I’ve previously written about Borderlands 3 along with the rest of the series of games. I called this one Average because of its common feeling gunplay and dull villains. I still find a huge section of the game from retaking the Atlas HQ to the Eden-6 vault boss incredibly dragged out and boring. However, the DLC are interesting as additions to the game.
Handsome Jackpot – A casino heist story that brings back loader robots. This one has a fairly standard plot of talking with people, recruiting them then going after the big bad who in this case is a mafia stereotype midget called Pretty Boy. The levels feel like something out of the Presequel which felt really good and helped me feel like I was playing proper Borderlands again. The best trick this DLC had was cutting the stages of the heist plan into short snappy sections like a movie would, it built things up really well and took away from the slog that the game could sometimes be. The map size was also better than the main game as vehicles weren’t required.
Guns, love and tentacles – Sir Hammerlock’s wedding with former vault hunter Gaige as the planner. A weird new cult that worships a giant heart that controls spirits, portals and has a general H.P. Lovecraft theme. It’s a fairly straightforward story that has one needlessly annoying boss that just sucked the fun out of the game the first time fighting him. It has a nice atmosphere and added interesting side missions but wasn’t too remarkable. Apart from one huge map I liked the map sizes from this DLC.
Bounty Of Blood – A western themed story where dinosaurs replaced horses and a nonsense plot could be forgiven. The plot was about a giant egg that contained a vault monster sized boss which I think the game needed more of but the real draw of this DLC was the narrator. Weirdly, the dialogue that was so full of bad dialogue and irritating voices in the main game didn’t hit the DLC and we got a cool, calm, gruff old western voice which fit the setting really well and was the main drive for doing anything in this DLC. It came with a few infuriating side quests and way too many crew challenges (collectibles) but for the narrator and final boss it was pretty good.
Psycho Krieg And The Fantastic Fustercluck – A section of DLC that was short and used an old vault hunter’s mind as the main plot point. Psychos in Borderlands are screaming madmen that run at you with axes, this story was about how a friendly psycho thinks; a look into mental health in an unexpected way. Gameplay wise there are a good set of bosses with some generic enemies and a few short side quests, nothing too remarkable but the crew challenges about shooting orbs in a given time frame just got on my nerves.
Designer’s Cut – The Arms Race. A PvE battle royale style mode which I had one go of and never touched again. Remove all your weapons, perks, skills and character bonuses to then pick up a rubbish gun and shoot things. Pick up more loot then head for the boss who can be attacked at any point. There was just no challenge other than locating the boss and removing everything unique about characters meant it no longer had the Borderlands charm. I just watched a timer tick down until I realised what I was supposed to do. There are also new skill trees for the main game for a bit of variety in gameplay, some I like and others I don’t. I would have preferred a whole new character but the new trees made the Gunner character more playable for me.
Director’s Cut – A new raid boss which probably should have been in the game to start with and a new side mission. Nothing really new but it’s nice that they added stuff to the game. The side quest is helping Ava (the most hated character) to do murder mystery quests which don’t fit well with the Borderlands gameplay and glitched out on me. There’s also daily challenges which is a nice idea. I had to search the internet to find out what this DLC added because it impacted my game so little.
Overall, these DLCs are an improvement on the main game. I still don’t like the maps, pacing, dialogue or characters from the main game which is a slog but there is the option to skip the early story just to play the DLC which is a bonus. The issue with the skip is that you aren’t far enough into the story to have all equipment slots unlocked. This game will never be a real challenger to Borderlands 2 but it at least has more fun bits now.
I am disappointed that Gearbox have used such a beloved game series to test ideas like battle royales and murder mysteries which should have just had a different game created for them. I just hope that Borderlands 4 gets the redemption that some of the DLCs almost gave Borderlands 3.