Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of the Borderlands series. Gearbox’s looter shooter made me a fan of FPS games after years of avoiding them. The co-op, RPG elements with loot and skill trees, and the whole sci-fi setting with raunchy humor were all selling points for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed every entry in the series since. Well it has been seven years since the last main entry in the series, does Borderlands 3 stack up?
Players pick from four new characters; Amara “The Siren”, Fl4k “The Beastmaster”, Moze “The Gunner”, and finally Zane “The Operative”. As with previous entries each character has their own unique abilities and skill trees. One difference though is that each of these trees has their own action abilities making each character more moldable to your particular playstyle. These kinds of upgrades are what make Borderlands 3 such a joy for long time fans, and there are many more.
Borderlands 3 takes place a few years after the events of Borderlands 2. Your vault hunter is thrown into a war with two new antagonists, Tyreen and Troy, twins who have some unique abilities of their own and a cult with a million followers via The Children of the Vault. While not nearly as entertaining and charismatic as the legendary Handsome Jack, over the course of the story they grew on me. Troy in particular.
While the plot takes a bit to get going, I still had a great time with the main quest line. Getting to see the faces behind the companies that manufacture many of the weapons in the game was interesting. The story also opens up the rest of the universe as you travel around to various worlds looking for new vaults. This made Borderlands 3 feel way more open and diverse. Another change is the ability to vault and Gearbox takes advantage of this by incorporating more vertical traversal throughout areas. Thankfully the map has also been updated to show height.
Let’s be real, fans of Borderlands are not looking for Shakespeare. What really matters is how Borderlands 3 plays and of course, is it fun? As someone who has played, defeated, and gone back for more in every game in the franchise, I can assure you, that yes, if you enjoyed the past games, you will love Borderlands 3. Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking here. Borderlands is like dick and fart jokes, they never get old and they never get any more mature.
The star of Borderlands 3 is the guns. Just like before they are randomly generated and there are billions of combinations. With this of course comes a ton of crap weapons you will just vendor but it’s fun to play with them. You can even customize them with skins this time. No character is particularly suited for a certain type of gun so it really just comes down to preferred play-style when it comes to choosing your weapon. I personally have used guns that are much lower level than my character because they are just so damn useful and fun to play with.
Graphically Borderlands 3 retains the cell shaded unique aesthetic from before but it is obviously polished up a bit since this is the first game on this generation of console. Character voice work is the best yet with everyone sounding perfect and some surprise star voice actors. The music is also great, with another sure to be classic intro song. I also love how the music will ramp up as the action gets going in game and some cool pop songs were included at points that really added to the immersive experience.
Overall Borderlands 3 is more of the same, and that’s a good thing. The story took a bit to get going and really pull me in but once I was I found it better than the previous games with really only Tales from the Borderlands beating it out. As it should considering it was rooted in storytelling. Quality of life improvements and updates like the ability to slide make combat more involved and on par with other first person shooter games these days. With a planned roadmap for future DLC I am sure to be playing Borderlands 3 for many months to come and I cannot wait to see what antics Gearbox brings us