The gang’s all here! The alive ones, at least.
It turns out those completely unbelievable rumors about a Borderlands 2 DLC bridging the gap between part 2 and the upcoming part 3 are entirely true. Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary is the first DLC for Borderlands 2 since Sir Hammerlock vs. the Son of Crawmerax back in 2014 – and, for the next 30 days, it’s free. The promotional nature of it initially had me a little concerned Fight for Sanctuary would feel rushed and/or half-assed, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. It’s great and I can’t stop playing it.
The 10-hour story picks up immediately after the events at the end of Borderlands 2. Gearbox courteously warns new players of the potential spoilers, but honestly, this DLC isn’t for new players anyway. If you’re like me and you’ve switched platforms since playing the original Borderlands 2 (in my case from Xbox 360 to PC), Gearbox has your back: You can roll a new level-30 character using any of the Borderlands 2 Vault Hunters and dive right into the Fight for Sanctuary.
Fight for Sanctuary’s main story is, shockingly, all about fighting for Sanctuary. (I know, it really took me by surprise.) New baddie Colonel Hector of the New Pandora Army is the main antagonist here, and his goal is to create a paradise for the men of his unit. His is a woeful tale of betrayal at the hands of the Dahl Corporation, but that doesn’t mean Hector isn’t a total dick, because he is: his plan involves infecting Pandora with a virus that turns the enemies you’re so used to fighting (psychos, brutes, skags, etc.) into half-plant, half-zombie killing machines; think the Flood from Halo and you have a good idea of what you’re up against.
New baddie Colonel Hector of the New Pandora Army is the main antagonist here.
They fight similarly to their non-infected counter parts: rushing and melee attacking or blasting you from a distance. They do have more in the way of slag and corrosive attacks, but thankfully they’re even more susceptible to fire than regular flesh bags.
You also fight against Hector’s troops, which are much tougher and unrelenting versions of the heavily armed and shielded Hyperion soldiers you’ve fought before – and they have medics. You know how one of the loading screens in Borderlands 2 says you’ll “learn to hate” the repair bots? The medics are even more aggravating. If there’s a single medic in the group you have to take him out first or he’ll heal all the damage you’re doing to his fellow soldiers; if there are two medics in a group, they can heal each other. While they’re obnoxious, it’s a great way to drive home the cooperative focus of the Borderlands franchise: two or more players can divide and conquer, knocking out the medics more or less simultaneously.
Speaking of frustrating but fair, with my newly minted level-30 Krieg the difficulty in Fight for Sanctuary feels just where it should be. When playing solo it was just a little tougher than I expected, which is a good thing. It’s not frustrating, but it’s definitely not a cakewalk. Boss battles are tough, but again, far from impossible.
Oh right: bosses! There are plenty of new bosses here, some for the main story and some for the plentiful side missions. There’s even a new raid boss who 100% requires assistance from your friends, since he scaled four levels above my character the first few times I made a solo attempt to take him down. (I didn’t even make a scratch.) It looks like he tops out at 40, but even trying at level 38, I didn’t last long.
Why Are There So Many Songs About Rainbows?
The Fight for Sanctuary also brings the loot. Remember when a modder found a rainbow rarity in the most recent Borderlands 2 update? Well, you no longer need a mod to open them up because rainbow rarity is here, and it’s awesome.
Every rainbow item shimmers and sparkles like a glitter-bombed oil slick. It’s lovely. I love them.
I squealed in delight when my brain realized the loot I was staring at was new and shiny. Instead of just being described as rainbow colored in the description text, these rainbow items are actually covered in a glistening rainbow sheen – and the category isn’t just limited to guns. There are rainbow grenades, too, and I even found a rainbow skin for my Catch-a-Ride Runner. Every rainbow item shimmers and sparkles like a glitter-bombed oil slick. It’s lovely. I love them.
My rainbow grenade is maybe my favorite, and it’s the most useful item in my inventory. It bursts outward with a pinwheel of constant and cleansing fire, tossing flaming explosives around its perimeter in a ring of pure annihilation. It’s breathtaking, really, and since the majority of the new enemies are infected with the plant virus, fire is more effective than ever before in stopping them. I love you, rainbow grenade.
After completing the Fight for Sanctuary I went back and played some of the older DLC to see what carried over. I didn’t encounter any rainbow items, but the results are inconclusive – maybe there’re out there somewhere. But for right now, it looks like the only place to find (and farm) them is in the Fight for Sanctuary DLC. The good news is you can bring your shiny, glistening rainbow gear with you when you play the original game and any of the older DLC. It should help make your friends jealous.
The real storyline meat comes from diving into the side missions.
As far as the story goes, the main mission does a pretty good job setting the stage for Borderlands 3, but the real meat comes from diving into the side missions. It’s amazingly thorough at of touching on the fate of nearly every important character in Borderlands 2, and I even found an ECHO with information describing one of the new Vault Hunters. That leads me to believe there are at least three more character-specific ECHOs out there somewhere to uncover. I also found quite a few ECHOs from Colonel Hector, filling out his story, as well as some others. Oh, and there’s even a character from Tales From the Borderlands playing a big role in the side missions.