Commander Lilith And The Fight For Sanctuary was quite the surprise, to say the least. It’s clear that Gearbox knew exactly what they were doing. A new DLC had been already heavily rumored. Then in May, it was announced that Borderlands: The Handsome Collection would be the free PlayStation Plus game of June. This was no coincidence, as Gearbox then released this new expansion on June 9th for free.
The brand new adventure takes place not long after the events of Borderlands 2. The vault map has been discovered, and our remaining Vault Hunters are ready to go exploring. Unfortunately, new villain Colonel Hector has some different plans. A toxic gas starts spreading around Pandora, which eventually hits Sanctuary. Amidst the chaos, Hector steals the key to the loot! With the heroes scattered, it’s up to the vault hunter to bring everyone back together and take down Hector.
The DLC brings back a bunch of fan favorites such as Ellie and Tiny Tina. It also brings in a couple of characters from Tales From The Borderlands, who happen to play major roles. This is Gearbox letting us know everything that happened in Telltale Games’ masterpiece is canon and will impact the Borderlands universe going further.
This expansion could have easily been seen as a quick cash grab (it will only be free until July 2), but it ends up becoming a fun little campaign that effectively build the hype for Borderlands 3. The majority of the story takes place in an unexplored part of The Dust map. The new area that is infected with the gas turns into an even bigger wasteland than Pandora already was. While the campaign is shorter than expected, there is plenty of side content. We get some really funny side missions that give us an idea as to what our favorite characters have been up to since the ending of Borderlands 2.
The particle effects added from the spores are a nice touch to the visuals and some existing enemies get new designs thanks to the infection. Instead of just a psycho, we have a plant covered psycho chasing us around. The enemy variety hasn’t changed that much, as some of the new enemies are very similar to others. For example, Hector’s soldiers are just much more aggressive versions of Hyperion Assassins. The newest mechanic added is the infected spores. These grossly animated spores will sprout from the ground and if the player does not destroy the spore in time, a few enemies will fall out, similar to the varkid pods. This adds a new dynamic to combat, as the anxiety of destroying these spores in time adds a new challenge.
Speaking of challenge, Fight For Sanctuary can be tough, even for veteran players. The difficulty had to be there, considering this is a 7-year-old game where players have created the best builds possible. What makes this campaign difficult is just how unrelenting the enemies can be, especially Hector’s soldiers. On top of that, the player gets absolutely swarmed with these enemies, which makes every fight adrenaline inducing. For my Level 72 Siren, this was easier since she’s great at crowd control. My Level 30 Commando on the other hand. . . I had a harder time. Unfortunately, some of the new bosses throughout the campaign feel uninspired. One of the bosses is basically the Saturn boss from the base game. However, the final boss is truly unique and something players haven’t seen in the series yet.
Even if players had no issue getting through the 5-7 hour campaign, they will definitely have a grueling time with the new raid boss. This is a raid boss that only has one critical spot, but can also regenerate health. That will show just how annoying of a raid boss it can be, so go in prepared. While the new raid boss doesn’t add any new mechanics, the heavy metal music really compliments it.
There a few new weapons added to the mix, including some legendaries. New rainbow rarity weapons, labeled as Effervescent, are also a nice new addition. Their effects tend to be all over the place (literally), which makes them feel distinct from other rarities. For example, the Electric Chair grenade mod essentially creates a giant electric force field, damaging everyone inside (even the player). The best of these Effervescent weapons is the Unicornsplosion gun. The name speaks for itself, so there’s not much I can say other than go get it!
The Fight For Sanctuary is a fun little addition that hardcore fans can easily bring themselves back into Pandora for. It presents a seamless transition into Borderlands 3, not just with story elements, but also in the overall presentation. Yes, the DLC still looks the same as Borderlands 2 in terms of graphics. What I mean by the presentation is how the world is starting to feel more interactive and alive compared to the original base game. NPCs have always talked to you through your hud, but in certain missions from the DLC, the NPCs are around you and moving freely. They don’t feel as wooden as they used to. Even the animations of the environment don’t have that stiffness about them.
Borderlands 2 has aged well enough, but with the way this new DLC is presented, it gives us just a taste of how Borderlands 3 will feel like a modern shooter. While it does end abruptly, the time spent was still entertaining. Is it as good as Tiny Tina’s Assault On Dragon Keep? Well. . . no, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of enjoyment out of this new expansion.
If you’re looking to get scratch that Borderlands itch before September 13th, you owe it to yourself to download this before it’s no longer free.