Never Bet Against the House
Thanks to the near-universal praise that Borderlands 2's DLC received, it's sequel has some large shoes to fill. At first glance, the premise of Borderlands 3's first DLC, Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot, seems uninspired. It revolves around a plot by Mad Moxxi to raid the late Handsome Jack's space casino. The twist is that when Handsome Jack met his demise at the end of Borderlands 2, the casino went into lockdown mode, sealing the occupants inside. Naturally, this resulted in a complete breakdown of society, and so you have the brilliant idea to break in and ransack the place. Merely stealing a couple of gold bars isn't enough for Moxxi though as she intends to take control of the entire station.
Your heist will take you all over the space casino as you recruit and or rescue some of the station's inhabitants. Some of the more notable areas include a low gravity impound lot, the trash compactor, and various districts dedicated to all kinds of entertainment. These locales bring a surprising amount of environmental diversity to the DLC and are a testament to the creativity of the team behind Borderlands 3. Needless to say, if a massive garbage dump can be turned into an interesting location, anything is possible. These new locations also expertly set the pace for the combat. It quickly becomes evident that Gearbox wanted nonstop action throughout the main quest. You can rest easy knowing that there are no vehicle segments or mandatory backtracking. All the important content is condensed into a handful of maps with very little empty or unused map space.
Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist | New Places to Go, New People to Meet
The first quarter of the story starts off slowly, presumably to introduce newer players to Handsome Jack. In spite of the fact that Moxxi and Handsome Jack are central figures in the DLC's backstory, they (somewhat surprisingly) feel more like supporting characters. The vast majority of the DLC's main quest instead revolves around the individual members of your heist crew and the space casino itself. Many of your newfound allies are one dimensional, but they all get good writing given the DLC's practical constraints.
The characters you meet during side quests have evidently been crafted with the same great care. Two particular highlights stand as fantastic additions to the Borderlands universe, and it's rather unfortunate that they don't have longer questlines. Digby Vermouth for example certainly has the potential to be a fun side character in future DLCs, if Gearbox decides to go that route. The universe is always in need of great musicians after all. Plus the gun he gives as a reward for completing his quests is quite amusing.
Oddly enough, there does appear to be an unusually high number of clear/defend the area objectives. One can assume that this is to slow down people who have endgame builds so that they don't run past every encounter, but this is merely conjecture. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot of flaws with Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot. Longtime fans of the Borderlands series might find that the constant battles with the practically unchanged Hyperion robots make the DLC feel like a rehash of Borderlands 2, but it's largely a non-issue in the grand scheme of things. The main villain is also a little bland by Borderlands standards, thematic as he may be.
Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist | Did Someone Say New Guns?
Indeed, there are two major factors that would ensure that Moxxi's Heist is worth playing months from now. The first is that the major bosses are very fun to fight. The last boss dungeon, in particular, is spectacularly well done, both from a mechanical standpoint and a visual standpoint. That most of the bosses are relatively easy to reach for farming purposes is just a bonus. The second factor is that (barring any future balancing updates) the new Legendary weapons are not only fun to use, but also viable in the late game. Of the dozen or so new Legendary guns, only a couple can reasonably be considered joke weapons. The rest are quite usable on Mayhem 3 or perhaps even Mayhem 4 with the right build.
Ultimately, Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is not on the same level as Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep from Borderlands 2. It would be hard for any DLC to live up to such high standards though, and for what it is Moxxi's Heist is quite enjoyable. Moxxi's Heist is rather lengthy too, clocking in with a roughly six hour cumulative completion time for the main and side quests on Mayhem 3. It is perhaps a little unusual that the DLC didn't add a Raid boss or raise the level cap given that that has historically been the case. Then again, seeing as how Borderlands 3 is to have a drastically different post launch content model than its predecessors, this isn't too much of a concern. If this is the kind of quality that can be expected from Borderlands 3's future DLCs, it would be hard to complain.
TechRaptor reviewed Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot on Xbox One with a copy purchased by the reviewer. The DLC is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC via Epic Games Store.
- New Legendary items are very fun and viable to use in the late game
- Boss fights are generally quite fair, rewarding, and enjoyable
- Surprisingly good soundtrack
- Above average writing overall, especially for side quests and characters
- Somewhat slow start
- Objective diversity could be a little better
- Normal enemies are nothing new to the series