I was ready to close the chapter on the “Borderlands” universe. To me, “Borderlands 2” as an experience was unbeatable in its era – it had both story, funnies and the gameplay to keep you hooked.
Sure, the endgame loop was a “bit” grindy, but in a gaming industry where replayability remains the biggest issue for many games, it wasn’t a big concern.
Anyways, let’s jump straight into “Borderlands 3” shall we? Well, the ads were bombastic, the expectations were high. There was simply no way it could catch the coattails of its predecessor. The other games just had too much material.
Throughout BL3, the narrative and many side missions deferred to these references, and wonderfully, rightfully so – fans of the “Borderlands” universe were respected and rewarded for their loyalty for much of the game.
For comparison’s sake, let’s recall another trilogy: “Mass Effect”. Personally, the three ME games were amazing, story-driven experiences that eventually become a satisfying full stop to over 5 years of memories and anticipation.
I say eventually because it took the Extended Cut to assuage the biggest complaint about the ending of “Mass Effect 3”.
Well, I think you get the idea. So, as I was saying. “Borderlands 3” doesn’t even try to add onto the previous material. It’s an entirely new universe (except for the tiresome references to Vaults) and most of the story is driven by pop culture references and anti-streamer humor.
The game’s antagonists take their primary role – to antagonize – a little bit too seriously, and they’re honestly annoying more than anything.
They’re supposed to be anarchists. Chaos and disorder exemplified. Except not really. They way they’re written, they’re more like annoyance exemplified.
They swoop in magically at the worst moments, “win”, and disappear. You’re not going to enjoy this fact, but you’ll have to get used to it to get through the story.
When the story fails, we default to how fun the game is. The game is really fun, which is its saving grace. Collecting things is fun, killing things is fun, but looting is really the tedious part.
You see, there is no button to loot as trash, upgrading your inventory space is a grind, and you quickly learn that picking up trash items is a waste of time (it’s similar to Diablo 3’s initial loot system).
Furthermore, the white items are unfun – BL3 really should have taken a leaf out of Diablo 3’s book and removed them from the game.
I would say that you learn quickly enough that you have to filter the loot yourself, and that killing big enemies is the way to go to get better loot.
However, don’t expect too much out of chests…Because they often disappoint. Boss monsters, unique mobs are the best way to get better equipment, and the variety of equipment available means you’ll be grinding for hours if you want to become a killing machine.
Fear not though! Because the good thing is that you’ll be gunning down enemies and looting them willingly well into the game because it’s fun enough.
As for the combat aspect of BL3, Well…The combat can be a little cluttered and cumbersome with the amount of effect exploding all around you, but it clears up just as quickly once you get the hang of it.
I’m sure further down the line there’ll be a more imbalanced DLC method to get legendary loot faster, but for now, the gunplay and rewards generate enough fun to keep you going.
In a world where “easy mode” is a vulgarity, I’m glad that BL3 has enough options to make the game less demanding. Auto-aim when you scope in, lowered crosshairs for more view space and toggleable hotkeys (crouch, sprint, aim) are a godsend.
Why? Because I want to have fun, not wrangle a control scheme just to put bullets into a virtual human’s head. For one, I’m glad that there are options to put less demand on you having to aim accurately to deal damage.
It’s also worth pointing out that there aren’t any difficulty options to be found in BL3– it just gets harder post-ending rather than during the campaign.
Furthermore, you never truly finish learning BL3’s features until the game is almost done, and that’s part of making the game digestible for more people to play.
“Borderlands 3” is fun enough – but don’t play it for the story or the characters. It’s disappointing and annoying if you put the emphasis on those things.
Simply put, play BL3 for the fact you’re going to be shooting, burning, irradiating, nuking, teleporting, looting, punching, driving over and screaming at hundreds of enemies.
That’s just the half of it though, because there are tons of accessibility options to make the gameplay less tedious and thus more fun (you can check out their accessibility screen even if you don’t need to!).
So all in all, I think that Gearbox has managed to create a really good and fun game with “Borderlands 3”. So if you enjoyed the previous games in the “Borderlands” series, then you’re going to have a blast with part III for sure.
+ Loot and gameplay loop is one of the best designed this year.
+ Low time demand to complete the storyline.
+ Amazing soundtrack and sound design.
+ Tons of content incoming.
+ Great accessibility options.
+ Gameplay is extremely focused
+ Very few gameplay bugs, if any.
– Villans are more annoying than villainous.
– The narrative is weaker than Borderlands 2.
– Game runs poorly on older systems.
– Menus are not optimized and break up the game’s pacing.
– Weak character development across the board.
– Map system too simplistic for multi-level areas.
Sound and music: 5/5
Replay value: 5/5
“Borderlands 3” is undoubtedly a fun game – expect to sink at least 60 hours into it trying to pimp out your character or playing through the game with each unique character class.
While the overall narrative is weak, an abundance of great side-mission which pays homage to the previous titles and Borderland 3’s refined gameplay mechanics make up for it as a primary motivator to keep playing.
You’ll be playing this game for its loot, secrets and funny moments that tickle your nostalgia. For a triple-A price of $60, the gameplay is polished enough for you to get value for what you pay for with Borderlands 3.
Title: Borderlands 3
Developer: Gearbox Software
Genre: Action role-playing FPS
Resolution: Highest possible for PC
Release date: 2019-09-13
Spent time: +60 hours
Average grade internationally: 79,43% via Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 18+
Price: 59.99 Euros via the Epic Games store
Robin Ek – Editor
The product was provided by Gearbox Software.
The Gaming Ground
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