Do you miss Firefly? Or do you itch for western-themed science fiction with a chonky dose of comedy? Released on June 25th, 2020 Gearbox’s Borderlands 3: Bounty of Blood DLC thematically shifts players to a planet named Gahenna for an open bounty in a lawless land. Welcome gunslinger, lets review.
How one derives fun from a product tends to be highly subjective. Therefore ALL forms of review are opinionated and should be taken with a grain of salt (this included). So let’s review Bounty of Blood through the lens of more objective metrics such as; graphical fidelity, characters/story, content/length, controls & gameplay, then finally, sound design & cinematics. This product was evaluated on a launch model PlayStation 4, for full transparency: using a purchased copy.
In similar fashion to previous DLCs, graphical styling remains largely the same, though includes new enemy models, environments, skins, etc. Welcome to Gehenna – a far less barren planet than Xylorgos. Now, everything still looks very Borderlands, for better or worse. Barrels have different models, and Bounty of Blood has a very rustic/green color palette due to the present “ruin”. Even Rose is designed thematically green. Generally speaking it all looks okay, but the environments feel less interesting than previous locations. Most areas look very “western” with canyons and massive rockfaces. While none of it is necessarily bad, I just didn’t find it as exciting as previous iterations.
At this point performance is as good as it gets for Borderlands 3, I never experienced any technical issues with the DLC. No crashes or problematic bugs, only the usual hardware limitations during co-op. It’s not always top-quality but it does the best it can with what it has. I’m sure these are non-issues on pro consoles & PC.
Characters & Story
If I’m honest (and I try to be) this is a mixed bag here. Some good, some bad, some mediocre. Introducing a fair-sized roster of characters to work with such: as Butcher Rose, Juno, Titus, and the Sheriff. Bounty of Blood is intriguing as it is predictable. I understand that a DLC story isn’t Shakespeare, but it can be. Conceptually there’s some interesting stuff here, and Butcher Rose has some great character design. That being said, Juno is far less enticing as a side character. Aside from being tough and gruff – yet honorable, she doesn’t have much personality and doesn’t quite offer enough to get invested in her plight. Titus is a dipass, and I feel that’s the point but The Sheriff was great (at least).
The plot is quite cookie-cutter, badguy does bad things to establish villainous intent & setting – player saves the day & everyone’s stoked on life. Call it a day. The truly disappointed part is that there was legitimate potential to elaborate on. As I noted previously, Bounty of Blood is conceptually sound; requiring only a further delve into it’s intricacies to truly grasp player attentiveness. It’s like the writers built a fascinating framework then got bored building on it. All that said, I think Rose (even though she falls flat at times) is the best Borderlands 3 villain besides Pretty Boy. She murders indifferently and loyalties are assets, the delivery just doesn’t quite land at times. More on that later though.
…can’t kick over a rock in this galaxy without findin’ some blood underneath. That said, this story’s bloodier than most. It’s about a town – little scrap-a barely anything holdin’ on for dear life on a rock named Gehenna. Good Folk…mostly. but where there’s law, there’s people lookin’ to break it. Devil Riders. Only law they followed was a decree of iron and lead.The Narrator
Content & Length
As per usual at this point with Borderlands DLC, new enemies are abundant on Gahenna. From raptor-like Devils to Outlaws, “Vultures” & Honchos, there’s also new variety in the form of abilities, such as ‘shadow’. Enemies will periodically phase in and out of existence forcing players to change tactics or targets. In addition, there’s the usual host of quests, a large variety of new weapons and different gear, and collectables. Vestige is a cute little hub town for players to anchor their journeys to, though nothing dramatically nicer than Sanctuary, or the lodge. There are also a small host of additional areas to explore similar to previous DLC’s, such as the Blastplains, Bloodsun Canyon, Ashfall Peaks, and so on. This content pack should last players an average of 8 hours, give or take 2.
Finally a new vehicle! The Jetbeast appropriately fits its environment, and I must give Gearbox credit for taking into consideration feedback from Guns, Love and Tentacles. (which sorely missed this perfect opportunity). Contrasting the point of new, (I will keep bringing this up) Borderlands 3 still doesn’t offer any new playable classes or modifications to current ones. This has been addressed in previous reviews so as to not beat a dead horse, let’s move on.
Simply put: it’s more. More quests, more enemies, more loot, more bosses, tacked onto a higher level cap.
Controls & Gameplay
Overall controls haven’t changed (unless you’ve changed them) and Borderlands plays as Borderlands should, and often does. Droprates seem more relaxed & dispersed than previous DLCs, so that’s an improvement. There were very few if no quality of life changes made – not that the core gameplay loop needs any tweaking, just keep providing quality content to the Borderlands repertoire.
Gameplay isn’t overly shaken up with this iteration, as no wild loot or abilities toss up the meta in any insane way such as cross-brand modifiers. There are jump pads sprinkled throughout Gahenna, although these aren’t anything new as they’ve been around since the Pre-Sequel. While that may not necessarily be new – teleporters sure are. This addition helps break up monotonous location travel, even though it’s application may not be the most practically savvy. Lastly, Gearbox has added green crystalline ‘coresploder’ shards used for penetrating barriers & gating areas. These integrate into the ‘ruin’ plot tied to this content pack.
Sound Design & Cinematics
What carried Bounty of Blood for me was the solid narrator. Bravo to Brandon Potter for an outstanding performance and bringing some much needed flavor to this DLC. That being said, the writing is quite hit and miss in this DLC. Quality ranges from qualitative and thoughtful analogy riddled dialogue, to basic – nearly elementary level content. Transformatively this resulted in occasional lackluster performances for Rose. Alternatively, while I don’t much like the written character of Juno I can appreciate the talented portrayal.
God damn, Gearbox knows how to make an introduction. Bounty of Blood has one of the most intriguing beginnings of any Borderlands DLC. Even by its standard, it sells itself as a bold tale that must be told – bar no expense. All while maintaining it’s trademark Borderlands character introductions.
When all is said and done, Bounty of Blood offers the core of what most Borderlands players want. Simply: more gameplay. It’s risk-free vanilla content that’ll be sure to scratch an itch, though it’s all nothing you haven’t seen before. 7.4/10 It’s thoroughly okay, nothing to write home about.
What did you think of Bounty of Blood? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this content, why not check out our Legally Addicted PC Review?
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A Western Themed Borderlands DLC
- Score - 7.4/107.4/10
+ Some Great Loot
+ More Content, Fair Amount
– Meh Characters
Just a Canadian dude who’s passionate about gaming, and the industry as a whole.