A recent theme that has become extremely popular with developers in the video game industry in the last year or so is the use of the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ setting.
Gearbox, the developers of the FPS/RPG hybrid Borderlands have followed this trend with the release of the DLC add-on titled ‘ The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned ‘.
Overall, the game still has some of the minor issues which were prevalent in the original release but, still provides a package which is filled with the strange campy humour from the first game and the perfect mix of Role Playing and Shooter mechanics which provides enough entertainment to warrant the purchase of 800 Microsoft Points or $10.
Borderlands is one of my favourite games of the year unfortunately, it was held back by being one of the best games of this generation by it’s dumb AI, uninteresting plotline and numerous bugs and glitches. Although this DLC add-on does not address all of the issues, it does fix some parts of the original game and capitalizes on the strong aspects of the original game.
Once you have purchased and downloaded The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, a message will popup once your launch the game which informs you that you can fast travel to Jakob’s Cove (the home of the weapons manufacturer ‘Jacobs’), this applies even if your character has not enabled the Fast Travel System in the main storyline of the original game. This add-on also requires that your character has reached level 10 or higher. The dangerous slobbering individuals in Jacob’s Cove scale with your level at the beginning but increase in level according to your progress in the main quest. So my advice to you if you are in the lower levels ( level 35 or lower) is to complete the side quests as they are given to you, to ensure that you have a more enjoyable experience. If you are a higher level than the Zombies on the islands, I recommend that you should leave the side quests until you have finished or come close to the end of the main quest.
The game is set, as I mentioned earlier in ‘Jacob’s Cove’ an area which is unlike anything seen in the original title, due to the use of the color green. Yes, there is grass, giant trees, full moon in the sky there is a very lighthearted spooky vibe to Jacob’s Cove . All of the new artwork in the game is most likely the reason to the rather large size of this add-on but unfortunately, one of the areas Dead Haven is basically just a re-skinned version of an area in the original game, this area is different enough that it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
From the beginning of the main quest, it is fairly obvious that this add-on contains a lot more humour you will hear audio monologues of other deceased workers and adventures and the infamous Dr. Ned. The characters like the first game, are introduced through the use of a cartoony still picture with a witty caption. Dr. Ned himself is an psychopathic doctor who somehow through his crazy experiments managed to turn the entire population of Jacob’s Cove into mindless zombies. The constant chatter from Dr. Ned is guaranteed to at least make you smile once or twice and helps to push you along through the story. The Claptraps from the first game are around and still produce the odd and sometimes amusing dialogue like the original game.
The storyline was one of the most disappointing aspects of the original, it felt almost like an after thought due to not very much happening between the introduction and the conclusion. The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned on the other hand is much more cohesive and structured, the main quest should take you about 4 hours and if you completed all of the side quests in addition to the main quest it should last about 6 or 7 hours.
There are 3 main types on Zombies that inhabit Jacob’s Cove, they are the Tankenstein ( a huge strong slow zombie that can kill you pretty quickly) Suicide Zombies ( Weak but explode when close to you and deal a lot of damage), Defilers ( Skinny weak zombies that vomit in your face) and your standard ‘normal’ zombie who are very slow but deal more damage than your usual foe once in range. A nice touch to the zombies is that if you shoot off one or more of their limbs, they will proceed to crawl in your direction with what body parts they have.
As you gun down the relentless horde of Zombies, they will drop weapons, shields and class mods. Unfortunately there is no new gun models or firing types. But this is only a minor problem because of the millions of different guns in the game, you are guaranteed to find something better than your last weapon in your adventures in Jacob’s Cove.
Even though ‘The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned’ doesn’t fix every problem with the original game ( I killed a few bosses easily due to them not moving at all) it’s different enough to the original that it is worth the money. Sure it doesn’t raise the level cap or add any classes or anything but the sparks of comedic events are much more frequent and the story is much easier to follow and more interesting than the original and Co-Op in this game is still the best thing about the game. As someone who loves shooters and loot , this game felt like it was made for me. After completing the game twice and started on my second character, I was longing for more content and The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned had satisfied my want for more to do. If you are like me or you enjoyed the original game then I recommend that you should buy this. However, if you played the original, enjoyed it but, thought that it needed to be fixed in some areas and expanded on in some parts, you should probably sit this one out and wait until the next release.