Gallerypost | 2022.12.03

Elden Ring Haligtree buttresses view
Elden Ring

Elden Ring couch coop media room

J came out to play games and try local brews. It's been a long time since we'd done couch co-op.

Elden Ring Melina forge of the giants fire

We'd probably score a 3/10 on a plot quiz. As such, we both stumbled into the burn ending. In retrospect burning down the pretty gold tree doesn't really seem like a bro move, but the glowing ashes are lovely.

Around the horn:
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thumbnail Elden Ring mage tower turtle cliff ghost
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thumbnail Elden Ring Fire Giant boss battle
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Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

Tiny Tina Wonderlands

We switched it up with some Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. Wonderlands is Gearbox's Borderlands 3.5 and spiritual follow-on to its epic Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep so we had pretty high expectations.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands ocean volcano

If there's any doubt, Wonderlands is a reskin of Borderlands. Guns with bowstrings and pullies, spells (grenades), and fantasy-themed special abilities - it's the same (successful) format with DnD flavor.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands Torgue

Mr. Torgue was largely MIA in Borderlands 3. After his critical role in TTAoDK ("TINA! PUT ME IN THE GAME!"), it was nice to see him back. While the writers didn't get very creative with his character*, one of TTAoDK's Torgueisms served as a brilliant central plot point in this story.

* Examples:
Tiny Tina Wonderlands Butt Stallion

Yes, Gearbox does like to take minute details or dialogues and blow them up, so to speak.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands skill trees Spore Warden Brr-zerker

The core of the Borderlands franchise is strong shooter mechanics employing a vast ocean of gun combinations. But it's the RPG-style skill trees that make Borderlands more than Halo with a gun RNG. Wonderlands introduces a slight evolution to the Borderlands skill tree system by offering each character a second class, e.g. I have a Spore Warden/Brr-Zerker.

The potential for minmax combinations is appealing, but we haven't tinkered (or leveled or looted) enough to really take advantage.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands overworld

Wonderlands is a Borderlands universe tabletop game called Bunkers and Badasses, so there are some new mechanics. Parts of the game are connected via a Final Fantasly-like overworld. The overworld is populated with area transitions and encounters, five-ish minute arena battles of varying difficulty.

Tiny Tina Wonderlands Fearamid

We got to the final boss (voiced by Will Arnett) a lot quicker than we thought. BL2's main quest was pretty long, BL3's was even longer. This one felt more like a DLC in length and we never found ourselves needing to power level to hit the next main quest.

From the perspective of classic Borderlands play where you need to run through the main story to unlock True Vault Hunter Mode and then again for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, having a shorter critical path is enticing. But Wonderlands doesn't have any New Game+, the endgame is a roguelike mode.

There's no dearth of sidequests and it's nice to have an experience that isn't as hefty as BL2/BL3, but leveling/tinkering/minmaxing seems less enticing when the only remaining challenge is another roguelike run.

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