Among the many things Borderlands 3 did right was the way they handled Wainwright Jakobs and Sir Alistair Hammerlock’s relationship. As the story progressed you could tell the two were getting closer and that there was an air of there being a relationship but it isn’t played up to be a big thing or even important. If it isn’t obvious by the time you finish the campaign, the ending credits make it clear they’re an item, which we follow up to with Guns, Love and Tentacles. With the two looking to get hitched, they travel to the exotic planet Xylourgos to have the wedding of their dreams. Naturally, things don’t go as planned but are this enough to base an expansion off of or does it fall short and take away from one of the best aspects of the base game?
This expansion really has one objective, which is to ask whether or not the two are really in love. Not only do both Hammerlock and Jakobs have their doubts, Eleanor, the newly added antagonist, is there to suggest that this is not a union based on true love. Now, this isn’t the first time Borderlands has attempted to tackle a deeper story. Arguably the best and most praised expansion, Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, took Tina’s struggle to deal with losing Roland and channeled it through a crazy game of Bunkers and Badasses (Dungeons and Dragons). And, in a similar fashion, Guns, Love and Tentacles manages to deliver a satisfying story.
Most of this is due to how relatable the initial conflict is. Despite people saying opposites attract and there is a multitude of reasons why people get together, it’s easy to find yourself wondering if you’re perhaps too different to make it work. Both sides note that they have radically different interests, even a few of the missions talk about bringing the other into their world, something that should be obvious to anyone even vaguely familiar with the franchise. While the conclusion is far from unexpected, it offers some good insight into the problem.
Naturally, there is far more to this expansion than just two people getting married and the problems that arise. Here we see a few more one-note characters, something Borderlands is fairly well known for, but they work far better than what we saw in the base game. We have a few different takes on silly cults, a guy that is far too interested in fighting and a hotel attendant that is just creepy for a wide variety of reasons. This also marks the return of Gaige, which some might remember as the Mechromancer from Borderlands 2, as the wedding planner. She embodies most of the things you’d expect from a single wedding planner, while also trying to find her way to adulthood. It’s an interesting struggle, one that she doesn’t overcome in this expansion, but it makes her return far more than fan service.
As far as gameplay goes, Guns, Love and Tentacles adds a good amount of content in way of enemies, locations, bosses and more but it’s more of the same. The only noteworthy enemy is a necromancer, who obviously raises enemies from the dead, and a few extremely annoying bosses. Not because they’re hard or have tough mechanics, but rather, they just take a long time to kill. Still, it’s a thrilling adventure that will likely bring you to the new cap of 57.
If there is one downside to this adventure, it’s the continued devaluing of legendary gear. In previous entries they were relatively uncommon drops that were unique, offered great power or simply matched a specific play style. In addition to the 29 legendary drops this expansion adds, it isn’t uncommon to see them drop as you progress though the expansion. Not counting the ones I got from the vending machine event currently running, I saw probably 30 just progressing through the story. Sometimes I would get lucky enough to see one boss, like the Yeti you can hunt, drop three in a single go. Given a new level means the gear is out of date, it would be the perfect time to reduce the rate or possibly add new ones that are harder to get but well worth the grind.
Borderlands 3 – Guns, Love, and Tentacles Verdict
Similar to the last expansion, Guns, Love, and Tentacles is a return to form for Borderlands 3. Not only is the story great and handles the return of Gaige quite well, but it also offers a good amount of new things to see. Add in new cosmetics, a bunch of legendary gear and more and it’s hard to say no to seeing all that it has to offer.
[Editor’s Note: Borderlands 3 – Guns, Love, and Tentacles was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]