Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep Hands-On Preview – Final Fantasy

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Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep is Borderlands 2's swansong, its last big hurrah before the next inevitable Vault Hunting expedition comes along to whisk us away to another inhospitable part of Pandora. Or perhaps another planet entirely. Who knows? Anyway, this fourth and final DLC technically isn't even set on Pandora, but in a fantasy land that exists inside the mixed up, twisted mind of the diminutive Tiny Tina.

Cue tongue-in-cheek pokes at fantasy tropes, battles against orcs, skeletons and dragons, and a setting where anything can change in the blink of an eye. The setup involves Brick, Lilith, Mordecai and Tina playing a friendly game of Bunkers & Badasses, which unfolds in Tina's own fabricated fantasy land as she narrates pivotal events as they occur.

So when you land on a beautiful, verdant shoreline known as the 'Unassuming Docks of Presumably Little Importance', surrounded by flowers and leafy green trees, it's no surprise when Tiny Tina decides that it simply isn't dark and foreboding enough, and shrouds the whole place in “eternal darkness”.

The flowers transform into decaying mulch and the trees become gnarled lumps of rotting wood, as skeletons rise out of the ground to greet you. “I smell butts and dead people” says Tina. If that doesn't set the scene, then what does? You're essentially in Tiny Tina's house then, which means you're in for a rough ride.

Besieged by skeleton archers and sword-wielding “skelly-men”, Tina soon sends dragons your way before you've had a chance to settle in. Luckily Brick, Lilith and Mordecai call Tina out on her unfair tactics, and the Handsome Dragon becomes the far easier to handle “Mr. Skeleton Bony Pants Guy”. And if you're wondering why that dragon was a 'Handsome Dragon'; it's because Handsome Jack is back in a fantasy-themed guise as Dragon Keep's antagonist.

Soon we find ourself strolling into a typical fantasy-style town, straight out of the pages of a million fantasy novels, with a quaint tavern ran by Moxxi (of course) and other small hovels inhabited by existing Borderlands 2 characters like Ellie and Scooter, given a Dungeons & Dragons makeover. The village is under threat from a nasty curse thanks to their queen going missing on a search for the fountain of life, and it's our job to venture forth and put an end to it all.

Guided out of the village by the gatekeeper, it looks like we're well on our way, until Tina transforms him into Mister Torgue, who then proceeds to set us pointless and outlandish objectives. Once we've performed some needless destruction at the behest of Torgue that includes destroying blimps, the other Bunkers & Badasses players convince Tina to turn him back to normal, and we're back on track.

Dealing with more skeleton minions and then braving a forest alive with walking trees that we turn into kindling with a fire elemental weapon, we soon encounter a few fearsome orcs who are not unlike the Goliaths from the main game, in as much as they charge at you like maniacs. They're typical dumb bullet sponges; charging brutes who take a while to fall under your hail of bullets.

Before we can go any further beyond the orcs' encampment however, we need blood to access a secret concealed doorway ensconced inside a cave, which leads us to where we need to go to find the missing queen and lift the curse, as we edge ever-closer to the eponymous Dragon Keep.

Past the secret door, we meet a familiar white knight who needs our help to bring down a couple of dragons, who are mercifully much easier to tackle than the first Handsome Dragon Tina threw at us. Once they're dispensed with, we make our way a little further before we soon run out of time. And after a few hours with Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, we can tell that we're in for potentially the most enjoyable slice of Borderlands 2 DLC to date.

It appears that Gearbox has been saving the best for last then, and the fantasy setting has given the development team carte blanche to throw a bit of everything into the pot, bringing back some of Borderlands 2's most memorable characters for the grand finale.

And having fought bandits and Pandora's hostile fauna ad infinitum, shooting up a menagerie of fantasy freaks and monsters in Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep ought to provide a refreshing change, with fresh Borderlands 2 loot to pillage. What more could you ask for?

Borderlands 2's Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep will be available from June 25th for 800 Microsoft Points or as part of the Season Pass.


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Game Info
Gearbox Software
2K Games


US September 18, 2012
Europe September 21, 2012

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