Borderlands 3 - Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock is every bit the expansive and content rich DLC that hoards of vault hunters have been clamouring for. Sharply written, densely packed, and an absolute blast.
One of the standout elements of this latest expansion is Gearbox's effective straddling between indulging fan pleasing returns, and forging ahead with new material. Wainwright, Hammerlock, and Gaige represent the most significant familiar allies, but you won't have to look far to find something fresh.
The entire quest line takes place on a brand new planet, Xylourgos, which is every bit the ode to Lovecraftian design that one could hope for. Borderlands 3 did such a great job of doubling down on expansive environments, and Guns, Love, and Tentacles very much continues that trend. There's an enormous amount to see and do, with side missions proving to be just as memorable as the main campaign.
One such distraction saw us mowing down enemies and recording their demise to provide DJ Midnight with a soundtrack of death for the wedding reception. Throw in unique, high tier loot and some fantastic voice acting, and even the optional tangents felt meaningful and bespoke in a way that a lot of games (Borderlands included) often drop the ball.
It's a bizarre melting pot of ideas totally befitting this mad cap franchise, with a bombardment of British accents and absurd flourishes at every turn. There's a wall mounted fish that vomits loot, cyclops tentacles in the toilets, and a creepy lodge owner named Mancubus Bloodtooth. We can't say enough good things about the presentation.
This speaks to the sheer unabashed creativity that director Maxime Babin (check out our interview ) and his crew have unleashed in this latest effort; there's so much detail to enjoy, and it more than justifies the investment.
Visually speaking, Guns, Love, and Tentacles fully embraces contrast in its artistic design, with stark icy wastelands that stretch to the horizon complimented by claustrophobic streets overlooked by a hulking creature. Lighting in particular deserves a shout out; purple and green hues adding an unsettling, alternative vibe that fits the aforementioned and abundant genre influences.
Boss fights remain somewhat underwhelming, with impressive character design let down by uninspiring attacks and far too predictable behaviour. Mini bosses like Gideon and DJ Spinsmouth offer a ray of hope, better written and a little less rudimentary. Considering so much of DLC 2 is peppered with outrageously effective concepts, it does make these encounters stick out.
Thankfully, the devil is in the details, and with a smorgasbord of often hilarious environmental storytelling, conversations with NPC's, and missions that feel truly unique, Borderlands 3 - Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock is a resounding success.
Much like Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot before it, Gearbox have set a high bar of quality that will hopefully continue with the remaining two DLC expansions.
Borderlands 3 is available now, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright & Hammerlock DLC is available now, either as an individual purchase or as part of the Season Pass.