Fans of the award-winning Borderlands 2 will be thrilled with the latest downloadable content adventure (DLC) Tiny Tina’s assault on Dragon Keep. This is the fourth downloadable adventure for the game and while it is not necessary to own or have played the previous adventures it is required that you own the full version of Borderlands 2 in order to enjoy the game.
As any fans of the series will know, Tina is the highly precocious yet unstable character with a penchant for blowing things up. This time around she is hosting a role-playing game session for her colleagues from the first game. With time on their hands, the group reluctantly agrees to take part in the adventure which is set within a fantasy realm. This allows the game developers to capture the elements of Borderlands 2 that works so well such as the team-based gameplay, millions of weapons and power up combinations, customizations, and above all action-packed gameplay while introducing a new twist.
The twist this time around is not only in the fantasy setting which allows gamers to encounter skeletons, dragons, Orcs, dwarves, wizards, and other fantasy opponents, but dealing with Tina herself. As the host of the game, Tina often presents seemingly impossible challenges such as introducing an undefeatable Dragon at the start of the game. This allows humor to enter into the picture as you can clearly hear the other players complaining about this development which in turn causes her to adjust the game on the fly to a more manageable opponent or situation. While being immersed in the game and being able to hear the players banter about their situation as well as complain to Tina really captures the immersive elements of role-playing games and provides some of the best moments of the series to date.
The quest is a straightforward save the Queen style mission but along the way there’ll be plenty of laughs and challenges to keep even the most hard-core gamer satisfied. I took great delight in using my high-powered sniper rifle to take down adult skeletal archers as well as reducing skeletal swordsmen to crumbling piles of bone with one well-placed punch. For me the ultimate delight was knocking a helmet off opponent with a well-placed shot and then sending the skull flying with the follow-up. Unfortunately you still have the skeletal body to contend with but once weakened, they went down very easily. There are no vehicles to contend with this time as all travel is done on foot but this in no way lessens the experience as this is a classic combination of role-playing games and Borderlands universe that comes complete with jokes about rolling for initiative and other genre staples.
There is a lot of challenge offered in the game and at times some of the boss battles are exceptionally difficult and work best when you have players assisting you in the quest. Even so, expect several trips to the regeneration chamber as death is definitely a constant in the game even for the most experienced players. The game supports up to four players and allows them to drop in and out of the game at any time.
The graphics and sound of the game are first rate and illustrate just why Borderlands 2 won so many awards. The detail level of dungeons, castles, dark forests, and other fantasy realms came alive with vivid clarity and was a nice change of pace from the previous settings in and around the world of Pandora. I found myself enjoying this offering more than I had the previous three DLC packs which is saying something as each one of them was highly enjoyable in their own way. The banter between Tina and the players will have fans and stitches but there are some very unexpected and tender moments in the game as well.
There are also plenty of side quests available for those who want to expand their experience and countless new weapons and power up opportunities can be found from the abundant treasure chests that litter the landscape as well as by defeating key opponents. I did find the pathfinding at times to be a bit frustrating especially in the mines as at times various members of the party was unsure of which way to go. That being said, the final result was a big success and I look forward to seeing what is to come next in the franchise. The game is available for the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 systems.
4.5 stars out of 5.