No one makes it past the boss.
It was as much of a warning as it was a statement. From what we’ve seen of Borderland’s new DLC, "The Secret Armory of General Knoxx," the level of gameplay as well as the difficulty has been ratcheted up for experienced players and the merely suicidal. Even in the new Monster vehicle, the three-rocket launcher on the back only slows down the invasion of flying probes – an enemy specifically designed to rip apart your wheels.
We didn’t have to do that. All we needed to do was cross a twisted hundred-yard stretch of dry Earth and kill a man. That’s all. Think of it as a very pretty death march.
We started off by filling in the allotted skill points. Being now closer to the new level cap of 61, I had a few more points to stretch out across Brick’s abilities. I managed to touch all three skill trees with enough points to round out the brute’s character. My partner took his time with the soldier until he was satisfied. We scurried through the rock formation. Three minutes later, we would be dead.
They came charging at us like mad men. Take one large blood thirsty Skag and put a midget on top of it. What you get is a stampede of Skag riders coming to tear us a new one. Each rider and Skag act independently of each other. If one falls, the other just keeps going. And like most of the new enemies in the game, there’s a badass version. In our case, there were two of them… on top of us… and all we could do was die and respawn right outside the vehicle.
It seemed like forever just to take out the first rush of Skag riders. The second rush was just as equally unkind. A bit of running and respawning took care of them as we crossed the arid wasteland that was once the bottom of a lake. Illuminated coral clung to the high arched ceilings. Out in the distance, a metal structure rose into the sky. This would be our destination – the Crimson Lance base.
We had traveled too far to respawn. It would take forever again just to make it over the Skag infested area. Death meant losing everything we had worked on until this point and possibly the end of the demo. In my giant cumbersome hand, I pulled out my sniper rifle to scope out the situation.
There were four of them wandering around outside of the base with our target peaking out every so often. I found the new Medic Lancer, a new class with the ability to heal others, and fired. He fell after a couple of shots. Two engineers started moving towards us, just waiting to throw down turrets. A Pyro even made it out but we killed him before he could throw out the new flamethrower turret.
When facing the new Red Lancers, you’ll need a variety of weapons with many different effects. Each class now has their own strengths and weaknesses. While they all usually keep to the same area, you might want to keep and extra elemental weapon just to be on the safe side.
I won’t go into how the final battle against out target played out other than we did the impossible. He went down and I let my partner pick up the special gun he was carrying. Our guides gasped and cheered as we delivered the final blow. They encouraged us to go on, never knowing what would lie beyond the unbeatable boss. When the giant robot came into view, rockets blasting and massive arms swinging away, we knew that they had picked the right name for him – Devastator.
Grueling was to put it kindly. This massive heap of metal put up a fight that would rival some of the earlier bosses of the game. Our guides just grinned as I pounded away at his knees with my bare fists.
Oh, they said, that’s just the small one.