When Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep was released, it was a huge surprise and a welcome change of pace. After the bittersweet ending to the Borderlands 2 campaign was followed up with tons of comedy-centric DLC, I was feeling a bit robbed. Robbed of closure to the events of the story, with no continuation anywhere in sight (it would be some time before Borderlands 3 was announced, and even longer until it came out.)
Dragon Keep not only was a refreshing take on the setting, giving us a new kind of world to play with the classic borderlands game systems, but also an unexpected addition to the main story of Borderlands 2. Dragon Keep served as a surprisingly sweet ending to the game, giving closure where it was needed and doing it in a remarkably clever and fun way.
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands was in a lot of ways the same. Borderlands 3 also left me feeling bittersweet, almost more bitter than sweet. It was marketed as the darkest Borderlands game in the series, and they lived up to that promise remarkably well. The entire game, even its DLCS, was very story-focused and heavy on the aforementioned dark tone, and after a while it was kind of hard to watch my favorite characters going through so much.
Wonderlands was an unexpected addition to the series that came when things needed to lighten up a bit. While not a continuation of the mainline Borderlands story, it features a return of some of its beloved characters. Seeing as the narrative is pushed along by a game of Dungeons and Dragons (or, Bunkers and Badasses, as it’s known in-universe,) it’s very a personality-driven story. Especially that of the titular Bunker Master, Tiny Tina.
And what a narrative it is. Just like its predecessor, Dragon Keep, Wonderlands manages to slip a heartwarming and somewhat emotional story in the middle of an overtly goofy and fantastical setting. The game of Bunkers and Badasses is full of shenanigans, from metagaming pushing the plot forward to a dropped Cheeto being an important obstacle in your quest. And yet, somehow in the midst of all of this, the game manages to drop a phenomenally interesting twist-focussed plot that actually had me on the edge of my seat.
Wonderlands is a welcome change of pace from the grim storytelling of the last Borderlands game. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but doesn’t sacrifice on telling a story worth telling at the same time. That’s not the only way Wonderlands refreshes the Borderlands formula either, bring fresh new takes on the classic gameplay too.
Instead of grenades, we’ve now got spells, powerful and widely varied projectiles that offer tons of new ways to take on the game’s content. A particular favorite of mine are the calamity spells, which bring down an elemental meteor on top of the unsuspecting foes you cast it towards.
Speaking of elements, the ever-favorite elemental damage types from the other Borderlands games have been improved and expanded on. Frost damage now does extra damage against Grey-health enemies, a new type of foe you’ll face, and the brand new dark magic type heals you for the damage it does.
The game features far more customization than previous Borderlands games. Not only do you get to create your own character, with everything from your voice to your body type available to customize, but even your stats are customizable from the start. In character creation, you get to assign a number of points into different attributes, and even pick a background for your character, fully immersing yourself in the fantasy of making a Dungeons and Dragons character.
The game’s philosophy of choice expands into your class, too. Normally, a Borderlands character has three skill trees to choose from at the start of the game, and these never change. In Wonderlands, you get to “multiclass”, choosing from one of the 6 classes to serve as your second skill tree, leaving every aspect of gameplay up to the player to customize.
The Final Word
Wonderlands is an outrageous, comedy-filled adventure that manages to both return to Borderlands’ roots while also offering fresh new takes on the iconic formula of the series. It’s packed with the irreverence the series is known for, and manages to capture a lot of the heart as well. It’s left me excited to see what comes next for the franchise, be it Wonderlands dlc or another surprising new title that hopefully lives up to the standard Wonderlands has set for the series.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website!