Despite splitting opinion wherever it goes, there is one thing you cannot deny about Borderlands 3. Developer Gearbox Software consistently goes above and beyond when it comes to post-launch support and its latest looter shooter is no different. Two in-game events have already come and gone since the game's September 2019 release, but it's Borderlands 3: Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot which brings about the first sizeable expansion. It's more Borderlands, and that’s enough for now.
This is a meaty DLC offering that takes a good eight or so hours if you want to see and complete everything on display. The main and most charismatic villain of the lot, Handsome Jack, is back -- sort of. After meeting his untimely demise in Borderlands 2, he left behind a legacy which includes the Handsome Jackpot casino. A sprawling, glamorous location for the rich in its heyday, your job is to eliminate the unwelcome inhabitants who now occupy the vessel and loot the gigantic safe they’re protecting.
It may seem like the DLC is resting on its laurels, but what it actually manages to craft is an enjoyable, fulfilling narrative that maintains a level of quality the base game couldn't. Every quest moves the plot forward, completely devoid of padding. That’s not to say it lacks character development, however, as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's Timothy Lawrence returns alongside a handful of new faces to spearhead a plan to take back the casino’s vault. You'll need to recruit those important figures to your cause or risk failure on the grandest stage of all. Intense and frantic throughout, it's a story which rivals the base game in a fraction of the time.
And when it comes to carrying out that plan, this is classic Borderlands action. Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot isn't looking to reinvent the wheel -- it simply provides more looting and shooting the series is known for. New enemy types do give Vault Hunters something new to aim at and more impressive boss fights are sure to shower you with loot, but those looking for a drastically different experience won’t come away satisfied. That's okay though because what made the title tick three months ago is still just as entertaining today.
All-new locations provide the backdrop to the conflict, from the glitzy casino itself where the high and mighty gambled their money away to those too poor to do so in the slums below. Boisterous characters provide you with side quests and optional activities while new weapons and class mods give you the chance to change your Vault Hunter's build. What made Borderlands 3 great is in abundance throughout its first expansion -- making it a worthy side story which fans are sure to appreciate.
What makes that fact even better is a much more reliable frame rate. The base game struggled to persistently hit 60 as it buckled under the pressure of online co-op and combat, but being the subject of many a patch since launch, the title is in a much better place a few months down the line. Much to the benefit of the DLC, our experience was entirely void of hitches, crashes, or problematic frame rate drops. Glitches and bugs were nowhere to be seen either, meaning Borderlands 3 is finally a title you can depend on when the going gets tough.
Borderlands 3: Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is more of what fans love. Sublime shooting mechanics and inventive loot form the backbone of an assault on Handsome Jack's riches, making for a speedy riot that touches on everything wonderful about the looter shooter. This is Borderlands 3 condensed into eight hours of blistering action, and with an engaging narrative to boot, it makes for an experience that fans would be foolish to skip.