Even after testing for several days, we didn’t need to plug this in for charging.
HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless's Amazing 300-Hour Battery Life
The Roccat Kone XP looks like something from the future, or at least a vision of it as depicted in any number of cyberpunk-inspired cityscapes.
Roccat Kone XP Gaming Mouse is RGB Heaven
We sit down with Zenimax Online Studios to discuss The Elder Scrolls Online’s latest year-long adventure, adding a competitive card game to the MMO, and more…
The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Interview
Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands - Hands-On with the Borderlands Spin-Off
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:05am 01/03/22 | Comments
We go hands-on with the standalone Borderlands spin-off that’s all about guns, dice, dragons, and spells.


When Borderlands 3 made its long-awaited debut back in 2019 we couldn’t help but feel that being a sequel that played almost exactly the same as the second instalment was a bit of a letdown. Borderlands 2 was a loot-filled first-person shooter released at a time before the likes of Destiny and other games with very similar action-RPG mechanics. In fact, releasing in 2012 also means that B2 pre-dates the action-RPG blueprint that is Diablo III’s Reaper of Souls expansion.

Expectations met or unmet aside, since its initial launch we’ve come around to the somewhat archaic structure of Borderlands 3. A style of game where instead of an actual endgame baked into the core design supporting continuous play, your only real option was to roll a new character or wait for the next bit of story DLC to drop.


On that front we got a decent batch of DLC expansions for Borderlands 3. Stuff that felt every bit as in-depth and rewarding as what we got for Borderlands 2; with the Western-themed Bounty of Blood expansion being a noteworthy standout. Where the main campaign fell short in the narrative department (and the comedy department) these little expansions picked up the slack. So much so that in its current complete state, Borderlands 3 is well worth diving into if you haven’t yet checked it out.


Expectations met or unmet aside, since its initial launch we’ve come around to the somewhat archaic structure of Borderlands 3.



Of course you can simply hold off until the release of Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, because from what we can tell so far it’s a standalone full-sized Borderlands 3 spin-off that plays almost exactly the same as the Borderlands 3.

Which itself, played like the second game. At least that’s the feeling we got after checking out one of the game’s locations in full -- the Goblin home of Mount Craw. And it’s here where the standalone branching linear level-design of Borderlands shines through, with a main story and a bunch of side-quests dealing with the aforementioned Goblins, a worker uprising and an oppressive dragon to tend with.



If you’re familiar at all with the combat flow of Borderlands 3, or even the UI, then Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands won’t offer any real surprise out of the gate. But, creating a new class-based hero that suits the setting and then embarking on a twisted adventure in a world where goblins and dragons are very much real does add a dose of the new. A fresh coat of paint, albeit painted over an existing paint job of a similar colour.

So yeah, what we got to play wasn’t exactly new in the sense of ‘this is all stuff we haven’t seen before’. Even the premise is an expansion of the fantasy-themed Borderlands 2 expansion we got back in the day. That said, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands does lean into the RPG side of things in a way that we haven’t seen in Borderlands before. And being a standalone expansion definitely helps. As does presenting a genuinely funny and engaging take on fantasy-RPG tropes, from classic Dungeons & Dragons through to orcs and goblins and wizards with pointy beards and even pointier wands.


Even with its nesting-egg-like familiarity to previous Borderlands titles, Tiny Tina’s is a lot of fun thanks to its tabletop meets high-fantasy RPG setting, which is the hot thing in pop culture now too. Where classic over-the-top Borderlands-guns meet two-handed axes, magical wands, multi-sided dice to find and magical rings that offer up a percentage or two to increase to your Critical Hit Chance.


A genuinely funny and engaging take on fantasy-RPG tropes, from classic Dungeons & Dragons through to orcs and goblins and wizards with pointy beards and even pointier wands.



The fantasy setting also adds a deeper sense of customisation to character creation and progression. Where in addition to spending skill-points in a very Borderlands 3-like skill tree for one of the playable classes, you’ve also got Hero Points to distribute into base stats that add a dose of the pen-and-paper by buffing things like cooldown reductions, hit-points, movement speed, among much more.


For the preview build we got to check out the The Graveborn and Stabbomancer classes, which were distinct in how they build off of classic fantasy tropes (spellcaster and assassin, respectively) but also a little underwhelming in action. It felt like we needed to see them in their high-level versions to get a full picture of just how impactful spells and skills and abilities are over things like a Borderlands gun with good stats. We didn’t really find many items that buffed abilities in any sort of drastic, build-defining way.

Guns were a different story. With all of the coloured loot we saw drop in our time with Tiny Tina’s the guns were very much in the style of Borderlands 3 but reimagined in fantasy-RPG form – and that’s awesome. Admittedly the gun-game was B3’s strongest aspect.

And by that token the only sequence of stats we needed to take note of here.


But, with the likes of rings to equip and skill-defining builds taking a few levels to pay off, the progression of guns-first skills-later is perfectly fine if that slowly builds towards a better mix of the two. Which we’re hoping it does in the complete version of the game – where we’ll see the full breadth of the overworld and all of the other zones and other locations to explore.


With all of the coloured loot we saw drop in our time with Tiny Tina’s the guns were very much in the style of Borderlands 3 but reimagined in fantasy-RPG form – and that’s awesome.



And even though there are numerous elements from Borderlands 3 to discover, the way that they’re reinterpreted is often amusing and clever in the setting of an in-universe fantasy tale. In fact, the whole Goblin subplot is quite funny and exploring caves and mountains and villages with that old-timey fantasy feel is probably what the Borderlands universe needs right now. And depending on how Tiny Tina’s tale pans out and how in-depth the campaign is, this could eclipse Borderlands 3 in the official ranking of the Borderlands games list we keep in our heads.

Plus, the idea of more Borderlands-style co-op is never a bad thing -- especially when that’s exactly what this is.

Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is out March 25 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S