The second Borderlands 3 expansion throws us straight into the wedding party of Sir Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs, and as you can probably imagine, with two odd personalities involved, it won't be your average wedding. That assessment is proven true very quickly indeed, with the couple inviting you to the planet Xylourgos for their special day, and it's not long before things go south, so to speak.
This is the basic premise of Guns, Love, and Tentacles, and behind the name hides a distinctly Lovecraft-inspired adventure with lots of occult phenomena and more tentacles than we have ever seen outside of a Cthulu game. The idea is very good on paper and is made even better by the fact that Paige from Borderlands 2 is back in the role of wedding planner. Her personality reminded us of Tiny Tina from the same franchise and she enhances every bit of dialogue she is involved in.
Unfortunately, however, we don't feel that Gearbox has taken advantage of all of these interesting elements to the extent that it could have. There is so much potential here but it doesn't all shine. It could have been a really twisted bachelor party, followed a marvellous wedding surrounded by unforeseen events and fun side quests on top. Instead, we get a fairly linear wedding narrative that only gets time in the spotlight through some dialogue. Other than through conversations with the game's characters, the wedding at the centre of the story plays a backseat to the action and that's a real shame.
Therefore, for anyone who has played Borderlands 3 before, nothing new awaits. There's a large open area to traverse with vehicles and paths from where enemies emerge before you finally meet a boss who must be fed copious servings of hot lead before he bites the dust. Now, this feels like a strange thing to whine about considering how this is exactly what Borderlands 3 has offered prior, however, these semi-independent expansions have previously offered mini-stories that really engaged and delivered good variety.
One simply has to go back to Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot, which was released late last year, to get a good example of this. A well-planned heist, nice dialogue, good surprises and lots of that typical Borderlands humour. It always felt like one was involved in something bigger and the environmental variation was great. Now, we push through purple areas that lack that little extra something and face the same enemies over and over, and then there's the challenge, or rather the lack of it.
The challenge has been a pervasive problem throughout the main game, but in Guns, Love, and Tentacles it's so easy to advance that it sometimes feels a little pointless. The only real challenge our posse encountered was a boss who was the very definition of being a "bullet sponge" and restored both life and shields while we emptied all our ammunition into the bastard. The really difficult thing happened right during the shield recharge, where rotating rocks flew around at high speed that you needed to jump to, from which you could then cancel the recharge. However, the precision needed for this kind of fast platform jumping is not quite present. There will likely be some really cheap deaths of the more annoying variety involved (especially if you're playing alone and have to redo everything multiple times, while those with co-op buddies can continue the fight with allies acting as spawn anchors).
It's perhaps a shame to complain about an expansion that's not really bad. It takes ten hours to complete the story and the side quests, and in the end, it is entertaining all the way through, and much of the humour is exactly what the Borderlands fans like. That's more than you can say about other expansions nowadays, which usually consist of a new character and, at best, a multiplayer arena. Here you get an incredible amount of content for your money.
But unfortunately, it's not enough. The theme of the wedding is poorly handled, the level design too boring, and in the end, we were expecting more (especially considering all of the insanely good expansions that came out of Borderlands 2 as well as this one's entertaining predecessor, Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot). While fans will likely have fun some with it - and there is fun to be had - it could have been so much more.