Ladies and Gents, Borderlands 3 is almost here. After getting a chance to play it I have to say that fans of the previous games won’t be let down with this title at all. Am I saying it’s new or revolutionary? Not necessarily, but at its very core, it’s a Borderlands game. Borderlands 3 is what I’ll happily describe as the ideal sequel. It didn’t take too long to come by and it wasn’t a huge disappointment. What’s even better was that in essence, it did remain a Borderlands game. Here’s my hot take on Borderlands 3, why should you care? You really shouldn’t, but you need reasons to buy the game right? Here I go!
To start off, Borderlands 3 takes every event in the past as canonical events and culminates it into the plot of this game. That’s right, even Tales from Borderlands is not only canon but also features characters from it in this game. I also love the way this game subtly references the past games through character connections. Zane, one of the four Vault hunters of this game, is actually Flynt’s brother. You guys remember Flynt right? The big angry yellow fuck who served as a boss fight in Borderlands 2. Yeah, Zane is that guy’s brother.
Other than that, we see returning characters from the previous games like Lilith, Mordecai, Maya, Axton and of course, my main man Zer0. I really wish there was an option to play as the badass assassin again but sadly there wasn’t. Still, that’s not to discredit the current vault hunters at all because they were pretty dope.
Locations, okay. Basically unlike previous Borderlands games (excluding Tales and the pre-sequel) this game doesn’t take place on just Pandora. In fact, you get to explore multiple planets. These planets aren’t just a change of location, but also of geography. We’ve got the nostalgic ice capped mountains as well as neon-lit futuristic highway cities as well. My personal favorite had to be Eden-6 I think it was called? Basically a lush forest locale that emphasized verticality in a way I can’t simply put into words. The world design was pretty cool and the unique enemies in every locale were also a great addition to the ambiance.
The visuals of the game retain the cell shaded design of the series in the past. However, it’s obviously much more refined and sharpened. I always loved the Borderlands aesthetic of looking like a comic book come to life. This game captures that effect better than its predecessors which I’m glad to see. I also adored how our characters looked with the passage of time. Maya was still hot as fuck and Zer0 still looked like an absolute badass.
One thing Gearbox really tried to sell us on was the writing of this game. Now I won’t lie, the writing of the game wasn’t bad. But, at the same time, it wasn’t really better than the previous ones either. Borderlands 2 set such a high standard with how they wrote the character of Handsome Jack. Handsome Jack is quite literally one of the best antagonists in gaming. It’s really hard to beat that but Borderlands 3 definitely did try its best.
The Calypso twins weren’t so bad. Their shtick of being these psychotic streamers was a bit of a jab though. It felt like the writers reaching out into the dark trying to appeal to modern humor. What it ended up being was an absolute annoyance, just like Screwball missions in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Other than that, the game had a buttload of poop jokes. And yes, while I made one just now, trust me, these jokes were really shitty. I think the main reason they stank so much was because of how overdone the joke was. The amount of poop jokes flowed out like diarrhea and left a really bad after effect. Other than that, the classic Borderlands humor definitely stuck around, though I found 2 funnier and wittier.
Now then, I’ve dwindled around enough, let’s talk about the gameplay shall we? Borderlands 3 is still obviously a looter shooter RPG. This means you’re focused on killing things and getting rewards. These rewards are then put into your character to upgrade the way the either look or fight. It’s a fun system that the series has used and it’s safe to say that Borderlands 3 definitely expanded on the idea.
I played as Fl4K, literally mainly because he’s voiced by a Youtuber I love. Anyways, Fl4k’s special trait was being the Beastmaster, meaning I had access to three robotic animal sidekicks. Each with their own unique way of helping me out, and their own upgrades. This wasn’t all what he had in the tree obviously. There was a close range build, a stealth built, a sharpshooter build, etc.
That’s another thing I really admired about Borderlands 3. The customization of your character’s abilities was pretty insane. Of course, the initial selection determines your class, but other than that, you really were free to make what you wanted.
That brings me to my next point, the multiplayer of this game. I’m happy to say that it was done really well. You and your mates can all be the same character yet still be very different, both visually and in abilities. The game also had a splitscreen option for 2 players, so I’m glad to see couch gaming being kept alive.
One system I really liked was how the game balanced its multiplayer. A persisting issue in RPGs is when you have a friend join the party late. This was problematic due to the level difference that would occur. This would basically force you to either make a new character or make one of you take a backseat while the other did everything.
Borderlands 3, on the other hand, does a type of balancing that circles around the average between the players involved. This calculated number affects both the enemies you fight and the loot you collect. Let’s say one player is level 10 and the other is 20. The enemies you get will always be leveled between these two numbers, only slightly varying above and below. The loot you get on the other hand, will be high level for the low level friend, and low tier for the high level friend. This helps to keep the game balanced so the powerhouse doesn’t get overpowered and the rookie doesn’t feel underwhelming. It’s a great system in my opinion and other RPGs could really take from it.
The guns are of course, the core of Borderlands 3. Not just 3, but the entire series. I mean guys, they’re literally the selling point. Borderlands 3 definitely did not disappoint in that regard. The combinations and abilities of the weapons you could get were insane. A thing that they added as a layer of gunplay was how you could customize every gun with a secondary attachment. I made an SMG that could fire micromissiles at every interval. Worked really well in crowd control and decimating tankier enemies.
Of course, the little bonus quirks the guns could have were just as funny as ever. You could be done with a magazine and drop your gun, which would promptly grow legs, run to your enemy, and explode. Fun shit honestly.
The impact and hit registration of bullets in the game also felt really good in comparison to previous ones. Borderlands has always had a slight issue with how the game can be paced sometimes. Borderlands 3 only slightly suffers from that issue but does improve on it a lot.
All in all, is Borderlands 3 a good third installment in the trilogy? Yes. Are the environments good? They’re definitely new. Is the story compelling? Just as much as previous titles yes. Was the writing witty? Not as much as 2 or Tales for that matter, but it tried its best. Were the new Vault Hunters cool? Fuck yeah they were. Did the guns get better and better? Oh yeah.
And finally, is the game worth a buy? I’d say yes, yes it is. Although buddy, I’d wait for it to come on Steam first if you’re a PC player.