Like magical swords, walking skeletons, giant fire breathing dragons… like magical fantasy? If you answered yes, than Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep might just be for you. The latest piece of downloadable content for Gearbox Software's loot filled shooter Borderlands 2, it's also the last piece of content made available for free for those with the season pass. Looking back over what's been released as part of this season pass, it's been solid if unspectacular. Yet make no doubt about it, with Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep Gearbox are ending the show with a show-stopper.
Set in the magical land of Tiny Tina's mind, the thirteen year old psychopath, Assault on Dragon Keep is based around a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It's a simple setup that allows the developers to stretch both their imaginations and provide all manner of crazy situations without having to provide some deep back story for why you're shooting a bunch of dwarfs who for some reason or another have the same resemblance of Salvador. It's this freedom that makes Assault on Dragon Keep so much fun. After all Tiny Tina's mind is all over the place, so expect to face giant rock golems, tiny skeletons and walking trees as you go on your quest to take down an handsome sorcerer who has captured the queen of this fantasy world.
It's still Borderlands, no doubt about that so you're still spending a great majority of your time shooting creatures in the face. Though the variation in enemy types this time around give the game a more pleasurable challenge and whilst Gearbox have rarely been tightly controlling of what sort of crazy things can occur in the world of Pandora, this fantasy setting allows them to really go all out crazy with you facing some truly challenging opponents. It's still about the loot and in this regard there's a few new toys for you to play with, including a pretty kick-ass sword firing shotgun which I used for the majority of this content. Though it had me regretting my lack of investment in upgrading my shotgun ammo capacity, I just didn't find much use for shotguns in most of Borderlands 2.
Look, let's get one thing out of the way here. I know not everyone can stand Tiny Tina, while I'm personally a fan of the outlandish thirteen year old with her very quotable lines and all out bats**t mad attitude, there are those who simply can't stand her. Considering this piece of content is indeed named after her, you can expect your fair share of Tiny Tina. That said, if you simply decide not to play Assault on Dragon Keep for that exact reason, you'll be missing out on the best downloadable content yet released for Borderlands 2 and one of the best I've played this year. Just something to keep in mind. If you're a fan of Tiny Tina, then you're in for a crumpet-filled treat.
As always Borderlands 2 looks outstanding and Assault on Dragon Keep shows off some great art design throughout. Despite the hundred-plus hours I've invest in playing, Borderlands 2 is a game that continues to impress me with a great use of lighting, environment expanse and detail that simply looks fantastic, especially on the PC. There's some great enemy designs which you'll face and Gearbox have even provided a few extra challenges when going against some of these opponents, for example a resurrecting skeleton which proves impossible to kill until you realize you have to pull a magical sword out of his back to finish him off. Unlike some of the previous downloadable content packs, Dragon Keep offers a greater degree of variation to, and does a great job of continually introducing new things for you discover and see. The main story won't take you long to complete, a couple of hours at most. But there's still a satisfying amount of side-quests for you to complete once you've wrapped up the vault hunters heroic attempts to rescue the captured queen.
Humor in Borderlands 2 as often felt forced or been pushed to the point where it's simply isn't funny anymore. Thankfully Gearbox Software have clearly learnt a few lessons for Dragon Keep, because it's easily some of the best written humor in the entirety of the game. There are some really well thought out jokes here, many of which feel like they were aimed at fans who have come to know each and every character and some of which are clearly inspired by some popular games and TV shows. Plus I can't go on without mentioning that it all wraps up in a surprisingly touching way, who the hell would've guessed a game of dungeons and dragons could be so emotional. You just can't help but think it was all created with love and that the developers most probably had a blast making it.
Overall I can't recommend Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep enough. It's comfortably the best content Gearbox have released for this fun and frantic shooter and it'll be interesting to see where they take it from here, with more downloadable content having been confirmed for release. For now though, the season pass ends with the best yet and I'd recommend any Borderlands fan to give this one a go, hell even if you might have fallen out of love with the game, it's still some of the best downloadable content released this year so it's still worth serious consideration.