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Borderlands DLC – The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned Review (PS3)
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(First off, a quick apology for not getting this review up sooner, for the past two weeks I have been sitting in exams room, and have been genuinely exhausted, now I have a day off and have finally got a chance to get my teeth into this DLC and write up this review.)

Borderlands again, time to eject my Assassins Creed 2 disc and place it back in its box before putting it neatly back onto the shelf in alphabetical order to most probably and unfortunately gather dust for a few weeks. The DLC for Borderlands is something I was eager to play, I’m a sucker for zombies, big guns, and general chaos, which is exactly what this DLC is all about.

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The DLC opens up with a storyboard piece much like the opening of the main game, with the Borderlands sense of humour intact and used effectively straight away, and some good voice acting to go alongside it. You can travel to Dr. Neds island as soon as you have downloaded and installed your DLC, and no fooling around on the mainland of Pandora is required to be able to play it, which is a nice feature. As soon as you enter the first location of the island, you will notice how atmospheric the game is despite the humour used before, with a vibe similar to Ravenholm in Valve’s Half Life 2 except with the cell shaded sexyness of Borderlands and not to forget, everything you have collected and worked for over the course of the regular single player.

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Another thing I noticed straight away were that the zombies are levelled to you as a player, meaning that you can enter this DLC at any time and not be at a disadvantage or otherwise, which is definitely a well played move in my opinion. As always, sticking with Borderlands’ style, the zombies are well designed, look nice and crisp, and have some nice gore to keep you entertained whilst blowing them away with shotguns. There are various types of zombie, the basics being, Your regular ‘Average Joe’ of the undead, Defilers (that throw up on you, reminiscent of Left 4 Dead’s ‘Boomers,’) Psycho Zombies (much like the regular in game Psycho’s but scarier,) and Midget Zombies (Think Wee-Man and resident evil’s basic brain muncher fused together, and you’d be close.) There are also several types of unique zombie, that I’m not going to go into, as when you first come across them it’s one of those ‘OH SHIT’ moments that I mentioned in the review of the full game. On the subject of characters, a loveable one and one that is up there with Crazy Earl, is definitely the title character, Dr. Ned, when you notice what is wrong with his moustache, I can guarantee you will physically laugh, and his introduction and build up to meeting him is a truly funny moment, breaking up the tension of being vomited on or jumped nicely (and if you have played the DLC, I hope you will agree that the elevator scene was pure genius.)

One thing that annoyed me quite a lot was the fact that I lost my favourite gun due to accidently picking up a shotgun and the good one I dropped clipping through the wall, not good. On the subject of weaponry, your arsenal is widened by quite a bit across this DLC, with a few more unique weapons to pick up, and a shitload of weapons crates lying around the well designed environments.

Another point, the environments, from swamps to graveyards and hospitals to villages, the entire map of the DLC is vast, with some incredibly in depth locations, some very atmospheric places, and some great set pieces for boss battles, which brings me nicely onto my next point.

I don’t want to ruin anything, but the first boss battle you fight made me physically laugh, Dr. Ned sends you on a mission to find the vials that contain the prototype cure for the Zombie virus, which uses Skag DNA as its main ingredient, unfortunately the person guarding the medicine has been infected, and as a reaction, taken the antidote, and turned into a Wereskag (awesome.) Upon his entrance you are treated to a pretty epic jump and the classic Borderlands freeze frame with the characters name, and all I’m going to say, so as not to ruin this truly funny moment for you, is, ‘Nice Hat.’

One thing that this DLC does occasionally suffer from is repetitiveness, sometimes, due to the spawning, you will have to same fight twice in a row, be it a horde of regular zombies, or just a few Defilers, it’s not too noticeable, but if you’ve just come out of a tough fight with some Badass Tankensteins, and then they respawn again shortly after, it might annoy you a tad (thankfully I have the survivor class mod, meaning my health regenerates, classy.) Don’t think you are getting off easily just because your enemies are zombies either, you will often find yourself getting jumped, hit, mauled or defiled no matter how cautious you are, this will often leave you on the floor dying or sprinting for cover whilst rapidly trying to find that last healthpack in your backpack, or even a gun that still has ammo in it.

Training your character is fairly easy to do in this DLC, as you can fight endless waves of zombies in certain spots around the DLC area, meaning that you can just farm your XP, weapon and ammo drops, and if you’re lucky, elemental artefact pieces.

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To finish up. This DLC really is something, and Gearbox have pulled out the stops with the full game and this DLC. The pricing is ok, but not cheap, and I was discussing this with James a few days ago, In my opinion all DLC has been overpriced since GTA4’s sell out to Microsoft, however, this DLC retails at £6.29 compared to the £7-8 of most games, which I suppose will leave you enough change to buy a can of Euroshopper Energy Drink or Super Stardust HD when it’s in the sale. So a good all rounder that will keep you entertained and glued to Borderlands for quite a while.

-Dean Case

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