I feel like I need to apologize. I wanted to enjoy Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt. I love the Borderlands 2 base game, I liked Captain Scarlett and the Badass Crater of Badassitude as narrated by Mr. Torgue might be my favorite piece of DLC released all of last year. Coming off of that high, Hammerlock had a lot to live up to, and he just couldn’t do it.
The premise is great. The Hammerlock character is great throughout Borderlands 2. I would pay to have him as a playable character, and his quests were usually fun ones. I want the DLC that Hammerlock wanted to give me: a guy’s weekend hunting unique and deadly creatures. That sounds wonderful. It gives the guys at Gearbox an excuse to make off-the-wall bosses that require teamwork and encourage replay for rare loot. What we got instead were easy hunts, a bad storyline and normal enemies that take the best thing about Borderlands — the combat — and make it the exact opposite of fun.
It’s almost as if Gearbox had the base idea and then couldn’t figure out what sort of campaign went with it. You go out hunting, and only then do you find Dr. Nakayama. Nakayama is obsessed with Handsome Jack, and the locals are right there with him. They exist for no reason.
I’m already supposed to be out hunting crazy animals. Why aren’t the base mobs solely native creatures to Aegrus? The enemy types are there, and they’re fun to fight. Making me fight witch doctors on my way to take down Dr. Nakayama isn’t really why I’m here. We already saved Pandora from Handsome Jack; I don’t really see the point in saving it again from his not-as-good sidekick that we never heard from all throughout the main tale.
I mentioned witch doctors. On paper they’re a good idea. They encourage teamwork and target prioritization. Why? Because they can heal nearby units and upgrade them to badass, super badass and ultimate badass variants. Oh, they can also turn into a tornado that wrecks fanboats (the new vehicle type introduced) in one hit.
A unit this powerful shouldn’t be filled to the brim with HP and immune to headshots. It makes them too powerful, and it makes encounters with them tedious. They are so tedious that even in a team of three we decided more often than not to run away from the witch doctors. If you get two in the same area, it’s pretty much game over, because they’ll upgrade each other as well.
I understand that there are people out there who think the game is too easy. That’s fine. I’m not one of them. People who think the base game is too easy should be playing True Vault Hunter Mode. In the base adventure there is no reason it should take all of the bullets and abilities (and more respawns than I care to admit) of three level-30 characters to take down one level-30 badass enemy. That’s the very definition of poor balancing, and a poorly-balanced game isn’t fun to play.
It makes me sad to see a game that I love get such a stinker of a DLC, and I’m not sure any of my other characters will be making the trip to Aegrus. Maybe if a patch comes out to fix witch doctors they’ll go, but until then Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt is to Borderlands 2 what Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot is to the original game. And the level cap still hasn’t been raised, which is baffling to me.
Pros: Lots of new enemy types, elemental weapons on the fanboats
Cons: Short campaign, witch doctors are terrible, the first playthrough feels like a second