It’s been almost a decade now since the release of Borderlands 2’s Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, which reframed the looter shooter as a Dungeons and Dragons-style tabletop campaign DM’d by the titular Tiny Tina. Acclaimed as that mini-campaign was, it’s a little unusual to see Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands take shape as late as 2022; we’re post-Pre-Sequel, post-Borderlands 3, why do this now?
See, regardless of the effort that’s gone into the visuals here, Wonderlands is very much Borderlands 3, re-skinned. That was to be expected and is not any kind of surprise, really, but it’s so close to its predecessor that it all feels a touch redundant.
Also, we found that the high fantasy makeover doesn’t really do much to capture the imagination; it all looks a little bit dull, initially. That said, we only explored one area – Mount Craw – and have no doubt that other locations will offer more diversity and colour to the game. It works, though – once you start throwing out the magic you'll light the place up like a Christmas tree. The contrast is a thoughtful one and we were ultimately impressed by the game, visually. Keeping the environments muted makes your offence pop and the enemies stand out.
Two of the six character classes were available: The Graveborn and The Stabbomancer. The former is the kind of being who'll sacrifice their own health to damage enemies, the latter able to summon and recall a magical blade. Of the two, we most enjoyed playing Graveborn, but the critical-hit focused Stabbomancer was enjoyable to mess around with, too. Levelling up offers a skill point (as is tradition), but you also get to funnel points into your character's stats ala Dungeons and Dragons – a more traditional "levelling up" that adds another dimension of choice to the proceedings.
We found ourselves allied with the GTFO ("Goblins Tired of Forced Oppression", ho ho), a cluster of rebels fighting back against their widespread enslavement with typical Borderlands-style verve and occasionally deeply irritating voice acting. Like a fleshy, bipedal Claptrap – who shows up, except in an amusing wooden form. First we had to take down a magical barrier by destroying two generators; both heavily guarded, of course, but we had the option to play it safe, hang back and pick off the enemies or simply charge in and make a beeline.
Thankfully both approaches were enjoyable, resulting in the barrier going down and our goblin companion "Jar" to charge into the caves where his goblin brethren were being put to work by the ruthless Taskmaster monsters. We retrieved propaganda posters advertising the GTFO and stuck them up around the cavern, resulting in an onslaught of monsters attempting to stop our progress. Once overcome, we had a powerful mini-boss known as an Oracle to kill, who handed us our first defeat – naturally this was resolved with a quick resurrection for a little of our hard-earned money. But we prevailed, defeated the Oracle and flew the GTFO flag, making the ultimately quite likeable Jar leader of the goblin resistance. Experience earned. On to the next mission.
You know this loop. It's Borderlands, but with spells. Absolute chaotic carnage, magic slung all over the place as myriad critters propel themselves towards you, not to mention the enormous and terrifying Taskmasters. Enemy variety is strong even in the small area we were able to explore, and after some initial disappointment at just how similar to Borderlands 3 it is, we got into the groove and would be lying if we told you it wasn't enormous fun. There seems to be more enemies than ever, and they're less like bullet sponges than we recall from the other games. Naturally there are level disparities between you and your opponents, but we found it breezier than the rest of the franchise and frankly that's a good thing.
It's promising stuff: the framing device of Tiny Tina's Dungeon Master has yet to wear thin, it's fun to see familiar characters in a different setting like this, and most importantly this feels like the tightest, most polished instalment of Borderlands yet. Replacing grenades with magic spells is a bit of a genius move as it means you're constantly refreshing your arsenal in a way beyond just picking up more and more guns. Though, of course, you can do that too. Come on, it's Borderlands.
Do you find the fantasy backdrop of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands appealing at all, or is this a game that’s sitting low on your radar? Cast a spell in the comments section below.
I'm excited to play this, but I'm just wondering why they won't let you play as Tiny Tina unless they make her a DLC character. I've always wanted to play as Tina, Moxxi, or Hammerlock once. I feel like Gearbox could give them some pretty fun skills and they would be good DLC characters.
Borderlands 3 needed some DLC characters to be honest.
Some initial thoughts:
I thought this was supposed to be nothing like Borderlands? Didn't Gearbox say something like that initially? Because the review here admits it's essentially Borderlands 3 but with spells.
And on that note, I keep hearing Borderlands but with spells only what would you call what the Sirens do other than spell casting? Little confused on that. Isn't this just more spells?
The fact that enemies are less bullet-spongy is a positive, but I'm still kinda burned out by BL3. By the time I played it the second season pass was out, and a load of stuff just wasn't viable without paying for it. The kreig dlc for example, highlighted how much the original Zane skill trees had been nerfed, leading to a situation where soloing the end boss isn't possible at high mayhem levels without the 4th skill tree, because you can't carry enough ammo even with all the SDUs and an optimised build using things available from the main game.
I'm looking forward to this. The Borderlands series is among my favorites. The games are great fun and even more fun with friends.
My daughter and I just played through Assault on Dragon Keep and finished it last weekend.
Sounds alright, but not for me. Great write up, though, Stuart!
The Borderlands loot-based loop failed to grab me the couple times I tried, so I guess I'll skip this one as well.
The first season pass for Borderlands 3 is excellent. The second one is lame. I agree the game is sorely lacking in characters. My favorite character in Borderlands 2, Gaige, was a DLC character. I shudder at the thought of her not being included in the game.
Borderlands 3 sucked. I was hoping the claims of this being so different than the mainline games held true. Womp womp
@TheCollector316 I beat BL2 with Gaige twice. She's probably the best character in Borderlands for me. She's in the Hammerlock DLC in BL3 but you can't play as her.
I kind of hope Gearbox finally lets people play as Tina, Moxxi and Hammerlock. I mean it does seem really weird that you can't play as Tiny Tina in her own game lol.
Also the DLC in BL3 never seemed interesting enough for me to pay for it. I got the DLC for BL2 for free with the Handsome Collection when it was PS Plus.
Didn't like Borderlands 3 at all, all the naff jokes and dialogue fell real flat for me, it felt like classroom humour, and the game, whilst OK, did not get me excited at all.
So if this is like a game I didn't enjoy at all, its a hard pass. Probably just as well, I've never had so many games competing for my time!
My friend, let me tell you. The four big DLCs in the first season pass for Borderlands 3 are GREAT! They are meaty new areas with their own stories, quests, and loot. The second season pass adds a new tree for each character and some extras, maybe even a mini campaign, but it definitely pales in comparison to the first season pass. I recommend the first season pass if you like Borderlands 3 as it's just more of it!
I understand Tiny Tina not being playable in Wonderlands because she's the dungeon master telling the story! It would be like a Jack's Doppelganger situation in the Pre-Sequel but without the reason. Though, because the series is silly, Tina could just write herself in... and cheat.
@TheCollector316 Unless it was on sale their is no way I'm paying all that money for BL3 DLC but I get what your saying about them.
Also on the point of Tiny Tina being playable, it only makes sense. I mean it's always seemed weird to me how most of the Crimson Raiders you've been able to play as except for Tina, Tanis, Moxxi, and Hammerlock. You could probably make a interesting game or DLC series with them as playable characters if I'm being honest.
I wouldn't be surprised if Gearbox does something with them for this game, especially since it seems like BL4 might be a whole different set of characters. I don't think they can keep stretching these characters out for anymore games.
Also Ava is a character I wanted to see as a DLC character in BL3. She's cool.
@QBGaming12 That would be awesome to play as those characters.
As much as I enjoy the BL series, I hate them a lot because of Gearbox screwing up the balancing for them in the end. For BL2 we had to rely on slag in order to deal any type of damage and in BL3 any purple rarity weapon is useless in Mayhem 10 cause legendaries have 3× the damage. I don't even know if I want to get this one knowing the balancing will be screwed up again.
Still undecided on this one. I've played Borderlands 1-3 many times now I guess I'm just burnt out with this series. I'll likely wait for a Sale.
@zupertramp spells are essentially grenade mods this time around, but maybe even modifiable grenade mods?
@Titntin such woeful humour. I had to keep the volume down half the time, to just ignore whatever people were saying and concentrate on shooting at other things, rather than wanting to turn a gun on myself.
Borderlands was a revelation.
Borderlands 2 was more of what we loved.
Borderlands 3? For me, at least, the main antagonists weren't for me. "Cringe" is what the young people say. The guns and shooting were fun.
Hopefully this one adds a breath of fresh air to a great series, that's starting to feel stagnant(to me).
@QBGaming12 In True Borderlands fashion I am sure Borderlands 4 will be a group of 4 new characters.
As for DLC characters Gearbox said that they won't add new characters in as DLC after 2 and the Pre-sequal because the DLC characters in those games threw the balance off. If they do come up with new characters to play they said they just save them for future games so the games can be built around them.
And as for Tiny not being playable in her own game, they are doing like Dungeons and Dragons. Typically the DM doesn't have their own character as they are the one telling the story and playing all the NPC characters. A DM never plays the game itself so to speak.
@QBGaming12 I think the reason they might have excluded Tina could be because the interest level would mostly be on her and her character whereas if you keep it "neutral" everyone always has their favorite. Just my thoughts btw, pick up the season 1 pass for BL3 when you can, really worth it!
@NojahZA I mean I've seen the reviews and stuff for the DLC for BL3 and unless it's heavily discounted it doesn't interest me as much as the DLC in BL2 did.
@Tasuki that's the reason why I fell off of BL3 because although I got near the end of the game, I just didn't care much for the characters.
I beat BL2 twice with Gaige who is probably the best character in the series for me and she was DLC. Gearbox not making any DLC characters for BL3 if I remember through people off and caused quite a uproar. Especially when Gaige was in the Hammerlock DLC and you couldn't play as her lol.
Also when it comes to Tiny Tina being playable, yes I know she's the DM of the D&D game but your talking about the same company that put a copy of Handsome Jack as a character in the Pre-Sequel. Anything can happen.
Ever since BL2 I've always wondered why Tina, Moxxi, Hammerlock and even Tanis have never been playable. I feel like their skills would actually be pretty fun or funny(In Moxxi and Tanis's case).
I'm a massive Borderlands fan, with #2 being my all-time fave. When I saw this trailer I didn't get excited as I usually do for a BL game. Not sure if it's the magic aspect, the setting (not a fan of D&D, GoT, etc,) or that it had it wasn't entirely a FPS with guns.
I'm still on the fence about it, and won't be a day 1 purchase like usual. Guess I'll be waiting for reviews to come in. Plus I'll probably still be playing 2022 GOTY, LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga by the time I make my mind up😍😍😍
All the borderlands games are really good.so thats no surprise.word up son
@QBGaming12 Oh, I agree with you on BL3 that's was one of the reason I just haven't really got into it the characters are just meh compares to the main characters in 1 and 2 and that isn't counting Gaige and Krieg.
As for Tina yes they did put a clone of Jack in the Pre-sequel but and they could put Tina in Wonderlands but again I think they want to keep the Dungeon and Dragons feeling so I highly doubt she would be a playable character. Besides from my understanding you create a crater in Wonderlands like you would Skyrim or any other RPG, they don't have set characters.
@Tasuki they have 6 set classes of characters you can play as. BRR-Zerker, Clawbringer, Graveborn, Spellshot, Spore Warden and Stabbomancer. The last and first one being the most corny/cringe names of the group.
The classes do seem cool. I'm just hoping for good skills and a character who has a companion like Gaige(Mr.Deathtrap was the best), and FL4k. Those are usually my go too classes.
This year in gaming is going to cost me a lot of money.
B3 killed the last bit of hype I had left in me. Going to wait until the 2 season passes are out before I pick this one up
i remember liking the character back then but now that i’m older she’s obnoxious and borderlands 4 would’ve been better . we need a redemption after that steaming junk of slag BL3 🤣
@QBGaming12 The Clawbringer I think is the pet class for this game. I remember reading that one of the classes is a pet class just don't remember which one it is.
I can't wait to play this. Borderlands has usually been a creative and somewhat unique series but this game seems like they're taking a bigger risk than usual, I hope this game is as fresh as it seems
"See, regardless of the effort that’s gone into the visuals here, Wonderlands is very much Borderlands 3, re-skinned. That was to be expected and is not any kind of surprise, really, but it’s so close to its predecessor that it all feels a touch redundant."
Going into Borderlands 3, all I wanted was more Borderlands, I didn't need a shakeup. Considering my brother and I never finished Borderlands 3, it turns out I do think I wanted a shakeup.
Borderlands 3 wasn't a big enough improvement gameplay-wise. I won't bother going on about the downgrades in writing, characters, and most of all the main villains.
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands looks to be too much of the same. Not enough of a shakeup for me to care. As someone who absolutely loved the first 2 in the series, I think I may just be done with it. A shame really.
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