Borderlands 3 Review

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The highly anticipated Borderlands 3 is here, the award-winning series created by developer Gearbox software. Borderlands 3 is a Co-op FPS known for its large selection of guns. This installment doesn’t stray away from the Borderlands “Looter Shooter” formula it’s known for, which can be a good and a bad thing. “Looter Shooter” refers to the gameplay loop of going from level to level killing enemies and picking up better gear to kill harder enemies. The game falls flat in some places, though the game is fun to play it doesn’t bring much new to the series and performance is a big issue on all platforms.

In Borderlands 3 you play as one of four Vault Hunters: Fl4k, Moze, Amara, or Zane. As a Vault Hunter, you’re looking for an ancient alien structure called a Vault that holds alien technology and valuables guarded by powerful vault monsters. You start your journey on the planet of Pandora, an abandoned, war-torn, mining planet. Pandora is primarily occupied by gangs and cults of bandits. The Children of the Vault, ran by Troy and Tyreen Calypso, is one of the biggest bandit cults on Pandora. The Calypso get their hands on a map with the locations of several vaults around the galaxy and now you must leave Pandora and travel to different planets to stop them from collecting the power of the vault monsters.

Let’s start with the best part of this game, the gameplay. The game is fun to play. It’s not amazing but the repetitiveness of walking from one area style level to another shooting waves of enemies only felt boring and repetitive toward the end of the story. The only thing that makes the shooting different from other games is the abilities and new firing modes.

Each of the playable characters gets three abilities. In the previous Borderlands games, each character got only one ability. This is a great addition to the series bringing more variety in the way you play and approach situations. Each ability also gets their own skill tree and can be upgraded by leveling up. 

The game proudly claims there are over a billion guns in the loot pool, this is technically true. There are nine weapon manufacturers, each one having unique parts, weapon types and five rarities: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. It’s very rare to find two guns exactly alike in Borderlands 3. this system is pretty similar to Borderlands 2’s but with a larger selection of unique weapons. The series has always encouraged customization of your character through skins and heads. This game adds plenty of brand new customization in the form of colorful weapon skins and paintings for your player’s room.

The writing isn’t very good in this game, which is a shame because the Borderlands series has some interesting characters. The two antagonists are boring, and their character arcs are never fully realized. Side characters who are meant to progress the story are shallow and never take responsibility for events that happen in the game. Characters like Ava are so unlikable I think the writers just forgot about her.

The writing does have its high points though, the planet Promethea is a well designed and well written section of the game. The area has a great cyberpunk design and reintroduces the fan favorite character, Rhys. In total there are five planets you can go to: Pandora, Promethea, Athenas, Edan-6, and Nekrotafeyo. Each planet has collectibles, side missions, unique enemies, and lore.

If you’re looking for a fun game to play with your friends and you don’t care about the story, Borderlands 3 is for you. I’ve only tried the multiplayer once with my friend using split screen on Xbox which was very slow due to poor optimization. I have heard that online play works well and is very fun. Even though the writing is lackluster, and the bugs are too bad to ignore, I do recommend you play Borderlands 3.