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Booting up Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, I discovered myself questioning why it’s not known as Bunkers & Badasses. That’s the title of the in-universe recreation that the characters are taking part in. And it’s far more indicative of what you’re getting than “Wonderlands.” Embrace Tiny Tina’s title in the event you actually should have the branding, however calling it “Wonderlands” implies a degree of fantasy affect that this recreation doesn’t actually possess.
If that feels like a condemnation, it’s not meant to be. Wonderlands is basically a tabletop RPG marketing campaign thrown collectively by the uncommon titular character. It has numerous good, light-hearted humor, and it’s enjoyable to play — that’s all it actually wants to chop it as a brand new entry within the Borderlands sequence. What it doesn’t have is any distinctive taste of its personal, regardless of its greatest efforts.
Roll for initiative
Let’s clear one thing up immediately: For those who preferred Borderlands, then you’ve a powerful probability of liking Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. The gameplay is comparable — just about similar — to that of the principle Gearbox sequence. It additionally retains the sequence’ trademark humor, in that the jokes don’t all the time land, however they’re all the time instructed with conviction and at max quantity.
I primarily performed a Spellshot, the Wonderlands equal of a magic class. I naively thought that might be the category least prone to play the best way the everyday Borderlands recreation does — unsure why, looking back. However when my character picked up an assault rifle, I distributed with the notion that this was going to be something however one other Borderlands.
The truth is, it’s been a wrestle to even get my ideas so as on this recreation as a result of each means I can assume to explain it goes again to Borderlands. It’s a first-person looter shooter with cartoony animation and a flip humorousness. It’s Borderlands with a vaguely fantasy filter and Tina’s rambling commentary overlaid.
Now, both that was all you wanted to listen to, and also you’re shopping for/taking part in the sport now, or that was all you wanted to listen to, and also you’re by no means going close to it. A few of you who aren’t very conversant in Borderlands could also be questioning whether or not it is best to get into the sequence with this recreation. The reply is sure — with a caveat.
Wonderlands differs from Borderlands in a number of methods. My favourite is the in-game map. The sport just isn’t open-world however fairly a sequence of environments linked by an overworld. Tina’s hand is apparent within the setting, and the participant character morphs right into a miniature of themselves (one way or the other making my hideously ugly Spellshot much more so).
It’s from this overworld that you just journey to the assorted smaller environments, and also you’ll even have random encounters. These small fights are Wonderlands’s bread and butter, and I loved them. It’s mainly Borderlands briefly, bite-sized chunks, which is how I like them greatest. You’re taking out a bunch of random enemies, choose up loot, cart it to the closest kiosk for revenue, and so forth.
The overworld has essentially the most visible appeal of the sport, and it additionally saves numerous time in transit. It’s much more enjoyable to get to my vacation spot by working my deformed miniature over a bridge made out of a bottle cap than it might be wading via the millionth full-size setting. It’s the primary and greatest impression that Wonderlands makes as a fantasy recreation.
Fantasy + Weapons = Mayhem
With some exceptions, Wonderlands additionally retains the fight quick and rewarding. In a number of locations, it began to really feel like a battle of attrition, however these are typically not widespread. I often had sufficient assets and loot that I by no means felt overwhelmed. The addition of magic to the components is a bit underwhelming. I typically forgot it was even an possibility to make use of as a result of the weapons greater than dealt with every part.
The characters are additionally good, for a Borderlands recreation. As per normal, they couldn’t say one thing with gravitas if their life relied on it, however that’s forgiveable given who the DM is. Additionally, I wouldn’t often comment on this, however the character customization in Wonderlands is wonderful. Coincidentally, I began taking part in this recreation similtaneously I used to be creating a brand new TTRPG character, and the expertise of making each that character and my Wonderlands Spellshot was remarkably, enjoyably related.
However right here’s the query on my thoughts: If this recreation wasn’t explicitly tied to Borderlands — if this was only a fantasy journey story made by Gearbox and offered as a standalone expertise — wouldn’t it be capable to make it? My reply could be, “No.” Plenty of the humor and curiosity is tied too carefully to the earlier video games’ story and characters — an excessive amount of for the sport to essentially have its personal id.
That’s to not say Wonderlands isn’t cute and humorous. It’s! For those who have been simply beginning out within the sequence, and wished to check your tolerance for it utilizing Wonderlands as a benchmark, you can positively do this. That is principally as a result of the sport’s perspective is fed by Tiny Tina, essentially the most constantly amusing Borderlands character. And right here she’s in her ingredient as a puckish, considerably unsteady dungeon grasp.
Penalty to charisma
For all of the giggles Wonderlands gave me, numerous the humor depends on sure Borderlands tropes which have by no means been my cup of tea. My important downside is that if the sequence has one good joke, it proceeds to grind the joke all the way down to the gums, wringing all doable humor out of it.
Right here’s an instance from the very starting of the sport, the primary time I actually observed the issue. You clear a village of enemies, and Tina prompts you to revive an injured villager. Your companion says one thing about saving “her peasant ass.” Then, if you do revive her, she thanks you for “saving my peasant ass.” Okay, chuckle chuckle.
Then, when the dialog is over, you see the character is marked as “peasant-ass peasant.” And now Wonderlands was beginning to check my persistence. I backed up from the character a bit, and she or he says one thing about her “peasant ass.” At that time, I might have given something to present my character the prospect to take a hammer to Tina’s miniatures. And this was removed from the one time this occurred.
Additionally, possibly this was simply me, however I began to expire of steam a number of hours into it. It’s a recreation that’s fulfilling in small chunks however not likely for an awesome size of time. And after some time, I felt that I had seen as a lot of Wonderlands as I wanted to. I feel sooner or later even essentially the most die-hard Borderlands followers will merely carry their fingers from their keyboard/controller and say, “ what? That’s sufficient Tina for the foreseeable future.”
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is presently accessible for PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Sequence X/S and One, and PC. Gearbox supplied GamesBeat with a PC code for this assessment.
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