When you first begin Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, you’re going to find yourself in a small area with a Fast Travel Station, some vendors, and an intro movie – the usual Borderlands 2 DLC starting area. Sir Hammerlock gives you a mission to go find him so you can start exploring the new continent of Aegrus. You walk outside of the small area to find a big, grey field with little to no color that was seen in the main game. Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty had less brown than the amount of gray in this field. Of course, you’ve been given your objective, so why don’t you go there? Well, that’s easy to answer: because it’s on the ass-end of the field. You’re going to have to job the entire length of the field to get to where Sir Hammerlock is. Few enemies stand in your way as you trudge along the grey-as-all-hell terrain, working your way to the cave where you find the dapper fellow. Okay…when does this Borderlands 2 DLC start? Is it going to be less grey and dull, and have more laughs and interesting places to explore?
As it turns out, the third time is not the charm. You must be confusing this world with the one where Triptych Games didn’t make Borderlands 2 DLC with a steep decline in quality. Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt is a boring, straight-forward, aggravating expansion to everyone’s favorite role-playing shooter from last year, Borderlands 2. Everyone’s favorite dapper, faux-British gentleman Sir Hammerlock has decided to take your crew of Vault Hunters out for a weekend of hunting the exotic wildlife of Aegrus. Not that it’s fun, however. This is one of the most painful grinds in the series’ history (and one of our writers killed Henry over 500 times for a Siren head). Introducing a new continent to Borderlands 2 is, in theory, a neat idea. In actuality, Aegrus (as previously stated) is a land of grays and more grays.
At least there’s the hunt. You get to go out and shoot the local wildlife of Aegrus while you progress through the main story. If you want, you can take up side quests from Sir Hammerlock to do in special bosses for a chance at some unique loot. You might end up with a scope-less sniper rifle, a special E-Tech SMG, or a neat revolver. The animal population of Aegrus is plentiful, but not exactly interesting; the Boroks of the land are a mix of Stalkers and Skags. Granted, they’re not as annoying as Stalkers and less plentiful than Skags, but you’re begging for a comparison to be drawn when they look like a Stalker/Skag hybrid. For better or worse, the incredibly tall Drifters from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx return as well, and Aegrus’ Savages replace the Bandits of the base Borderlands 2.
While seeing new enemies is nice, they behave nearly identically to every other enemy in the game: mindlessly charge forward to kill you. Sometimes the level design doesn’t even cooperate with the enemies or players, resulting in some of the cheapest deaths in the series. The new “Fan Boats” perform nearly identically to the Sand Skiffs of Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, but have weaker weapons and don’t let four of your buddies ride on one. It’s a very disappointing addition to this Borderlands 2 DLC.
Of course, this is Borderlands 2, one of the funniest games of 2012. Seeing as Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, as well as Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, featured top-notch writing, why shouldn’t the third Borderlands 2 DLC entry hold up that mantle of hysterics? Well, here’s four words for you: rewriting Sir Hammerlock’s character. Instead of being a dapper gentlemen who shows general disgust with any sort of stupidity (while simultaneously being an arrogant and moronic fellow as well), Sir Hammerlock has been degraded to a blubbering fool who makes “jokes” relevant to male genitals (while giggling like Beavis and Butthead). What happened to the Hammerlock who delivered the intentions of plagiarism with class after hearing about the death of his ex-boyfriend? Why does he seem so quiet when he’s not making these idiotic attempts at humor? Why is my ECHO Communicator so quiet all the time?
As mentioned in our previous Borderlands 2 DLC reviews, there’s a character we call an “ECHO Buddy”. Each campaign has had one: Handsome Jack, Captain Scarlett, Mr. Torgue, and now Sir Hammerlock…except he barely talks to you at all. While Jack, Scarlett, and Torgue make near-constant quips during their stories, Sir Hammerlock remains relatively quiet, only occasionally coming out of his shell to speak with you or another character. These characters were incredibly funny to listen to while you explored, so the absence of Sir Hammerlock throughout this Borderlands 2 DLC is heartbreaking, to say the least.
As for the story, it’s short. We mean really, really short – about 2-3 hours for the main story. You’re paying $10 for an add-on with 2-3 hours of story-based content, 2 hours of side quests, and 2 raid bosses. This late in the review, you’d think the story would have been discussed. Well, it hasn’t for a reason: there are three quests for the story of the add-on. Three. They’re not too long, either. It’s just that Aegrus is so incredibly huge that the time it takes to get between these dull missions is inflated considerably.
Let’s sum up the story without spoiling it: Sir Hammerlock took the Vault Hunters to Aegrus for a weekend of hunting dangerous wildlife. After about a half-hour, you get contacted by a Professor Nakayama, who apparently is able to control all the wildlife of Aegrus (this is mentioned offhand and never explained). While Sir Hammerlock doesn’t want to bother interfering, Nakayama gets to a point where he’s so obsessed with fighting the Vault Hunters that he actually begs your team to fight him. Turns out he’s a fanatic of Handsome Jack who wishes to follow in the footsteps of his idol by becoming the arch-nemesis of the Vault Hunters and cloning the Masked Lunatic. Two hours later, you’re doing battle with one of the most infuriatingly cheap bosses ever (who has several attacks that you cannot dodge), and a feeling of wasted time and money will flow to your present thoughts.
Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt should have been great. Visit a new continent with a hilarious character from Borderlands 2, do battle with brand new varieties of wildlife, go through a campaign of hilarious jokes and bickering between Sir Hammerlock and Professor Nakayama, and wrap it up with some epic raid bosses. Instead, you’re getting a grey continent, a re-written character, enemies with brain-dead AI, few attempts at humor, and very little communication with NPCs while exploring. It all adds up to one of the worst add-ons in the series since The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned.