Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is finally here, and I’m pleased to say that I’m absolutely loving it so far.
Actually, love may not even be the right word, but I think “astounded” is as close as we’ll get for now. Lemme explain.
First and foremost, we’re not on the Gearbox press list, and I did not get a review code for this game. As a matter of fact, I have no fucking clue how to even get on it. This isn’t your pappy’s money slid-over-the-table rush-out-some-impressions-on-launch day hose job. No sir, this is a lunchpail, meat and potatoes, working man’s impression blog by somebody who paid sixty bucks like everybody else for some AAA entertainment. What you’re about to read is me shooting from the hip after playing the game in between meetings and after work for a few cumulative hours today. I just forced myself to peel away from the game for a little bit so my little brother can catch up and we can dive into co-op later, but until then – let’s talk about what I’ve seen so far.
(If you don’t know what Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is, I simply do not have enough brain cells to spare today to explain it to you – instead, watch this trailer.)
First and foremost, Wonderlands is a love letter to all the most genuine, absurd, and genuinely absurd aspects of tabletop roleplaying games. Anybody can make a game that calls itself a lOvE lEtTeR tO dUnGeonS & dRagOns, but Wonderlands fucking nails it. Tiny Tina is your DM (or “BM”, as the in-game version is called Bunkers & Badasses), and improvises as you progress through the game’s story, overworld, and set pieces to constantly throw new stuff at your player.
From the beginning, you start as a literally unpainted miniature with zero features, no nothing. You’re urged by Wanda Sykes’ “Frette” and Andy Samberg’s “Valentine” to actually roll a character, and boom you’re thrust into a character creation sequence that takes cues (both visual and mechanical) from a traditional D&D character sheet.
The combat is absolutely what you’d expect. Having put a ton of hours into Destiny 2 lately, I completely forgot how much more stiff Borderlands’ gunplay is (but then again, anything compared to Destiny is in my opinion), but the insane variety of weapons I’ve looted in the first 2-3 hours of the game made me forget all about that in no time. Instead of grenades, you’ve got spells. Instead of shields, you have magical wards. Your melee weapon absolutely comes out to play all the time, and combat has never felt more fresh and varied. Some of the game’s introductory set pieces did seem to drone on a bit long at first, but then Tiny Tina herself literally pops out of thin air to drop dozens of battleships, skeletons, and trolls on you just to mix things up.
I haven’t laughed out loud playing a video game in… God I have no idea how long. You don’t need to know D&D at all to enjoy Wonderlands, but if you do, you’re in for a massive treat. The voice cast is great, the combat is super fun, and the settings are absolutely beautiful.
I can’t wait to play more Wonderlands this weekend, and if you’re still reading this – get the fuck outta here and go download it yourself to see what I’m talking about.
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