Tiny Tina's Wonderlands REVIEW (PS5)
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
''TINY BIG ADVENTURES''
Published: 2K Games
Genre: First Person Looter Shooter
Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Platforms: PS4/PS5/PC/Xbox Family
*Review copy provided to me by 2K Games*
''A Wonderous Adventure''
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands is a first person looter shooter that is developed by Gearbox and published by 2K Games. Coming off the re-release of Tiny Tina's One Shot Adventure, last previously see with Borderlands 2, Gearbox aimed to give us the full bunkers and bad asses and dungeons and dragons borderlands spin off that we rightfully deserve. But does it live up to expectations we had for it, or should it have stayed as just DLC and just left at that? only one way to find out, so lets go.
Are you ready for a fantasy themed looter shooter that is both outrageous and a little bit crazy? well here in the direct follow up to Borderlands 2: Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's keep, you may just get what you asked for, weird humor and all. If you're wondering just what the hell this title is without having previously played the DLC, then the easiest way to explain this would be to call it a game within a game. It's borderlands 3: The Dungeons And Dragons Edition. That's basically it in a nutshell, but a little more complex than that if I'm going to be perfectly honest. Sure it has your usual amount of absurdity like flying unicorns named butt stallion, a man fairy, whos not The Rock, coming out of a crystal with wings, or even literally nuking an entire coastal town - but it tends to stretch beyond that as you progress, all while still keeping the core experience of what made you like the Borderlands franchise to begin with.
Again one of the first things you'll learn before anything else, even before the whacky story of Dragon Lord taking over all the land and enslaving Buttsville, which, fun fact, is where Cornholio is actually from - is that this title is first and foremost, not only an RPG, but also looter shooter that offers more ways to play via its spells, powerups and plethora of weapons at your disposal the further you explore, or depending on which side quests you undertake. Whether you're doing a quest that involves you putting a pet parrot back together by finding all its missing parts or finding a magical pirate ship and having to slay its captain and its crew, so that you may use it in your fight against the Dragon Lord himself. There's just so much to undertake in your endeavor this go around that it can sometimes leave you with the feeling of ''what the heck should I do next''. But that's not a bad feeling to have, far from it.
When you're not following the main story, which if I'm going to be honest, is one of the weaker parts of this entry, you can fully dive into what makes the game pretty unique. Its presentation and its style. Hold on hold on, before my head gets ripped off for saying that, let me explain. In previous Borderlands titles, you've always had the random and silly dialogue with side quests that link to the over arching story, with lots of twists, emotions and robust characters. Sure the silliness is here and even the great characters and their hilarious dialogue, but story in itself is just ''bad guy is here, he needs to be stopped'' and then it's just you doing a race for the taste, the honey nutty taste, of honey nut cheerios, all the way to the end of the game in order to beat the main baddie Dragon Lord, that's it. Its still really funny, don't get it twisted, between Dragon Lord bouncing in and out of dialogue talking about our adventure, or watching two long time pirate partners fight over who has the right to this gigantic ship, etc, but it leaves much to the desired overall. Its missing the extra oomph that you come to expect.
But harping on the story aside, when actually playing through the game, you will notice that your missions just don't go from one chapter to another just by typical transitional scenes as per usual with the first person shooter genre, nope. Instead it lives up to its true board game origins by having the player tread across an actual board game overworld map in a top down perspective, with you as a character, having a big ol head like you used to see in Big Head mode back on N64 games. Using this board game, you can choose to take on the main path objectives, or instead, wander off to other areas to find side quests or dark crypts to uncover in order to gain more powerful gear, higher experience points or just level your characters abilities further if you choose to. This is actually really creative, because as you run over grassy areas, it sort of acts like Pokemon in sense that it triggers random battles that can occur versus an enemy should they engage in an encounter. Once entering an enemy encounter, you're transported into an arena map and your ultimate goal is to slay each wave of baddies and then just collecting your loot. Simple, but effective, at least for now. This can be used as a good way to further level your character or as a way to find decent gear or even find lower level gear and selling it for profit in order to be able afford WAY better stuff located in the vending machines during missions. Basically you can become a scalper like on Ebay.
While you're venturing your booty through the tabletop board, you will encounter side quests that involve you collecting pieces of a shrine to unlock extra goodies, but after completing it, you find that the guy has just been randomly murdered, with a gigantic TAC, like what the hell? then run into a giant cheeto blocking your path, and Tina ,not wanting to admit she's the one that dropped it on the game board, insists you find a key to ''unlock the pathway'' and then after fulfilling her request, you can hear her eating it, which is pretty funny. You can then travel through dark crypts, mysterious mines, beautiful country sides, fight in spooky graveyards, get knighted by the prestigious and all around queen goddess herself, Buttstallion, who literally gets decapitated, catapult yourself to new areas, use alchemy quest items to break away vines so you can access a new area, gaze at the beautiful BrightHoof castle in all its magnificence and glory, stare off into the vast ocean like you're back on Kilika Port in Final Fantasy 10 when Sin attacks and destroys the poor coastal village. Which kind happens here? only this time, we literally set off nukes, which nearly takes out the city of Brighthoof, no joke. Oops. My overall point being here is that there's just so damn much to see and explore that it feels like the game has no end to content and that's almost true in a way. Based off how dedicated you are to this title at the very least.
Back on game play overall, aside from the board game mechanic and different areas to discover for side quests, what is the overall gameplay like? does it feel different from mainline entries? Um not really. Sure it has a different setting and the world is different, yes, but overall gameplay stays true to what you'd typically find in a mainline entry of this series from really fast paced gunplay, with you leveling a class, using your attribute points to level specific skills for each class, which when leveled up enough, allows you to dual wield two jobs at once, loot dungeons after completing set objectives to get newer gear and stronger weapons in order to raise your item level so you can be strong enough to take on bigger bosses or even crazier challenges. Its a case of ''if it aint broke, dont fix it'' at the end of the day, which can be taken as a positive or a negative, depending on how tired you are of the Borderlands formula. Enemy types also tend to stay the same, such as Cyclops in his entry being comparable to enemies from Borderlands 2 known as Goliath. Cyclops in this title literally have the same A.I. and move set as Goliath, nearly one hundred percent, and it isn't the only one to do this either. While boss fights in this title are REALLY fun and can get your heart racing due to the amount of running and thinking you'll have to do, which is my personal highlight of the title(duh), the overall smaller enemies that pop up throughout, are re-skinned versions of baddies you've already encountered in past borderlands games. Different name, but same exact playstyle... and that's just a tad bit disheartening. But hey at least there's a giant river of orange soda on the main tabletop map, so that's a win right? well, at least it would be for Kel from Kenan and Kel. He LOVES orange soda.
Sounds decent right? oh it is for sure. Gun play and testing all your abilities out on baddies through each of the main missions large hub areas is actually a blast, even when getting bamboozled by a large chest Mimic like in Dark Souls, that makes you scream when it surprises you, is actually really funny. I mean I was calm of course, but you'll scream I bet. But awesome Coral underwater areas and butt unicorns aside, much like the enemy variety, the game isn't without its overall issues. For example side missions on the world map or even random encounters can feel like a bit of a chore due to the small claustrophobic arena you're put in. Once you're put in a arena, you're given the task to fill up a kill meter, earn loot and use a portal to move onto the next area. Yup, that's literally it. Its basically a small horde mode that even rears its head at the end game content as well. You want to do this super cool quest that has a lot of meaning and world implications for your actions by every decision you make? nah its cool, do this repetitive horde mode a couple dozen times instead. I know I'm complaining quite a bit, but its more so in critique to the lack of creativity of the small arenas and recycled enemies, not the game play itself, because like I said, this games utilization of guns, abilities and spells and combining them all together, is absolutely superb and quite addicting, so you might not even find my gripes tedious to begin with. Its definitely not as bad as the mundane nature of Tiny Tina One Shot Adventure DLC that drags on, I'll say that much. Plus this title has House Shark, I mean Moby Dick shark, so it cant be all that bad, right?
At the end of the day with your 20 hour long playthrough of Wonderlands, you do come out of it having a great time, especially with the goofy and whacky nature of Tina and her crew - but as I stated before, its not without its issues. With story not feeling as robust as it should, with no real twists and turns that move it forward in a way other than ''OMG main baddie get him!'', horde mode side quests and missions feeling a tad bit tedious like its a game of timeout due to having to kill a set amount of enemies before being able to leave, enemy re-skins of both their look and the way the A.I. acts with the way they animate and move.. they all give you a case of a Debbie Downer. However, with the actual solid game play that has you mowing down enemies with stronger weapons and powers, absurd humor from the main cast and even the villain himself inserting his quips into the story for some good laughs, larger hub areas that are awesome to explore and discover, creative tabletop map that allows you to find your way around in an almost puzzle like fashion, end game activity of Chaos Chamber which puts you in combat encounters that become roguelike, Myth Ranks that gives precedence to you to super over level your character to unlock unique buffs that allow you to fully customize yourself even more for end game solo or with friends and a feeling of overall satisfaction of getting stronger and overcoming a difficult boss. All of those at the end of the day do truly outweigh the negatives overall. To me, while Borderlands 1 and 2 may be the better titles, I feel this game has surpassed my enjoyment I had with Borderlands 3 and because of that, I feel this is a title that any fan of Borderlands, new or old, should jump on for at least one go around. I do not feel you'll be disappointed. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW