For many Borderlands 3 was disappointing. Not in the sense that it was a bad game, in a lot of ways it was the best, it just fell short in ways previous entries did better. Among the most notable was story. The Twins simply couldn’t impact fans the same way Jack and those before him did, just like legendries lost their luster and other concerns. With the first expansion relying rather heavily on one of the series most notable characters, is it Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot a shameless cash grab or an undeniable winner?
Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot starts off on a rather high note and only continues to improve. After watching a commercial for Jack’s needlessly excessive casino, the vault hunter arrives to find the casino fell apart in Jack’s absence and a character named Pretty Boy is now running the show. What helps the story isn’t just the presence of Jack and a look alike that has his DNA and sometimes makes comments you’d expect from the iconic character, but the predictable nature.
For anyone who watched the Rick and Morty episode One Crew Over the Crewcoo’s Morty, you’d know heist movies follow a rather basic arc. You assemble a crew, do the thing, get double crossed and then successfully complete it. Borderlands 3 is also aware of these nuts and bolts and is more than happy to mock it.
This satirical view on the genre is most evident when you get the team and basically montage your way through the tricky parts of the mission. You go to a place, there is a guy who double crosses you and you kill him or your goal is to enter a room past a couple guards and disable a generator. Even the second double cross is so haphazardly tossed in that it would be a frustrating choice had this been a serious adventure. All this comes together in a world that is a giant reminder of Jack’s arrogance.
Between giant statues and levers designed around the character to multiple pictures demonstrating his menacing presence, it is arguably one of the most recognizable places in Borderlands 3. Some fun sight gags were also tossed in, like adding a no poor people sign or making use of all the useless claptraps.
Even in basic interactions they find a great way to make Claptaps misery fun and amusing, along with giving Mister Torgue a fun mission to be legally compliant by destroying hot sauce bottles. All this stuff goes to show that the long standing theory that people grew out of Borderlands isn’t true as much as Borderlands 3’s showing was simply weak. Naturally it won’t appeal to everyone but those who loved the previous games will likely enjoy the ride.
For all it does right, there are some shortcomings. When push comes to shove, it relies rather heavily on the past. Loaders make their return, a choice that is fair given the concept but a bit weak from a content standpoint and the location is more factory than casino. The side game is rather weak and there is only so much content you can explore before you’re done. This is offset by a decently long story but it’s more linear than a lot of the previous expansions.
What stands out the most is the lack of raid bosses or post game content, though it will make farming a lot easier. It also adds a number of new legendries, some casino themed, others returning, with the most notable being the ION CANNON, simply due to its high damage output. For some this will add a good amount of time, especially with raid bosses and other post game activities being set for the future beyond Woton the Invincible.
Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot Verdict
Not only is this one of the better Borderlands expansions, it does a good job of a lot of things Borderlands 3 struggled with. Not only are characters fun and the story amusing, it is a fun ride for practically anyone involved. Sure, it doesn’t offer untold amounts of grinding, nor does it contain a new tier of weapon, but there is more than enough to justify the cost of entry. Between one of the highest damage weapons in the game, amusing bosses and a cute story, it’s worth revisiting Borderlands 3 over.
[Editor’s Note: Borderlands 3: Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]