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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptastic Voyage Review

The Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is reaching its inevitable conclusion, and where better to spend it than within the depths of Claptrap's mind? Actually, there are probably several better places to spend it, but regardless, you that's where you end up in Claptastic Voyage the fourth and final DLC release for The Pre-Sequel.

Claptastic Voyage tells a side story that takes place shortly after the events of The Pre-Sequel's main campaign. Handsome Jack is well on his way to becoming Pandora's greatest villain, but first he must retrieve a ludicrously powerful weapon that's locked away deep within the robot's psyche. The team of Vault Hunters agree to be digistructed and thrust inside Claptrap to retrieve the information because, despite Jack's sociopathic disposition, a mercenary still has to eat.

The narrative really falls apart if you're playing as Claptrap, despite a few tweaks to the NPC dialogue, but that doesn't really matter at this point. Suspension of belief already gets stretched to the limit once you realize that Claptrap can't climb stairs in Borderlands 2, but can climb ladders in the Pre-Sequel. You're there inside the robot's mind, and that's all that matters. As you might expect, the place is a total mess. We're talking fragmented memories, glitches, viruses, and malware all over the place, but that's not the worst of them. Claptrap's defenses don't recognize you as a valid user, so they try to eliminate you along with everything else.

Claptrap's Voyage is designed for level 30 characters, so be sure to level up before plunging into the depths of the robot's neurotic mind. The experience itself is kind of trippy, and a very creative departure from the "normal" environments of Pandora and its moon, Elpis. In the sky above the Nexus level, you'll see Jack's gigantic silhouette as he peers through Claptrap's eye.

But this is Claptrap's head we're talking about, so there's bound to be some annoyances. Mostly, they come in the form of computer-related in jokes. Pop-up signs often shoot up from the ground to impede your movement. Flying spam bots project advertisements onto your view to obscure your vision. Another big downside is that there are a lot of floating islands in Claptrap's head. While this makes great use out of the Pre-Sequel's jumping and butt-slamming mechanics, it also means that slipping off the edge of a cliff (or being knocked off it) is a regular occurrence.

There's also a very diverse collection of enemies to be found in Claptrap's mind. You'll end up in a really messed up version of Fyrestone (where you first meet Claptrap in Borderlands), populated by high-jumping digital super-bandits that, thankfully, only exist in Claptrap's head. Not to mention the robot's shockingly powerful sense of despair and self-loathing.

The problem with some of these digital enemies is that they don't follow any sort of rules. You have to watch yourself in oxygen-free environments, but enemies don't have to. They don't even wear helmets as part of the simulation. It's also tough to figure out what enemies are vulnerable to, since almost everything looks robotic. Do you have stay exclusive to electrical and corrosive weapons, or is there virtual flesh to light on fire?

Claptrap's Voyage turns out to be pretty lengthy for a mini-campaign. Perhaps a bit too lengthy in some parts, including a segment where you have to chase down a foe you know will betray you as soon as you meet him. However, most players will appreciate the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 content that comes with the add-on, which raises the level cap from 60 to 70. That's ten more skill points to run with.

A voyage through Claptrap's messy, neurotic, brain probably wouldn't be my choice for a DLC destination, much less The Pre-Sequel's last one. I would have preferred one that laid a stronger bridge between The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2. Perhaps one that shows how Nisha became sheriff, or when Wilhelm decided to turn into a giant civilian slaughtering robot. Still, I had fun leaping around inside Claptrap's noggin, even though the experience might have left me a little traumatized.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptastic Voyage is available as a stand-alone DLC or part of the season pass. It is also included in the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.


This review is based on a PC code provided by the publisher. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Claptastic Voyage is available will be available digitally on March 24 for $9.99, as part of the season pass, or as part of the Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. The game is rated M.

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