Gearbox Studios is at it again with another story DLC for Borderlands 3. In Love, Guns, and Tentacles we are off to the planet Xylourgos to celebrate the wedding of our favorite backwoods couple: Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs. As you might expect, not everything goes quite so smoothly and the story leads players on a short, but entertaining mission to save the wedding. Love, Guns, and Tentacles reinforces the formulaic nature of these DLCs but I still enjoyed my time all the same.
In the newest story DLC, love is in the air. You have been invited to the wedding of Hammerlock and Wainwright and of course it is on a wild planet with a dark secret. Soon after landing on Xylourgos, we are greeted by fan-favorite Borderlands 2 Vault Hunter, Gaige and her robot, Deathtrap. I was worried going into this story that Gearbox was going to treat Gaige as they had treated other BL2 characters during the main BL3 story: as a prop. Thankfully, I really felt like I got to know Gaige a bit better, and was able to see not how she had become an amplified parity of herself, but instead a more mature version.
It’s a Love Story, Just Say Yes
The story of Love, Guns, and Tentacles was also a big leap forward for me. While the title may imply something a little more wacky, this story had a great deal of heart and introspection by many of the characters. In one portion, Hammerlock joins the player on a hunt and they spend time discussing how Hammerlock feels about the concept of marriage, if he’s ready, and if it’s right for him. These are questions that I’m sure many pre-weds have asked themselves and it brought a great sense of humanity to a normally comical character.
I am starting to notice a pattern, though. While these DLCs are all dressed up in a different wardrobe, the baseline narrative seems to remain pretty similar. All is well until it is not. Introduce the antagonist and send us somewhere to find out what a solution might be. Fight a boss. Find a solution. The solution is not immediately accessible. Go on the side track. Fight a boss to get back on track. Adventure towards the solution. Fight a Boss. Get the Solution. Fight through the final stretch of enemies towards the final boss. Fight the final boss. Fin.
I know I may have just described every game in existence, but with these 4-5 hour chunks of content, the formula starts to feel a bit obvious. This is not to take away from the intricacies of this story in and of itself. I’m just looking forward to a new twist on this formula at some point in the future.
The Heart Still Beats, The Heart Still Bleeds
The main enemy faction of Love, Guns, and Tentacles are a group known as The Bonded. Oozing with Lovecraftian horror vibes, these enemies were fun, varied, and at times, pretty challenging. When I played through the Handsome Jack DLC a few months ago, I found that one good corrosive weapon carried me most of the way. The same story took place here but with a great legendary fire SMG that I had found earlier. Even when the enemies were 5 levels above me, a strong fire weapon was king. The vast majority of enemies here are just red-bar enemies with only a few exceptions so be ready.
The bosses in the DLC were a bit like the Three Bears. One was far harder than it had any right being, one went down easier than it should have, and one was just right and an absolute blast to fight against. I’ll let players decide for themselves which is which. Overall I was pleased with the boss fights as usual. Borderlands 3 has a great history of incredible boss fights and from a creative standpoint, Love, Guns, and Tentacles is no exception. I just think a quick balancing pass would do them some good.
Do You? I Do.
From a technical perspective, this patch was a little bit frustrating for me. I run with a melee-focused bruiser Amara that stays alive through lifesteal from every punch. Connecting melees is extremely efficient in both damage and sustain so I usually have very little issue staying alive. That seemed to not be the case here. I found myself struggling to get my punches to connect as if the tracking wasn’t working like it used to. There were also multiple instances where I’d physically punch an enemy except no damage would be done. No damage means no lifesteal means dead Amara. Thankfully Amara has access to a free pickup from death every minute or two thanks to her Guardian Angel skill so this didn’t ruin too much.
Overall Love, Guns, and Tentacles was a win for me. The formula is getting a bit predictable, but in the five hours that I put in, I had a great time. I enjoyed the story much more than Jack’s Casino. I may be in the minority, but I’m ready for the series to be done with Jack. He had a great eight year run, now he should step aside for a new lead villain. This DLC also introduced one of my favorite new characters: an obviously evil but surprisingly helpful doorman at the lodge. His manner of speaking is… unique. If you’re a fan of the series and are looking for more of what Borderlands 3 does best, Love, Guns, and Tentacles provides it in spades. I absolutely recommend jumping in and enjoying the show.