GAME: Borderlands 2 – Commander Lilith & The Fight For Sanctuary (DLC)
DEVELOPER: Gearbox Software
AVAILABLE ON: PC (Steam), PS3, PS4, XBOX 360, XBOX One
It’s been quite a while since Borderlands 2 released. 7 years to be precise. But seeing as it is finally time for Borderlands 3 to be released (and it has to be said it’s looking really good), in order to get their fans prepared for Borderlands 3 they have released a brand new and completely free DLC for Borderlands 2. Today we’re going to take a look at Commander Lilith & The Fight For Sanctuary, a DLC which is set a while after the end of Borderlands 2. I will do my best to avoid any spoilers for both the DLC and the main game, but I will definitely touch on some things that are story related to if you want to go into the DLC completely blind, I suggest not reading this review. Because I can probably say right away that if you’re a fan of the series and especially if you’re hyped for Borderlands 3, you should definitely play this DLC. But let’s get into the details of why you should.
Set after the events of Borderlands 2, Fight For Sanctuary is about how the vault hunters must help Lilith, who have now become the leader of the Crimson Raiders, fight an invasion of Sanctuary at the hands of Hector. How does he plan to invade Sanctuary you may ask? Why by releasing spores into the air that turns everyone into mutated plant zombies of course. Seeing as the gas soon affects not only the inhabitants of Sanctuary but also the Crimson Raiders themselves when Mordecai becomes infected by it, the stakes are definitely put pretty high from the get-go. Along the way you meet Vaughn who has his first and only appearance in Borderlands 2, and you of course also meet all the familiar faces from the core game, including Ellie, Scooter, Moxxi, Tiny Tina, Mordecai, Brick and the whole story almost feels like a family get-together where all of these characters we have spent 7 years playing with are coming together to fight a final threat before the next big adventure.
In all honesty, something I did not expect was just how much the story would tug at my heart strings. It not only gives characters like Tiny Tina much needed character development and depth, but some of the writing is extremely well done in both terms of humor and emotional depth. Something I can definitely say is that you can tell this was not written by Anthony Burch, so people who didn’t really enjoy his style of humor in the main game may definitely enjoy the writing in this DLC more. It still has a lot of references here and there but they’re not as common and it feels more like the writing focuses on the characters themselves and gives them more room to shine. Especially Vaughn I feel was extremely well done here and his voice delivery combined with his writing just made me laugh so many times.
In terms of gameplay nothing is radically different here. It’s still the good old looter shooter gameplay you’d come to expect from this game. The DLC does add some notable updates to the game however. The level cap is raised even more from 72 to 80 so now you can actually have even more skills at max level, a much welcome update in my opinion. It also gave an excuse to brush some dust off my old max level character I’ve had since 2012 or so.
The DLC also makes it possible to start a game at level 30 instead of level 1, putting you at the end of the main story with gear befitting the class you pick. This is a perfect addition for people who have played the game a lot and want to start a new character without having to do the entirety of playthrough 1.
Another notable addition is the new weapons tier, the Effervescent tier. We didn’t find much of these in our playthrough but what we did find was pretty cool. One of the items was a grenade mod called the Electric Chair which proved extremely useful against some of the shielded enemies in the DLC. We also found a fire SMG that didn’t seem to do anything that unique but it had a pretty high elemental damage so it was definitely useful. Some of the Effervescent tier gear also seems to have abilities that gel well with each other so collecting all of it seems to possibly give some “set” bonuses.
There is kind of a gameplay mechanic about how the toxic gas from the plants makes your damage output higher the more you have in your system but taking too much of it causes you to take damage over time. It would’ve been neat if this had been developed further and perhaps given you some random debuffs or even buffs depending on which class you played, so it’s a little bit disappointing they didn’t go further with it.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Graphically I really love some of the level designs in the DLC and the design of the enemies. Granted some of the models do look a little bit weird in the cinematics and it still doesn’t look amazing, even with the HD textures added, but it definitely doesn’t look awful for sure. Everything in the DLC suits the style and the atmosphere is generally really well done.
The voice acting is really good I would say, especially Vaughn who absolutely has some killer delivery in this DLC. There isn’t really much new to comment on in this DLC in terms of sound and music though. The music sounds good but doesn’t really stand out and the lack of a proper end credits song is disappointing. It would’ve been nice to hear something like a remix of “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” or something similar to give the game a proper sendoff before Borderlands 3, and it feels like a missed opportunity for some fanservice.
All in all, this DLC is really good and considering it’s free, it’s definitely worth downloading and playing. I think it’s really nice of Gearbox to give this little gift to the fans and give us a story bridge between Borderlands 2 and 3. It ties up a lot of loose ends from Borderlands 2 in terms of story as well and some events that happened in other spinoff games, Tales From The Borderlands in particular. And if you haven’t played Borderlands 2 yet then you should definitely give it a go as you now have even more to explore.