Originally posted on October 5, 2020
Quite the Fustercluck
After Bounty of Blood, developer Gearbox placed themselves in a peculiar situation. As one of the stronger DLC entries for Borderlands 3, the next one needed to impress. Not only did it have to follow Bounty of Blood, but it was the final scheduled piece of content for the game. Which is why, despite sounding promising, Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck is utterly disappointing. It is the weakest DLC offering for the game and doesn’t add much substance to an already loaded game.
In Search of Vaulthalla
As the name implies, this DLC is focused on returning character (albeit in a non-playable role) Krieg. Krieg, first introduced as a DLC character in Borderlands 2, is a psycho who works with the Crimson Raiders. Tannis believes there is a place that drives the psychos of Pandora called Vaulthalla. To investigate, she enlists the help of friendly psycho Kreig, and takes the vault hunter into the mind of Krieg in search of it.
What’s the most disappointing about Fustercluck is the potential it had within the idea of being inside the mind of a psycho. Besides a unique intro where a massive Krieg looms over you in a lush green field with a clear blue sky, Fustercluck looks like any other planet you visit during the game. The cement walls and metal structures are all here and there’s plenty of it.
The DLC does play with the idea of being inside someone’s memories, but it never fully realizes it. It’s mostly more of the same old Borderlands 3. For the most part, enemies will spawn materializing in and die in a goop of psychedelics, and while it’s a neat effect, it doesn’t add much to the motif. The most interesting level is one where a spectral train follows you throughout, popping in to try to hit you.
I wanted Fustercluck to commit more to the idea it had set for itself. A trip through the mind of someone should feel different than the levels which came before it, but it isn’t here. There’s some pretty colors here and there, but it doesn’t make up for the bland design of most of the levels in this DLC.
Nothing on the Side
Despite being roughly the same length as previous DLCs, clocking in around five hours, Fustercluck feels more barren than others. There’s five main missions, all of which feel more direct than previous ones. And the main issue is the numerous side quests which feel like blips, stopping you for about three minutes before you continue on your main objective. Previous DLCs had side quests which had their own area on the map, off to the side for you to explore. Fustercluck does have three of these (all of which you need to run back into the map to do instead of exploring the area immediately like before), but it’s instead filled with smaller moments between Kreig. They feel like busy work, despite being so short. It’s a weird inclusion, and I would have rather had larger side quests to flesh out a smaller story than these short anecdotes.
Sad Send Off
For the last year, Borderlands 3 has been my comfort food. A game in which I could turn my mind off, shoot, loot, and have fun. I would check in for five hours with each new DLC, and enjoy my snack. Even if the DLC wasn’t the best, I still enjoyed my time with it. Which is why Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck is such a disappointment. Despite my tolerance, Fustercluck can only be described as the mehest of the meh.It had potential, but it ended up being an uninteresting look at the bland mindscape of a psycho.
Even removing the context of the DLC and the previous ones, I cannot recommend Fustercluck. There are better DLCs for Borderlands 3 to spend your $15 on. Go play Bounty of Blood, go play Guns, Love, and Tentacles, or start another playthrough of the base game. There’s better Borderlands 3 out there and you should play that instead of spending your time and money with this disappointment of a DLC.