Giant Bomb Review26 Comments
by Jeff Gerstmann on
General Knoxx is Borderlands' best addition to date, offering more terrain, new enemies, and most importantly, more ways to build your character.
It feels nice to make meaningful progress in Borderlands again. By raising the level cap to an awkward 61, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is the best piece of downloadable content for Borderlands by default. Adding additional vehicles, weapons, and enemy types to the mix only further establishes this third add-on as a must-own for Borderlands aficionados looking for something meaningful that actually builds on the main game in exciting ways.
Knoxx is set after the events of Borderlands' main story. So the vault has been opened, and its contents have been dealt with. The new threat is the return of the Atlas Corporation. So most of the enemies you'll see in this add-on are new types of Crimson Lance troops, including medics, shock troopers, jet pack dudes, and so on. Though there are plenty of side missions, the core story missions point you in the direction of the disaffected General Knoxx, who's sitting on top of an armory full of weapons. At the end, you'll face the general and get to take a quick sprint through his weapon-filled vault, which will hopefully contain some goods worth holding onto. At the very least, you could always just grab stuff and sell it later, but considering you'll have finished the game and will probably be close to or above the level cap at this point, money probably hasn't been a concern for you in a very long time. Still, the characters are interesting, the game is still quite funny, and the additional enemies make combat fun again. The new Lance enemies--though incredibly susceptible to corrosive weapons--can be tricky. In fact, I probably died more playing through General Knoxx than I did on my entire second playthrough of the main game.
Between the core missions and the side stuff, you could easily spend another 10 hours or more going through General Knoxx. That's a bit longer than it probably should be, though, since there aren't any fast travel points to be had. Once you warp into T-Bone Junction, the central town area where most of the magic happens, you'll have to drive everywhere else. All of that traveling gets pretty tedious over time, and it eventually led to me simply quitting the game and restarting it to "fast travel" back to town to cash in quests.
While the more challenging combat makes for a satisfying set of quests, there are still some things that don't quite work out according to plan. Take, for example, Crawmerax. This giant enemy crab is meant to be the hardest fight in the entire game, and he's only available after you've defeated the poor general and seen the end credits. He certainly can be tough, but small ledges around the edge of his arena give you a space to take cover, and if all of the players hide out long enough, the crab gets locked into an animation loop, making him almost totally harmless. Of course, beating that thing without using the exploit isn't much fun, either. There's also a set of arena-style challenges where you have to face off against huge waves of enemy troops to proceed. In one of these, an enemy seemed to spawn in the environment, making him impossible to kill and forcing the players to quit and start again.
Of course, this stuff is fairly easy to overlook if you're already so into Borderlands that you'd do just about anything to get more meaningful content. After the lackluster Mad Moxxi add-on, just about anything would be more meaningful. But at $10, General Knoxx goes beyond most other DLC packages. It feels larger and gives you more to do than most other paid add-ons out there, and in spite of its handful of shortcomings, it feels like a great deal for fans of the main game.