, and enemy design; the low points are the sometimes iffy level design and the loot, which is of inconsistent quality. But the novelty doesnít wear off at any point over the course of your journey.

So you venture forth into the quagmire of questionable programming that constitutes every aspect of Claptrapís personality, fighting bugs, glitches, and other assorted computer-themed baddies. Viruses attack with ferocity, bugs blast you from the air, and adware bots spam weapon advertisements over your HUD. Itís great stuff. The writing is excellent as usual, and there are several references to earlier adventures. Remember Overlook, the cliffside town wracked by skull-shivers and a certain clock-obsessed misogynist named Dave? Perhaps the best mission in Claptastic Voyage involves reliving Claptrapís memories of a certain event in Overlook. The problem is that the memory has been suppressed and edited, Harry Potter-style. This quest line is the highlight of this campaign, due to how imaginative and straight up bonkers it is.


Conclusion:

At $9.99, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! - Claptastic Voyage is an easy sell. On top of the entertaining story, locations, enemies, and weapons, the level cap is raised to 70. When it all comes down to it, this is a series that is difficult to "be finished with." There's so much to see, so much to do, so much to shoot, and so much to loot that you could keep playing for weeks on end without seeing an end in sight. In short, you don't really need a reason to return to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, but if you did, Claptastic Voyage would serve nicely.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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