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Borderlands 2: Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage

Borderlands

At first glance, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage looks like a repeat of the disastrous survival mode wannabe that was Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot. It was a dull expansion that proved to be too much a grind for even the most dedicated of Borderlands enthusiasts and above all else committed the cardinal sins of not providing any loot-based incentives. Thankfully, Gearbox has wisely opted to make this add-on a full-fledged episode, wisely avoiding making the same mistake twice.

Yet another vault is discovered on planet Pandora, this time by the Torgue corporation. Turns out it can only be opened when the ultimate badass spills the blood of the ultimate coward. The company’s loud, muscle-bound CEO Mister Torgue has decided to hold a no-holds-barred competition in the arena at The Badass Crater of Badassitude to determine who is worthy of the title of ultimate badass and gain access to the badass treasures therein.

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Players quickly find themselves sponsored and then betrayed by Piston: a would-be badass that uses every trick in the book to get ahead on the leaderboards. It isn’t long before familiar faces such as Mad Moxxi and Tiny Tiny show up as the new sponsor and trainer respectively. Moxxi is desperate to get back at Piston and yearns to resurrect the glory of the Underdome in the process. As the campaign’s main villain, Piston attempts to muscle-in on Handsome Jack’s gimmick: mercilessly taunting the player from behind the scenes until the final showdown.

Rather than emulate the obnoxious wave-based matches of Underdome Riot, Campaign of Carnage focuses on the rivalries beyond the arena. While players will find themselves battling enemies to the thrall of cheering spectators, the majority of the action takes place away from it and the quest to seek out enemies in order to move up the ranks. Expect tons of pre-firefight smacktalk from the opponents and lunk-headed commentary from Mr. Torgue.

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Torgue himself is the epitome of a wrestler-turned-commentator after taking too many steel chairs to the head. Imagine ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage yelling every line drenched in machismo coupled with an unhealthy obsession with explosions all while he rocks out to the guitar solo going on in the back of his skull. That, in a nutshell, is Mr. Torgue.

The surrounding areas of the crater are in line with his tastes. It’s a Roadhouse-inspired spread with roving motorcycle gangs, bars, and raceways taking up the bulk of the landscape. One of the oddities is that for all the teasing of motorcycles, they don’t become an unlockable vehicle at the Catch-a-Ride stations. Enemies may look slightly different than the ones in the main campaign, but overall they each attack the same way save for a handful of boss encounters.

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A new currency is available in the form of Torgue Tokens. They can only be redeemed at Torgue vending machines that sell (you guessed it) Torgue weaponry. Every piece of loot players get either from playing the add-on or buying from the vending machine are ultimately going to be Torgue branded, equaling a lot of guns with explosive power and little else. Anyone hoping for some other nice weaponry will be sorely disappointed.

These Tokens can also be won after completing repeatable missions that escalate in difficulty as the waves go on. Grind a few of the bar brawls or death races and you’ll have enough tokens clinking around in your pocket to buy some of the nice swag for sale versus powering through one long mission and getting a fat bonus at the end of it. You’ll definitely need that loot, as the bad guys have been beefed-up in terms of the amount of damage they can dish out. Expect to be dropped quite a few more times than usual in this add-on.

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Are you the sort of person that loves explosions? Do you love them so much you carry about an entire arsenal of Torgue-approved guns that dispatch enemies in a thrilling light show of death everywhere you go in Borderlands 2? If you answered in the affirmative, chances are you’ll love the new DLC episode and get a kick out of its testosterone fueled host. While it solely focuses on only one type of loot and isn’t as big as Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage is another solid addition to the Borderlands 2 experience.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in March 2010.

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