Love and Tentacles (3)

Borderlands 3 is in a comfortable spot right now. The main game has been a smash-hit, the fandom is still regularly engaging with it and there’s just enough content being doled out to keep the lights on without having to resort to full live service elements. Part of that strategy comes from a classic tradition of DLC: An entire quartet of reasonably chunky episodes that flesh out the world of Borderlands and extend the narrative in unexpected new directions.

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We’ve already had a our first taste of that content with the pseudo-return of Handsome Jack in an episode that made a strong case for wanting to eat the obscenely rich when they use their vast fortune to construct the ultimate jail for gamblers that goes full Lord of the Flies but like with too much damn money. Anyway, whereas Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot was Oceans 11 with ridiculous firepower, Borderlands 3’s latest offering is all about love. And guns, but mostly love!

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Sir Hammerlocke and Wainwright Jakobs are finally ready to get hitched at the altar, everyone (but Claptrap) is invited to the wedding and they’ve chosen the perfect location for the ceremony: A mysterious planet cloaked in an eternal twilight that just so happens to have more tentacle wrapped around it than a Japanese HP Lovecraft hentai festival.

Things naturally take a turn for a worse not long after you land on the planet of Xylourgos, with Wainwright afflicted by a curse, the crew besieged by the cult of Gythian and even worse, Claptrap crashing the party. It’s up to you to solve the problem and put an end to an eternal romance, gigantic vault monsters and spirits from beyond the grave by doing what you do best: Pumping enough lead into the problem until it goes away.

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And really, that’s it. Guns, Love and Tentacles is smaller in scope than Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot and while it does lay the Lovecraft atmosphere on thick, it’s an episode that’s more occupied with telling a story than introducing a few new quirks to the gameplay. Xylourgos is crawling with cursed residents and devoted cultists, some admittedly hilarious scenes such as a book club of the damned or interacting with locals who all suffer from horribly hilarious curses and plenty of firepower to collect along the way.

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The new DLC is also home to a fantastic boss fight that is both the best and worst thing about the DLC: On the one hand it has a boss who throws a few challenging spanners at players, on the other hand it has platforming and everyone knows that first-person shooter games need to stay far away from that genre lest they venture deep into a realm they were not made for.

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Aside from several big bads Xylourgos also has plenty of bullet sponges to throw at you, as you have to prioritise which cultists to attack. Some of these wizards will heal and resurrect their allies, other units benefit from having supernatural eyeballs augment their health and damage while some vault monster believers slap you across the screen with a tentacle of malice. That makes for more interesting mash-ups, arenas of carnage that require a lot of bullets to clear the rabble out of your way.

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Fortunately, there are some FANTASTIC new Exotic weapons which drop from these misguided fools rather frequently! My favourite so far is Binary Dangerous Insider, a Maliwan shotgun that looks like it has an otherworldy anus for a gun barrel and absolutely shreds through enemies with its insane spread of radioactive and corrosive projectiles.

And that’s it.

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While I’ll never think that having more Borderlands 3 is a bad thing in this or any other reality, that’s what Guns, Love and Tentacles boils down to when you examine it under a microscope. It has charm and personality, memorable characters (Egoraptor’s Mancubus Bloodtooth is a major highlight) and its running time makes for a short yet satisfying couple of hours in which to explore Xylourgos, take on a few extra missions and earn a few level increases along the way.

Last Updated: March 30, 2020

Borderlands 3: Guns, Love and Tentacles
What begins with a disaster ends with love, sandwiching in a meaty filling of guns, conspiracies and Wendigo testicles along the way in Borderlands 3: Guns, Love and Tentacles. Not a bad way to spend a weekend, when you’re officiating the union between beast and melee attack. I now pronounce you man and knife.
Borderlands 3: Guns, Love and Tentacles was reviewed on PlayStation 4
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