Name: Borderlands 3
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Like I mentioned in my review of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, I bought the entire Borderlands series to catch up to the release of Borderlands 3. Unfortunately, I simply didn’t have the time to play through three games (BL, BL2 and BL Pre-Sequel) before release so there might be a lot I have missed preparing for Borderlands 3. I’m not gonna lie, that it might be a mistake. Because honestly, it will be frickin hard to go back to those after playing Borderlands 3.
Side Note: This could easily be started as a rant but the situation changed, It wouldn’t have affected the score of the game but rather my view on the platform it was released on PC.
Launch day: Playing a lot really enjoying the game on my laptop since I’m not home, usually I always check if the games I start to play on my laptop have any online save feature so I don’t have to start over when I want to play on my desktop. But since the other Borderlands games had that feature I thought it wouldn’t be a problem.
Next day: excited to finally continue playing on my desktop to really see what this game offer, starts up the game, but wait, whaat? Start a new game? But, but I have played for 8 hours where is my progress? Ahhhh fine… I just as well have to retrieve my save file from the laptop, and transfer it over. 20 minutes later I’m right back on track continuing the fun.
Day 3: Launches the game, update well that might not come as a surprise, clicks on settings to see how much I have played and wouldn’t you know they have now added “Cloud Save” just my luck.
Now let’s get back to the review
The story takes place sometime after the fall of Handsome Jack and Hyperion Corporation, it’s discovered that there are vaults scattered around the universe. The Calypso twins Troy and Tyreen have gathered factions of bandits and created the cult “Children of the Vault” to gather all the Vault keys to get them all. Meanwhile, Lillith one of the original Vault Hunters is now the leader of Crimson Raiders and recruits a new generation of Vault Hunters to help protect the vaults from the Calypso twins. You soon learn that Troy and Tyreen is a serious threat both being sirens, with special powers that make them dangerous. It starts as a race to find the key fragments to be the first to find them, but at every destination, they will show up to make it miserable to be a vault hunter. Through the story, many characters from previous games will show up to aid you, or simply ask favors. Everyone will have to cooperate to make sure that Calypso twins do not gather enough power to take over the galaxy. Speaking of the twins, they are simply well made. They could easily be the spawn of Vaas from the Far Cry series, with their wit and cynical personalities. Often taking the mainstage broadcasting videos from afar like tv hosts with questionable content. But, hey who says that beating someone to death isn’t good tv right. The pacing of the story is well made, and it really makes you feel like their last hope to succeed but of course, we get the job done. Side missions bring just as much story as the main quest, and at times it was hard to know the difference. It is also so simple to switch between a mission with just a click on a button, and also it wasn’t often you felt the need to grind to be able to complete missions so the pacing is really smooth.
You might ask yourself must I have been playing the previous games to enjoy this short answer NO. But you will definitely get the most out of the story and it’s characters if you are familiar with the lore, and with all the references and easter eggs that are scattered through.
Borderlands 3 actually changes a bit with its art style this time, it still looks like Borderlands but more like a well-polished cartoon cell shade. You will revisit many of the same places you have seen before but with a more polished and well-detailed upgrade. It looks crisper and is really pleasing to look at. Colors are more vibrant, and everything is just so smooth and once more they have made something that simply will age well with time. Every location brings something different to how it looks, with many of them clearly inspired by cultures we know with an alien twist of course. It still looks and feels like Borderlands, just the way we like it but obviously better. However, the character models might not look as much of an upgrade as you would think but aren’t as noticeable before they speak. By themselves they look great no doubt, faces look sharp with a great deal of detail that fits overall but lack emotions in their face.
Borderlands 3 contains very much the same type of gameplay as its predecessors, it is a looter-shooter. It might not be one of the first, but truly the one series that really defined the genre. The advertisement they used is “A BILLION GUNS!!” and they weren’t kidding, there are so many different combinations of weapons that I even think they don’t have a count on them. It’s fantastic for those that like variations, but for me, it triggered separation anxiety. In the beginning, I behaved like a child that has been told by their parents that they can have whatever candy they want in a candy store. But after a while, I found weapons I really loved to use that made it hard to let them go when they are too low powered. And you can bet it gets difficult to choose which you want to keep or pass when you are constantly finding new weapons but your backpack is full. Speaking of guns OMG they feel good, they have massively upgraded the gunplay. As mentioned earlier it isn’t a long time since I first experienced Borderlands, and one of the first things I noticed then was that accuracy and in many situations, the sights haven’t aged well. You just didn’t get the feeling you hit, and it felt like it lacked punch. But now, Borderlands 3 is just amazing, I loved how the guns behaved from the beginning. It got that satisfying punch that guns need and when critical is sprayed all over.
Also, the vault hunters have seen some changes, instead of one special attack they have 3 EACH. As always you can choose between four new characters.
Moze as THE GUNNER: When Moze needs backup, she ‘digistructs’ her mech – Iron Bear – for a sucker punch of additional firepower.
Amara as THE SIREN: A confident, capable brawler with the ability to summon ethereal fists, Amara uses her Siren powers to smash her enemies.
FL4K as THE BEASTMASTER: FL4K lives for the hunt. So do the loyal beasts that follow their master’s every command. Their preferred prey? Unsuspecting bandits.
Zane as THE OPERATIVE: Specializing in battlefield gadgetry, Zane is extremely proficient at slipping into combat, creating chaos, and sneaking back out as if he was never there.
As always they change massively how you play, or rather how they suit your play style. But it is from here you see how the coop part fits in, and how the different characters fill each other’s void. It makes every player unique and brings something to the table, which strengthens the experience. There is absolutely possible to play alone by all means, but you will be warned that it amps up the difficulty substantially.
Playing together has never been easier, with the level sync feature. How that works is that the game gets scaled to your level. If your friend has just started to play, he can join you with no issues. Because the enemies will scale down to his level, while they maintain their original level for you. What we experienced when three of my friends joined me, in my 20 hours or so into the game is that it will be a challenge no doubt. But it was so easy for us to join in on each other and jump out when we didn’t want to play anymore.
Borderlands 3 has also made some big improvements in the movement, feeling more fluent than before. Being able to vault makes the climbing way easier, and the crouch slide makes you a fast killing machine. And thank god you can change the driving layout, it was something I couldn’t get used to. So when changed to accelerate and brake to triggers, it was smooth sailing from there. Overall it controls tight and responsive, and as mentioned earlier with the weapons how good they control now. In the end, I stuck with using a controller, which I felt was the most precise way to play, but keyboard and mouse obviously work great. But some of the button layouts took some time to get used to.
I think it’s fair to say that you can easily spend hours in this game, with one character alone, leveling up completing the story as well as all the side quests. Find better and bigger guns, collecting well not all since that would be impossible but a fair amount of them. Throw in the new game plus mode that ups the difficulty, but also unlock challenges to get points to spend on your character like badass rank in the previous games. Borderlands 3 is packed with Challenge Content, the endlessly replayable Proving Grounds and added difficulty (and rewards) of Mayhem Mode. The coop part can bring hours for you to spend time with your friend to help progress or just have some good old plain fun together. Also when “finished” you still have three more characters to play with.
Story - 9/10
Graphics - 9/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Controls - 8/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Borderlands 3 shows that it still got what it takes to be one of the best, while much of it is really familiar for old fans. You don’t change the things that already work, just add more fun. It is a blast to play and will bring me and my friend together for a long time. As I said earlier it will be difficult to play the earlier games after spending time with Borderlands 3.
- Great gameplay
- Huge variation in guns
- Huge improvements from previous games
- Difficulty spikes
- Ehhh… too many guns?