The Things We Do For Love
Borderlands 3's second DLC, Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock, ventures to where very few games have gone before by letting players attend a wedding between two fairly major characters. As the (very long) name suggests, Sir Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs are getting married, Borderlands style. That means that instead of going to some fancy travel destination where the biggest threat is intoxication, the two are going to an ice planet where a giant tentacle monster has enthralled a bunch of people. Naturally, it doesn't take long before things go sideways and the Vault Hunters have to save the day.
The DLC itself offers roughly the same amount of content as previous Borderlands DLC packs. As one might expect, there is a main quest and side quest package that will take several hours to complete. There's also going to be over two dozen new Legendary items, a handful of unique new locations to visit, various collectibles and hunting targets, a repeatable "Invincible" tier boss, and a level cap increase to 57. Since the DLC is very clearly based on Lovecraftian horror, much of the new locations have a delightfully spooky aesthetic to them. The Bonded enemy faction will, needless to say, also have both unique skins and abilities that can't be found anywhere else.
The Real Loot is the Friends We Made Along the Way
Since setting up a wedding typically involves more than two people, faces new and old show up. "Normal" inhabitants of Xylourgos, like Mancubus Bloodtooth, will have a hand in making sure that the marriage goes smoothly. Gaige, one of the more popular Vault Hunters in Borderlands 2, serves as the wedding planner. All in all, the voice actors did a terrific job in bringing their characters to life, especially Gaige's and the playable Vault Hunters. For those who have a keen eye for collectibles, Gaige's dialogue when you pick up the missing wedding gifts is especially amusing.
As far as the writing is concerned, the main questline is fairly straightforward. Barring one or two mildly surprising moments (that can possibly be used as plot devices in future Borderlands 3 DLCs/games), there isn't much to the main plotline. Evidently, most of the writing effort went to character development, which is a good thing. You learn a bit about Hammerlock's and Wainwright's feelings for each other, their self-doubts, things of the sort that add depth to the characters. There's a little bit of character development for Gaige too, though she's not the main focus of the DLC.
New and Exciting Places to Go, People to Meet, Stuff to Take
Most of the major side characters, like Mancubus and especially Burton Briggs, are equally fleshed out. Burton Briggs' questline is exceptionally good and is an unexpectedly fantastic combination of comedy and tragedy. Gearbox's writers certainly did an excellent job of taking generic horror trope characters and adapting them to the Borderlands universe. The villains are decently written as well. Unfortunately, much of their rather interesting backstory is hidden behind collectible ECHO logs. Plus it is a little strange how anticlimactic the end of the main boss fight is, all things considered.
Speaking of which, the new enemies are, without a doubt, a new direction for Borderlands 3. This is rather apparent given that some of the new bosses have unusually long invincibility phases. At first glance, definitely not acceptable boss design. However, their immunity is very conditional. One boss literally stands still and does nothing, leaving you free to kill his minions while he just watches. It's also used as a minor plot device. Another kills all of his minions for you and then summons some very fragile crystals right next to him that are impossible to miss. Certainly not the worst way that a game has handled such mechanics.
Tentacle Monsters Everywhere
Buffs, summons, and revives also play a prominent role in the DLC's combat. Fortunately, these mechanics are manageable, so you don't have to worry about an endless swarm of invincible enemies that you have to kill over and over again. For example, some of the Bonded can summon ghost allies. They're slow, relatively harmless enemies that mostly exist just to eat a bullet or two, even on TVHM Mayhem 4. Revive mechanics, normally some of the worst and most frustrating abilities in such games, are also handled relatively well. Specific Bonded takes a couple of seconds to channel a "spell" that brings their allies back from the dead, not as soldiers with guns, but as one and done suicide bombers. Health buffs, another dreaded mechanic, are relegated to rather rare Bonded and it basically removes them from the fight so that someone else can have a temporary layer of extra health.
Compared to previous DLC packs, Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock is a relatively new direction for the series. Practically speaking, it is roughly comparable to say, Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary. Guns, Love, and Tentacles is so much more beneath the surface. Propelled by character development, the second Borderlands 3 DLC pack offers quality and diverse gameplay without sacrificing the core features of the series. There is certainly an impression that the DLC was built with the strengths and weaknesses of the game in mind, gradually improving on previous work while adding a little something new over time.
TechRaptor reviewed Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, and Tentacles: The Marriage of Wainwright and Hammerlock on Xbox One with a copy purchased by the reviewer. The DLC is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via Epic Games Store.
- Fantastic Side Characters
- Wonderfully Funny Voice Acting
- Creepy Aesthetics for Both Environments and Enemies
- Interesting New Enemies and Bosses
- Anticlimactic Ending
- One Dimensional Villains