Borderlands is the game that keeps on giving, and The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is no exception. In fact, Armory is the best DLC to date, and possibly better than the core game itself. How can it be so good? The writing, strategy, missions and characters are unmatched by anything Gearbox has released prior. Add on the crazy amounts of XP you’ll get, plus the treasure trove of weapons and mods Armory has to offer and you’ll end up feeling like the baddest thing in the wastelands…until you meet Crawmerax.
A quick note for those about to load up the new content: Armory doesn’t scale to your character’s level, so players middling about in the 40’s have the problem of being overpowered (on the first playthrough) or cannon fodder (on the second playthrough). Even starting out on playthrough two at level 50, you’ll want to recruit some friends to help; some of the bosses cap out at level 64, so even when you reach 61, the new level cap, you’ll be too underpowered to fight it out alone.
Now that you (ideally) have your party together, Armory furthers the story of the corporate entity Atlas and its operations on Pandora. Off the bat you’ll be introduced to Athena, the only other person on the planet with a bounty on her head larger than yours, as well as returning favorites Scooter and Mad Moxxi. Your ultimate goal is to storm the armory where Atlas’ General Knoxx has a considerable weapons cache, all while eliminating the company’s nasty throngs of soldiers and of course, going on random missions for pretty much anyone who asks. The notable character additions are Mr. Shank, (understandable) ex-husband to Mad Moxxi and the endearing General Knoxx, who everyone in my party decided they didn’t really want to kill (no way around that), since he’s just a man doing a job. From Shank waxing homoerotic about his fellow band of psychos or Knoxx’s frustration with his incompetent superiors, the DLC provides you with the most engaging and hilarious characters in Borderlands to date. Scooter also taught me the phrase “smokin’ Jesus cinnamon titties!” which is now engrained in my vocabulary for all time.
Strategy becomes another important improvement in Armory. Most enemies are resistant to some sort of attack so keeping a rotating arsenal of varied elemental weapons becomes key. I thought about strategy in Armory far more than I ever did in Borderlands proper. The enemies also become delightfully varied, the Crimson Lance soldiers all have different abilities and strategies, the long-legged Drifters terrorize the deserts and then there are loot midgets that hop out of chests, skags mounted with ferocious riders and ninjas. Yes, ninjas. You can never get bored on Pandora.
The real downside to Armory, and it’s not a giant deal, is that like the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned DLC, there is no fast travel available. That means some extensive roadtrips from one side of the rather large map to the other which can be really frustrating when all you want to do is turn in a mission. On the plus side, the new vehicles are sweet. The Monster gives you homing missiles, the Racer provides speed and the Lancer transports four people at once, plus it boasts a turret, mines and bombs for support.
So, power level yourself up to 50, find some friends and start on The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, the indisputably best piece of contents released for Borderlands to date. My level 50 siren had plenty of work cut out for it on the race to level 61, so there's plenty on tap here for fans. If you pay attention to only one thing of late that involves a giant mech suit battle on a planet called Pandora…it should be this.