Borderlands 2 – Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep Preview


Back at the beginning of this month I was invited down to London to see a new piece of story DLC for Borderlands 2. I wasn’t told the name of the DLC, nor given any clue what to expect and honestly I went in expecting more of what Borderlands has always offered us, excuses to blow up lots of robots. What I saw was Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, one of the most ambitious concepts for a piece of DLC I’ve ever come across. Set within Bunkers and Badasses, a Dungeons and Dragons style RPG module, it follows the story of Bunker Master (read: DM) Tiny Tina, as she leads Brick, Mordecai and Lilith through a fantasy realm, manipulating the world at the drop of a hat based on her narration of the story and dealing with many of her personal hangups along the way.

BL2 (Forest of trees eating you alive)I saw several examples throughout my time with the DLC where part of the world is shaped not by what is important to the story, but rather by Tina’s inexperience as a DM. She clearly has a lot of enthusiasm for creating a story and a world, but at times she forgets to do the simple things that you need to do to keep a tabletop RPG running. These range from a NPC who isn’t where they’re meant to be because Tina forgot to put to put the character piece onto the board, to an un-winnable boss fight started because Tina didn’t set up a good level curve. Tina clearly has some things to learn as a DM, and that has an effect on the world around the player in interesting ways. The world might pause while Tina takes a phone call, objectives may change and at one point an area called “The Forest of Tranquillity” was renamed “The Forest of Being Eaten Alive by Trees” just because it seemed a more interesting name for an area, warping the landscape and, as you may have guessed, the trees in front of my eyes.

One of the most interesting aspects of the DLC that I was able to experience first hand is Tina’s abject denial that many of her friends died in the finale of Borderlands 2’s main story, in particular her issues with accepting Roland’s death. From her actions sat around the B&B table prior to the game’s start where she insists they wait for Roland before beginning their game (and has to be coaxed to start the campaign by the others), to a quest she instigates to find “The White Knight” before they can progress any further (a clear suggestion that the story is on hold until Roland arrives), we see the seeds being sown for what will hopefully be a spectacular breakdown of the world instigated by her insistence that Roland is still alive. The possibilities for linking this into Tina’s ability to shape the world around the player could play into this in interesting ways, allowing her to do whatever she feels necessary to keep up her blinders and ignore the fact that Roland isn’t going to be joining her.

The DLC has a tremendous sense of humour to it. From the starting location of “The Docks of Potentially Little Importance” to the way that the group interact with each other around the table, fighting over the best roles in the story and talking about the game as it happens, the writing is of a superb standard and the main driving force behind the DLC. This is an opportunity to see the characters of Borderlands 2 in a much more relaxed setting; no world hanging in the balance, just able to have a laugh and enjoy themselves during battles as they explore the world. You’re even forced at one point to punch a drunk so hard he explodes as a quest, showing the characters are clearly not taking the game too seriously, which allows for much more humour to be injected into the formula than in the original campaign.

Personally I can’t wait to get my hands on the full DLC. The potential laid out for exploring Tiny Tina’s denial fill me with a sense that this may not just be an awesome D&D inspired piece of gameplay chock full of references, but even better, it may have some emotional depth to it. Tiny Tina’s reaction at the end of the main story to character deaths was one of the hardest things to watch and I have high hopes for the DLC’s ability to take that even further, whilst also giving us a wonderfully funny story to enjoy along the way.

Gearbox has confirmed that Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep will be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on June 25. It will be free for Season Pass holders, or $9.99 (800 Microsoft Points) to everyone else.  

Copyright © 2013 MCM BUZZ – Movies, TV, Comics, Gaming, Anime, Cosplay News & Reviews