Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands tries very hard to convince you that the game is funny. Everything that we’ve seem thus far is designed to bombard the player with as many attempts at quirky and faux-unique humour as possible. It’s the same over-the-top humour that was present in Borderlands 2, then the Pre-Sequel, and then again in Borderlands 3. The problem is that by now, this attempt at humour is really stale, and honestly just comes across as really cringe-inducing and pitiful.
Borderlands 1 was a instant hit, and is a classic for a few reasons. The first is that the game play excellent as a couch and online co-op game. The party system worked really well, and the game was super enjoyable to play with friends. The second is that the writing and humour within the game was witty, and placed well. It wasn’t over the top, and it wasn’t the key focal point of the game. It was sprinkled throughout, it was well constructed, and it written well. The third key point about Borderlands 1 was the game’s fundamentals. Gunplay felt really good, the classes were fun to play as, and overall it worked really well as a co-op loot-based shooter.
Now let’s compare that game to the current state of the latter Borderlands like the third game, or the Pre-Sequel – it is as though everything that made the first game charming and enjoyable to play, the studio forgot about all that and just tried to appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s the same jokes, it’s the same bland over the top gameplay, it’s all just very stale now. They’ve taken the butt-stallion joke, and just tried to appeal to that lowest common denominator again and again – yikes!
It all just seems like a pathetic attempt to recapture the magic of the first two games.
This is where Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands comes in. This game had the potential to give the series a much, much needed refresh and really reinvigorate the line of Borderlands game after the catastrophic failure of Borderlands 3 epic-store-exclusive drama, and how bad of a game the pre-sequel was. The series needs a refresh, and the potential is here.
Imagine with me a fantasy game such as Skyrim, or Dragon Age, in the Borderlands 1 style. Witty humour, with loot-based gameplay that is thematic to a fantasy setting. People love collecting a plethora of different style swords, axes, spears, shields and the like in those types of games, and the Borderlands formula seems to fit this description really well. The combination of styles would work really well. Play with your friends and earn loot like in a Diablo style game, with the first-person perspective of something like Skyrim blended in with the Borderlands universe.
You can see already how perfectly made for a fantasy style games that the Borderlands line is. The potential is there is a huge way. And this dramatic shift is something that would really bring the series back to life, and on paper is seems like this is something that would really reinvigorate the series.
There is one key problem though.
Wonderlands isn’t that game whatsoever. It’s just a reskin of Borderlands 3, and a faux-fantasy setting. It’s the same over-the-top gun gameplay. It’s all the same jokes. You are just in a really half-assed fantasy setting for Borderlands.
So, before the game even launches, it seems like it’s going to do just about as well as the last few entries in the series, and it might as well be just another Borderlands game. Why isn’t it? Because Tiny Tina has a following, and you can be certain the studio is going to cash in on that in any way possible. As such, we have a Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands reskin of Borderlands 3. This dedication in being a reskin of BL3 goes a step further, with the game again being an Epic Store exclusive – because that went so well last time. /s
And in true Gearbox and 2K fashion, there are 413 different version of the game that you can pre-order, each of which having a different level of content. You want to have all the game’s content? Well then you’re going to have to fork out much more dosh than you normally would for a video game – because they’ve cut content from the base purchase of the game, so there’s a reason for your to buy whatever they’re calling the deluxe edition.
It’s honestly so rampant, that at time of writing this article, the home page for the game has the phrase ‘pre-order’ twelve times on a single page. Twelve. Twelve!
Remember how earlier on I said it felt like that the studio was just recycling the Butt Stalion joke from the second game, over and over, because they found one thematic joke-line that resonated with their audience, and then they’ve just spammed that over and over again to appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to try and convince people that their games are still funny?
Whelp, that is literally the name of one of the pre-order bonuses for buying the most expensive of the three game editions. The ‘Chaotic Great’ edition includes the ‘Butt Stallion Pack’. It’s at this point at writing the article for this, that I really realised that nobody over at Gearbox or 2K are really even trying anymore.