Ooooh, Gearbox. Why this? I am just so… disappointed. I don’t think there’s any other way to describe my feelings upon finishing the newest DLC, ‘Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt’. It was supposed to be the brosiest hunting trip in the history of hunting trips—until it was interrupted by a mad scientist trying to destroy my character—but it just felt so rushed. So unloved in comparison to the other two DLCs that were previously released and even the DLCs for the previous game (not counting the Underdome DLC, ‘cause that shit just didn’t have a story). Spoilers below the cut.
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Hammerlock: A Gentleman and a Scholar
Today is the day, my fellow vault hunters. Today we travel to the uncivilized continent of Aegrus to traverse swamp and mountain in search of harder enemies, better loot, and… Handsome Jack? Well, maybe we’re not searching for him. I dare say in Borderlands’ newest DLC, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, the person I’m going to be most interested in is the titular character himself. So, allow me this time to gush about how much I absolutely adore this monocle’d zoologist: it is his big day, after all.
I think the first thing that’s obvious is that Sir Hammerlock is the classiest badass to roam the lands of Pandora. He’s got that Victorian gentleman vibe going on (in all the best ways, especially the accent) but he starts the relationship between your character and himself by electrocuting your robot guide, then shoving its eye back into its socket.
Okay, it may not be as badass as Ellie’s introduction, but he’s been living completely alone—except maybe for visits from Claptrap—in the bandit-infested village of Liar’s Burg for who knows how long and he’s managed to stay alive. I’m sure there’ve been nights where he’s sniped bandits from the top of his roof just to lure them into that electrical fence. You may have also noticed that his right arm is missing completely? Yeah, it was ripped off by quite possibly the largest thresher on Pandora, no big deal. Hammerlock lives for his work and, if past trends continue, it’s quite possible he may end up dying for his work someday.
However, besides being a character with such a frustrating lack of backstory, Hammerlock also plays an important role in one of the most understated initiatives in a game I’ve experienced. If you do side-quests (if you don’t, I don’t want to talk to you), he’ll eventually ask your character to find the lost manuscripts of a rough and tumble kind-of-scientist-but-not-really, Taggart, who also happens to be his old boyfriend. Borderlands 2 was the game that really made it apparent that the developers wanted their universe of Pandora and vault hunters to allow for equal opportunity in both treasure looting and getting killed by literally everything and as such many of the characters, whether they be in the backstory or available for interaction, were discussed as being of a non-heteronormative sexuality. Of course, there were complaints about characters being made so explicitly “gay”, but it was so much more nuanced than that. Characters were not defined by their sexuality; rather their sexuality was just another aspect of their character which is how it should be done. Hammerlock didn’t constantly gush about all that hot yaoi sex he was having with his boyfriend, it was something he mentioned while reminiscing about his past relationship with the most-likely dead Taggart. Even if he did constantly gush about it, it would still be amazing to see such a nuanced homosexual character, especially in a genre where these things are usually shied away from.
So come on, give this scholar and his creators some love and join him on his expedition. See him in his natural habitat—‘he’s’ been giving you weapons all weekend so show at least a little respect—and download Big Game Hunt. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see some more of that badassery that we’ve all come to love (who am I kidding? We definitely will).