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'Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' preview: DLC hands-on

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'Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' screenshot

© 2K Games


'Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' is the second downloadable content (DLC) pack for Borderlands 2, introducing arena-based gameplay but with a quest-driven focus, and offering new side-quests, characters and weapons.

Appearing to tread the same steps as the DLC for the original Borderlands, what follows the first thematically-focused expansion (with the first it was zombies, and in the sequel it's pirates) is another bout of arena-based content.

However, Gearbox Software has learnt lessons from the lesser received 'Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot'. Described as half tournament fighting and half questing, there's a reduced focus on pure - often long-winded - wave-after-wave fights, instead throwing Vault Hunters into new and interesting scenarios interspersed with a mission-like structure and the chance to explore new areas.

'Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' screenshot

© 2K Games



A smart refresh on traditional arena-battles

'Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' has you compete in a tournament, defeating a number of esteemed warriors to gain access to the contents of a newly-discovered vault.

With a sponsor backing you to enter, the opening offers a traditional arena set-up - a giant stadium with a baiting crowd at the fringes - before you're promptly betrayed and painted as a coward, resulting in a more up-close and personal approach to slaying the remaining warriors, which is delivered through more traditional quests.

Heading away from the sports-like atmosphere of the stadium in search of a new sponsor, another new area, The Beatdown, is a set of gloomy city slums formed of battered shops, flickering neon lights and burnt out cars, where you fight your way through gang members aligned with your next competitor, Pyro Pete.

It's here where some of the more unique arena battles take place. Upon arriving at his lair you have to successfully compete in a bar brawl, where the game's usual suite of diverse enemy types fight it out around bar stools and pool tables, all in order to lure out your next mark.

A later example doesn't involve fighting at all, taking to a series of highways that snake around the outskirts of the stadium, avoiding biker gangs in order to achieve a high enough time-trial time to catch the attention of the next warrior on the list.

'Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' screenshot

© 2K Games



What else is new?

All these new arena-type battles are designed to be replayable - with tougher adversaries and less time to do them in - which constitute the bulk of the side-content in the expansion.

While there appears to be fewer traditional side-quests in 'Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' - certainly compared to the quest-rich 'Captain Scarlett And Her Pirate's Booty' - that's not to say there isn't a handful to be found. Examples include helping recall tainted bottles of beer delivered to citizens of the slums, and taking a game reviewer down a peg or two because he gave a game too low a score.

Another interesting element are Torgue Tokens - earned from combat and mission rewards inside the expansion - which are used to buy new weapons from vending machines.

While the introduction of another currency may initially appear to be an inconvenience, it's a welcome step that resets your current wealth and makes these new challenges and goals feel valuable - after all, most players will come into this DLC as virtual millionaires.

'Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' screenshot

© 2K Games



Familiar faces and trademark humour returns

As with the core campaign itself, one of the major highlights is the characters you find along the way. Without divulging spoilers, two familiar faces make a welcome re-appearance to help train and sponsor you to the top of the leaderboards.

But the star of the show is Torgue himself, the muscular and loud tournament organiser who helps advise with your current objective throughout the expansion.

Like other Borderlands 2 personalities, he's in-your-face but incredibly endearing, mixing brash, swear-filled one liners with oddly polite pointers and fourth-wall breaking commentary on the story, pointing out and making fun of the character stereotypes written into the plot and calling out obvious plot twists from a mile away.

While 'Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage' might not be as thematically strong as the last expansion, nor is the idea of arena-based combat particularly new, the steps taken to offer a diverse, well-paced series of trials are very welcome, and when accompanied with the game's offbeat and humorous writing, also make it very entertaining.

> Borderlands 2 review: Bordering on perfection
> Preview of Borderlands 2 DLC 'Captain Scarlett And Her Pirate's Booty'


Borderlands 2: Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage will be available for 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80 / $10) later this month.

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