Borderlands has previously used DLC packs to explore complex emotional themes and the latest Borderlands 3 DLC — Guns, Love & Tentacles — continues in this vein. Following on from Wainright Jakobs and Alistair Hammerlock’s engagement in Borderlands 3’s campaign, Guns Love & Tentacles tells the story of their destination wedding. Because this is Borderlands and because Hammerlock and Wainright are unique individuals (to say the least), the wedding takes place on the ice-cold and (potentially) haunted planet, Xylourgos.
What follows is a story of love lost and love found. The DLC dives deeply into the notion of pre-wedding anxiety, the worries of being partnered with somebody for the rest of your life and the idea that true love can trump everything else.
Set against heavily Lovecraftian-inspired Xylourgos backdrop, Guns, Love & Tentacles is an example of the exemplary storytelling talent at Gearbox.
Guns, Love & Tentacles Review
I don’t want to delve into the narrative too much. On the surface, it’s a simple rescue mission involving a cult, supernatural powers and a dead, frozen monster. After a mishap involving the cult, Jakobs is infected with an unwanted spirit named Vincent who uses his body in order to reunite with his love; Eleanor.
Jakobs and Hammerlock’s story runs parallel to Eleanor and Vincent’s. They’re both willing to do anything to get the ones they love back, but while Eleanor is focused only on Vincent, Hammerlock ha s other things on his mind. Elenor and Vincent have been bonded for, what seems like, an eternity.
Their ‘love’ has been tested time and time again. Each time, Eleanor and Vincent have used others to continue their romance at the expense of those others and everything else. So sure are they of their bond that they’ll stop at nothing.
Hammerlock isn’t so sure. At least, not at first. He admits that he loves Jakobs, but isn’t sure that they’re meant for each other. They’re very different people, have different interests and might not be as perfect a pair as he once thought.
And that’s the crux of the DLC. As you play through missions, meet characters and discover the truth about Xylourgos and its inhabitants, Hammerlock is able to get clarity on his feelings and his relationship with Jakobs.
Xylourgos and its inhabitants are wonderfully weird, whacky and dripping in Eldritch style. One of the main areas in the DLC is a town named Cursehaven, which is inhabited by a number of cursed NPCs with dripping black tears, while the Lodge (the surrogate Sanctuary) hosts the wonderfully macabre Mancubus Bloodtooth.
Purple is the colour of choice for this DLC, punctuated by bright greens and muted primary colours. It gives Guns, Love & Tentacles an otherworldly look, even more so than usual.
Other great artistic touches are the abundance of tentacles and visual references to cephalopods just about everywhere you look. Of particular note are the new enemies; the Bonded.
The Bonded are Guns, Love & Tentacles’ cult, worshippers of the dead monster Gythian, and all-around weirdos. They come in a number of flavours, mostly riffs on the existing Bandit set of enemies, but different enough that they’re exciting and spooky too. The smaller, flying enemies can cause real problems as they boost the damage and health of other units or raise the dead to create undead suicide bombers.
Sadly, there’s no new elemental damage involving ‘sanity’ but some enemies can cast a black, ooze attack which drains your health to heal them. It’s just the right kind of creepy.
Guns, Love & Tentacles is a full-featured DLC pack. Completing the campaign and side missions will run you about 6-8 hours and you’ll earn some awesome weapons along the way. In addition to the Bonded, you’ll be fighting new monsters, a new type of Bandit group and some tough bosses.
My only real complaint with Guns, Love & Tentacles is about the boss fights. The majority of them are fine. Hard enough without feeling punishing and interesting enough to not be boring. However, there are at least two which felt nigh on impossible and which I only succeeded by playing ultra conservatively, which just feels wrong.
The final boss fight was also disappointingly easy, though that may have been because of the amazing arsenal I was packing after completing everything else the DLC had to offer.
I reviewed Guns, Love and Tentacles on PC and as a PS4 player normally, I had to start a new character and jumped straight into the DLC. This isn’t likely to be an issue for most other players, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The difficulty of the DLC starts out higher than the vanilla campaign, so diving straight in, isn’t recommended.
I played through Guns, Love & Tentacles as Zane and his interactions throughout the DLC were consistently funny. I’d love to play through again as all four Vault Hunters to see how the flavour changes and to see them interact with the happy couple and Gaige.
Returning to the series after a long absence, Gaige isn’t playable, but you do get to fight alongside her and Deathtrap and that’s a highlight. Her contribution to the DLC as wedding planner makes her your main mission giver and her charm and flair bring the right kind of levity to the gloomy environment and heavy themes.
Special mentions have to go to Mancubus Bloodtooth and Claptrap for providing plenty of joy throughout the story too. Claptrap is his usual over-the-top, ridiculous self and Bloodtooth is just so weird.
Overall, Guns, Love & Tentacles is a fantastic addition to Borderlands 3 with a meaty and lengthy campaign, some weighty narrative substance, incredible new Legendaries and, of course, impeccable gunplay.
It’s easy to call Guns, Love & Tentacles a must-play because it is.
Guns, Love & Tentacles was reviewed on PC using a Steam code provided by 2K.
Game Title: Guns, Love & Tentacles