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Reviewed on PC
If there was ever something undeniably good but ultimately unsatisfying, it would be your average cheese pizza. It’s obviously good—it’s pizza! Can’t go wrong with a solid pizza. But the cheese pizza, be it Margherita or four-cheese, lacks something fundamental. It lacks flavour, taste, or pineapple; all good pizzas have pineapple. (I’m sorry, what?! – Editor)
That’s possibly the world’s best analogy for Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary, Borderlands 2’s latest and final DLC to its already very expansive collection. It’s the Borderlands 2 equivalent of a cheese pizza which is something I never actually wanted to imagine.
Fight for Sanctuary doesn’t really have that much going in the way of plot. I’d even go as far as to call it lacklustre. A dude with plant mutagens turns up, nicks your hub level and you’ll have to beat him up before he fills Pandora with some big-bad flowers. That’s the gist of it.
Hector, the aforementioned dude, tries really hard to be a good villain, despite having out memories of the unforgettable Handsome Jack looming over his unending taunting. He loves to taunt, although he isn’t that great at it; he’ll taunt Lilith a lot, but you’ll get an extra sprinkling of taunt as you try to foil his dastardly plans. To be honest, outside of his boss fight and the impressive action of stealing Sanctuary, this is all he does. When the story isn’t taking you towards Hector, or he’s not chattering on your radio, its just reminding you how much it doesn’t want Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands to exist. Your main questline eventually culminates in an ending with the world’s official best feeling of “that’s it?”. Making it feel like the story added nothing of importance to the DLC as a whole.
Set in between Borderlands 2 and the upcoming third entry, Commander Lilith’s purpose is meant to fill in the gaps between the two games. Certain characters and locations remain the same, but a large majority of things seem to have either been forgotten about or written out of the story. And don’t even get me started on Vaughn. I don’t know what body-switcher shenanigans happen on Pandora, but Vaughn in Commander Lilith feels completely detached from the character in Tales; he’s a complete idiot.
For lore purposes, it doesn’t make sense: despite working with Vault Hunters in his original outing, Vaughn randomly had a newfound distaste for them. In Commander Lilith, character voice lines aren’t included, like in Headhunter DLCs, making it more frustrating. Zer0, one of the playable characters, has worked with Vaughn before, but both of them refuse to comment on one another.
Much like the story, nothing of mechanical importance is added here. It’s more-or-less the same Borderlands 2 gameplay that you’ve seen before: running around, shooting fools and getting loot. For some reason, good loot here seems to drop a bit more frequently—the first boss always drops a legendary class mod. Even weapons featuring the new Effervescent (or Rainbow) variety, basically just orange weapons, turn up with surprising frequency.
There is one new mechanic added here. In certain areas, spores in the air will begin boosting your attack power, although if you breathe them in for too long, they’ll start to kill you. Areas with cleverly placed spore sections force you to think about your placement, creating their own chokepoints within fairly standard arenas. It’s interesting stuff; it’s a shame they make it redundant by the end.
Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary felt like a lot of the same with nothing extra. While there was a new story, it wasn’t good enough to warrant any attention, and the effort it puts into undoing its predecessors’ work leaves a bad taste in the mouth. All of the new mechanics are made redundant by the end, and the new weapon rarity isn’t anything to write home about.
If you want a new location to shoot bandits in, this DLC is passable. While it’s free, there’s no harm in grabbing it. However, when Gearbox adds its pricetag, you’re better off getting something with a little more substance to it. Or, maybe even replaying the readily available pineapple pizzas already in this great game.