Borderlands 3 - Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock is a hilariously verbose title befitting a DLC expansion absolutely brimming with content. We went hands on with the opening 90 minutes, and came away impressed.
One of the most striking aspects of Gearbox's post launch strategy for their seminal looter shooter is the freedom with which they're allowing narrative and creative directors to explore uncharted territory.
So far, Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot, and now this upcoming release, are pitched as self contained affairs; offshoots of the main campaign that can be explored irrespective of your progress through the story. It's an approach that gives each pack an episodic feel, without having to compromise the tenants of what makes this series so intriguing.
The larger than life characters (with excellent voice acting to boot), and fantastical locations one has come to expect are absolutely present and accounted for here, wrapped in a package that will offer hours of enjoyment for anyone looking to expand their adventures.
The premise is simple, with Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs getting hitched and hoping to ride off into the sunset. But before that can happen, there's a snarky log cabin matradee to contend with, possessed townsfolk to handle, and a whole mess of balloons to hang.
In fact, that's one of the most pleasing things about this second downloadable effort; while it doesn't take long to throw you into the action, it's actually the quieter moments and environmental detail that grab your attention.
The amount of fresh dialogue and story content packed in to the first 90 minutes gives proceedings a premium feel, with the self contained, cosy Lodge contrasted nicely with the scope of the neighbouring village and overbearing tentacled leviathan.
From a visual standpoint, this is just as sharply rendered as anything you'd expect to find in the base game, and from our hands on time, performance on PC hardware was consistent and reliable.
There was also some lovely moments of interactivity that, while tied to a particular objective that we won't spoil here, made you feel as though your actions were having a tangible impact on the area around you.
Whenever talk of expansion packs and downloadable content arises, there's an inevitable wave of scepticism that typically follows where folks question whether or not this is actually "new", suggesting cut content or recycled mechanics.
Thankfully, Gearbox set a precedent with Moxxi's Heist, with bespoke and entirely new areas being thrown into the mix that genuinely provide a fresh take on a well established formula.
Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock absolutely continues that trend. The writing is sharp, the quest and enemy designs are on point, and there's a lot of bang for your buck, even just from playing this introductory segment.
We'll have a full review, once DLC 2 drops on March 26th. In the meantime, the tables are set, and the guests are assembled; this will be a wedding to remember.
Borderlands 3 is available now, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Borderlands 3 - Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock launches March 26th on all platforms.
A huge thank you to Kayleigh and the rest of the team at 2K for hosting this event, and giving us hands on access to the game.