when Gearbox Studios launched Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, a fantasy-themed Borderlands spinoff, all through this week’s Summer Game Fest, it anticipated followers’ comparisons to the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. But Gearbox clarified that whereas Wonderlands would maintain the an identical conceit – Tiny Tina is the dungeon grasp of a sport of “Bunkers and Badasses” and is persistently altering the game throughout the players — Wonderlands takes place in a very new world with new characters (except for Tiny Tina) and incorporates new battle mechanics, like spellcasting.
With Wonderlands so clearly taking cues from Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, the best and most impactful DLCs of all time, I’m apprehensive that Gearbox is doomed to repeat the an identical errors it made with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 3.
Tiny Tina’s big energy
Gearbox tends to reuse and recycle the an identical Borderlands concepts and characters that beforehand resonated with players. Handsome Jack, the baddie inside the terribly well-received Borderlands 2, is taken under consideration to be considered one of many largest on-line recreation villains; understanding this, Gearbox constructed the less-well-received Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel spherical Jack’s origin story.
Though The Pre-Sequel arrived after Borderlands 2, it wasn’t the third main-series sport that followers had been looking out for. That arrived in 2019 under the (apt) title Borderlands 3, which confronted the titanic technique of residing up to the narrative and gameplay heights of Borderlands 2, not to level out nearly seven years of participant anticipation. Sure, the game was efficient, nonetheless, that was the difficulty — it was merely efficient, not great.
Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep was a singular story, though; there’s nothing pretty that prefers it inside the franchise. For most of Borderlands 2, players are caught on Pandora, which has very similar-looking landscapes and enemies. By the time you finish the underside sport and all the alternative DLCs – Assault on Dragon Keep is designed to be carried out closing – you’re looking out for one factor new. The Dragon Keep DLC not solely presents all-new enemies, areas, and weapons (spells as a substitute to grenades!), it presents one factor that the Borderlands assortment doesn’t have a lot of Genuine feelings.
Besides giving players further of the humor and crazy antics that they’ve developed into accustomed to over the course of the game, Assault on Dragon Keep explores Tina’s grief over the demise of Roland, a playable character inside the first Borderlands and a central nonplayable character in Borderlands 2. Tina, refusing to think about that Roland is definitely gone, makes him a character inside the DLC’s universe. The completely different NPCs, who’re having fun with the game as Tina DMs, are looking out for a way to inform her that Roland isn’t coming once more … nonetheless, actually, that’s Borderlands, and what should be straightforward merely isn’t.
The storytelling is silly and insane, nonetheless, there’s one factor relatively extra extremely efficient and profound lurking merely beneath the ground. Unlike nearly all of the items else inside the franchise, this aspect of the story isn’t overdone – it’s quiet and understated, a meditation barely than an explosion.
Emulating the best of Dragon Keep
Though it takes place in a model new world with new characters, Wonderlands appears to be to take sturdy cues from the extraordinarily constructive participant response to Assault on Dragon Keep. Though I used to be initially excited in regards to the various to return to a fantasy Borderlands setting, the additional I considered it, the additional concerned I turned. One of the reasons Assault on Dragon Keep works is because of it’s really two completely completely different tales merged collectively – the story of a gaggle of associates having fun with a tabletop sport collectively and the story of a youthful girl processing grief. If you take away Tina’s story, the DLC would merely be one different reskinned Borderlands journey – albeit an particularly creative and pleasurable one. What gave the story vitality was its emotional resonance and the powerful actuality it forces Tina to face.
Gearbox most likely chosen to spin Assault on Dragon Keep into its private sport due to its very important reception and acclaim from players. If Wonderlands wants to rise to the extent of its DLC predecessor, it has to keep in mind what made the distinctive good within the first place – and it’s not dragons and weapons.