Overall - 70%
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands might as well be an expansion for Borderlands 3. Only fans of Borderlands who can tolerate Tiny Tina should consider this game.
With Gearbox being purchased, this could be the last “Borderlands” game the team works on. Is Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands a good swan song, or should they have left it with Borderlands 3? Check out our review and find out.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands Review
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands begins with a game of Dungeons and Dragons (or as they call it, Bunkers and Badasses). Tiny Tina is the dungeon master, and the campaign is just about to wrap up. You and the other players are invited to play another session as the campaign ends. Here you make your character, choose their class, and adjust their stat points. You play as the Fatemaker (AKA the person making all the choices) as you play through Tiny Tina’s new campaign. If you don’t like Tiny Tina, don’t even bother – she is a constantly annoying presence.
When you get into the game itself, you are tasked with saving a village and clearing out a keep. Fast forward a bit, and it turns out that Tiny Tina isn’t as in control as she thinks. The mighty Dragon Lord has returned and seems to be affecting the game in ways Tina didn’t expect. The game never surprised me, but there were some extraordinary moments for sure. The one thing I want to express clearly is this: It is Borderlands in a fantasy setting. It is a nice setting change from Pandora, but it is just Borderlands gameplay-wise. You’ll get through the main campaign in roughly 20-25 hours.
I’ve never had a problem with the gameplay in Borderlands; rather, the problem I had was finding a good weapon. When the core gameplay loop is killing hordes of enemies, you need a weapon you can rely on. I never felt great about my guns in Borderlands 3; here, however, I constantly had weapons I liked. They do try to make some look like crossbows or other medieval weapons, but they still shoot like the other guns. You do get melee weapons, though they felt like something they tossed in because they had to. I would have liked them to focus more on melee and magic combat instead of the same ol’ gun gameplay.
Magic has replaced grenades in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, and it works out very well. I despise looter shooters that restrict my cool abilities for minutes at a time (hello there Destiny). I have all these cool tricks, and you still want me to focus on shooting the creature in the face for two minutes straight?
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is the opposite. Your magic and abilities refresh quickly, giving you more tactical options. You can even go down a skill tree that lets you have two magical powers, allowing for some interesting combos. Still, anyone who wants just to shoot enemies can do that as well.
In between areas, there is an overworld that you can explore. While roaming around, you can find random encounters, side quests, shortcuts, and various shrines. The shrines give you a buff to combat or more cash; minor things that help you on your journey. Unfortunately, the side quests are mostly generic and bland. Sure, you get the flavor of Borderlands from them, but killing 20 guys for their teeth is the same as just killing 20 guys. I don’t want to use the phrase phoned in, but honestly, that’s how I felt. Similar to the melee, it seemed like something they had to do instead of wanted to do.
The side content that is challenging is finding all the collectibles. Lucky Dice, Poem Pages, Marbles, and other challenges are found on each level. Finding all of these will reward you with EXP and gold and increase your loot level. The more you find, the better the loot you will find from containers and chests. Many of them are easy to find, but you always get one or two that make you think. The Lucky Dice also act as treasure chests, rewarding you with more loot. The problem is that Tina has to say something every time you open one with a variation of “baby” at the end. I get that her character is supposed to be annoying, but there is a limit as to what a person can take.
Another gripe I have is with the “dungeons” on the map. Don’t throw me into an arena with waves of enemies and call it a dungeon. I killed four waves of enemies, so now I get the key? Why not one wave? Why not a chest located somewhere on the map? Why not put them on a map that has been designed to be explored instead of this small arena? I don’t know, but it is very annoying. To be fair, you can skip most of it, but it still feels lazy.
There is very little dice-rolling, despite its source material. For being a looter shooter, the inventory system is very outdated. You still have to pick what you want to trash one at a time. You can accidentally sell your weapons and not even realize it. There is TOO MUCH lousy loot. In these games, everyone does the same thing: ignore white and green color weapons because I don’t have the room or I don’t want to deal with them in my inventory. There has to be a better system than this. Personally, I’d like the option to completely ignore a certain level of quality when it comes to gear.
Tech-wise this game was a mess at launch. The servers seem to be working now, but I couldn’t find hardly any games for the first week. Then, when I got into a game, I would be disconnected, lag really bad, or the other player wouldn’t move. Things are moving in the right direction now, but I still get kicked from the servers when I am playing. I did have a couple of crashes, but the game saves so often it didn’t matter. The frame rate was fine on the PlayStation 5.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands might as well be an expansion for Borderlands 3. Only fans of Borderlands who can tolerate Tiny Tina should consider this game.
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