We are gathered here today to talk about Guns, Love, and Tentacles, the sharply written Lovecraftian DLC for Borderlands 3 which puts the wedding of Sir Hammerlock and Wainwright Jacobs in the center of its scopes. Though everything about it is exactly what you’d expect from Borderlands DLC – in a good way – it also doesn’t do much to make its few short hours really stand out.
What starts out as an eccentric couple’s wedding on the creepy, remote world of Xylourgos predictably turns into a nightmarish cataclysm of eldritch horrors. So, y’know, just some normal Borderlands stuff. You’ll smack, blast, and meat-bicycle your way through some unique areas like the eerie, possessed town of Cursehaven; the dark, sickening groves of Cankerwood; and the accursed halls of a manor controlled by a cult that worships a Cthulu-inspired God called Gythian. For a series that once had a big problem with the lack of diversity in its exclusively Pandoran environments, Guns, Love, and Tentacles feels like a victory lap of breathtaking views and unique areas.
As usual, the Borderlands staples you know and love have been tweaked to fit the new setting, and in this case it results in some pretty gross aesthetics. For example, chests have a squid-like quality to them and gurgle and slither out juicy, slime-covered weapons, or they open a portal to another dimension and spit out some new items for your perusal. You’ll also have some new tentacle-themed cosmetics to unlock, like character skins and weapon ornaments. It’s a bummer, though, that there are no Lovecraftian weapons to chase. That’s a missed opportunity!
The campaign is solid but short – you can blow through the bulk of it in just a few hours. That said, it’s an overwhelmingly entertaining few hours thanks to stellar writing and jokes that land more often than they miss. There are some misses in the level design, too, like a few sections which require platforming – something Borderlands has never been great with. One such section is a boss fight that requires you to jump onto levitating platforms to take down the enemy’s shields and if you make a wrong move you’ll need to start the fight all over again (unless you’re playing with a friend you can use as a spawn anchor).
Fortunately for those of us who’ve been waiting for more DLC since December, there’s plenty to do aside from the main story. Sidequests are mostly entertaining distractions, and there are occult creature hunts to go on for Sir Hammerlock which can be fairly challenging. For rewards, you’ll have eight new legendary weapons to chase for those who want to be best equipped to slay Gythian’s octo-pals with extreme prejudice. On the other hand, some tasks are pretty dry, like picking flowers for your new testicle-eating friend. Yup. That’s a thing.
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On Xylourgos you’ll mainly fight against occult followers of Gythian. These weirdos interact with you and one another in all sorts of interesting ways during combat, like buffing and healing one another, resurrecting fallen allies from the dead as exploding suiciders, or even eating your guns. That’s right: they literally eat your guns, those monsters! Each encounter with these tentacle-loving psychopaths has to be considered before being tackled, because not killing necromancers before taking on everyone else could result in you getting overwhelmed by undead explodey boys. Xylourgos’ mobs are deadly, sometimes annoyingly so, but the end result is some of the most interesting combat encounters we’ve seen in Borderlands.
Aside from the interesting new mobs, though, there isn’t really a whole lot that Guns, Love, and Tentacles does that’s unique. It’s more Borderlands 3, which is great, but it all ends up feeling like a very by-the-numbers expansion that’s fun for a few hours and not especially groundbreaking. Even the formidable bosses aren’t much more than bullet sponges with a bad attitude. But, y’know, when you find yourself shoving your fist into piles of wendigo dung, remember: this is exactly what you signed up for.
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