As a huge fan of both Dungeons & Dragons and the Borderlands series, I’ve been paying close attention to Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands ever since it was announced. There is simply so much potential for fantastic chaos when it comes to a marriage of these two ideas.
I recently got a sneak peek at what awaits in this fantasy Borderlands adventure via a hands-on preview, and so far, it feels like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is shaping up to be a natural 20.
In the demo, I got to try out two classes: the Graveborn and the Stabbomancer.
The Graveborn is your typical necromancer class, featuring plenty of abilities that channel the damage you deal into more health and attack power for your character. The Stabbomancer is a critical-hit-focused assassin who can summon magic whirling blades to the battlefield and disappear into the shadows at will.
As you’d expect, each class has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Graveborn is perfect for tanking damage due to its self-healing abilities but lacks anywhere near the powerful punch of The Stabbomancer. On the flip side, my assassin was obviously great at dealing out critical damage before disappearing but found itself in trouble when it did get caught as the sole focus of my enemy’s attacks.
Due to these class shortcomings, I definitely found myself in more than one situation where I was missing friends to support me via co-op, even on the normal difficulty. Boss fights like Vorcanar were especially brutal when attempting to complete them 1v1, as your character is the only one around to tank all the damage.
This difficulty didn’t bother me too much, though. In fact, constantly having to death-roll and fight for my life added to the intense ambiance of the situation, making my three hours with Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands feel like I was playing a unique DnD adventure.
The preview dropped me a few hours into the game and follows a plotline where your character must help the goblins of Mount Craw in a quest called “Goblins Tired of Forced Oppression.” It’s up to your character to help free the goblins by taking out the others that are oppressing them.
The quest features plenty of the usual Borderlands humor, as Ashly Burch, Andy Samberg, and Wanda Sykes provide hilarious commentary over what is happening in the game – aka their DnD campaign you are playing out. Eventually, your character is able to help free the goblins, allowing you to explore Mount Craw a bit and get a feel for the lay of the land.
It’s in this exploration that Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands started to open up, as the setting features plenty of secrets and points of interest to explore that result in a lot of great rewards. That includes timed puzzles, collectibles, and unique enemy encounters that give out amazing guns for completing them.
For the most part, I didn’t put too much time into the timed puzzles, as most of them were as simple as “get here in a specific timeframe,” feeling a bit too fetch-quest in design. I did enjoy how collectibles were handled in the game, though, as items like Golden Dice rewarded you for exploring with significant upgrades and better gun stats.
Even though there was a boatload of guns to play with in the preview, I stuck to the Nightshade assault rife and Hotshot of the Artisan shotgun for most of my playthrough. Nightshade is great at dealing AoE damage and restoring health via damage, while Artisan has an amazing perk of throwing a grenade upon reloading that did a lot of damage.
Despite all of the options that were at my disposal, I stuck with these two because they stood out, representing the zany and outrageous perks and benefits known to the Borderlands series. I don’t have any doubt that there will be thousands of other guns that will catch my eye when the full game releases, though, especially since the preview only had me exploring a few different quests in the same area.
Despite there only being a few quests, I was pleasantly surprised with how many different ways certain encounters could be approached. In typical DnD fashion, your character is able to try and use stats other than brute force to try and solve their problems.
For example, the Non Violent Offender quests tasks you with accomplishing your goal with as little violence as possible. So, I couldn’t say no when I was given the option to seduce an evil wizard. Unfortunately, I must have rolled pretty low, as I failed to gain his love, and had to chase him around and intimidate him to progress the quest.
Undeterred by this failure, I was able to succeed in seducing a goblin named Snacc during the next part of the quest and got the reward of getting through the gate without having to resort to violence. Oh, and he also fell in love with me and became my companion… until I broke his heart shortly thereafter by saying we were better off as friends.
After fighting through a few undead mobs with my fleeting love, I arrived at the destination to find the boss that was guarding my objective and was provided with three options: fight, seduce, or listen. I ended up going with the listen option, and he went on a massive monologue that made him so tired that he didn’t even want to fight, rewarding me with my objective for my patience.
This was just one of the many different ways Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands created an immersive DnD experience. Overall, it was a blast and really lived up to my high expectations. The only thing that I wish I could have tried out was co-op, as the Borderlands series has always been better with friends.
Thankfully, we won’t have to wait too long to get to experience this chaotic fantasy adventure together, as Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands arrives for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, and PS5 Mar. 25, 2022.