Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot
Gameplay 5
Graphics 7
Sound 5

After I praised The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned as a good example of how to do DLC properly Gearbox goes and does the exact opposite with Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot. The arena fighting idea is nice but by removing all the XP and loot gathering we are left with a empty shell of the addictive Borderlands experience. This could have been so much better.

Gameplay: A tedious grind with very little to show for all your efforts.

Graphics: Nice, but nothing we haven’t seen before in the main game.

Sound: Pretty good, but Moxxi can become a bit repetitive with her quips

Summary 5.7 Above Average
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Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot

Developer: Gearbox Software | Publisher: 2K Games | Release Date: 2009 | Genre: First Person Shooter / RPG | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

After the excellent main game and great first DLC, I had high expectations for Mad Moxxis Underdome Riot. The whole setup is clearly a spoof of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, but while Moxxi is a great character; it soon becomes apparent that this DLC has some serious issues.

After a great intro that shows us who Moxxi is and what her underdome is all about, you are given the choice of three new arenas to fight in. Initially, each arena has five rounds consisting of five waves each. You have your starter wave to get into the swing of things, the gun wave where enemies are armed to the teeth, the horde wave which throws melee enemies at you, the badass wave where it’s you against some tougher foes and finally the boss wave where you take on a main baddie and his minions.

When I first heard about this DLC I thought it would be a great opportunity for some cool new loot and to level up my character. Imagine my disappointment when it became clear that not only do the enemies in the arena drop no loot, but you gain no experience points from killing them either. Instead, some health and ammo drops down between waves and if you kill a boss you have a few seconds to pick up some very unimpressive loot as a reward. Removing the role playing elements from the game turns the arenas into a repetitive grind with little or no reward for wasting your time. Get killed during a wave and you are sent to the “penalty” box where you can still shoot but have limited maneuverability. If everyone dies (or if you are playing alone and get taken out) you are sent back to the start of the previous round. That’s right, not the previous wave or even start of the current round, but start of the previous round. Talk about a kick in the teeth.

To make things more interesting, there are random modifiers that kick in between each wave. Unfortunately, these are all bad for you, and can cause some serious problems. The vampire modifier for example, drains your health constantly at a rather alarming rate, forcing you to kill enemies to replenish it. This is easier said than done if there are modifiers in place to make them faster, more durable or practically immune to some weapons. There’s nothing like being killed by super accurate enemies while your life slowly drains away.

This DLC adds a new bank where you can stash items and weapons that are taking up valuable space in your inventory. Quite ironic considering I got nothing new while playing the arenas. Moxxi is quite a fun character who struts around the top of the dome with a bullhorn acting as a ringmaster, but her quips soon become repetitive. I did like the new music and cheers from the crowd, but found this DLC to be very disappointing overall. With no level cap increase and the same old enemies from the main game, this DLC will probably only be of interest to groups of friends looking for new co-op challenges. If you are a single player or were hoping for a cool new storyline like in the last DLC then you can safely ignore this one. Hopefully Gearbox will put a bit more thought into the next DLC.

*Review originally published 2010.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: 2.4 Ghz or equivalent processor with SSE2 support
  • Memory: 1GB System RAM (2GB recommended with Vista)
  • Graphics: 256mb video ram or better (GeForce 7 series or higher/Radeon HD3000 series or higher)
  • Hard Drive: 8 GB or more free space
  • Sound: Windows compatible sound card

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