Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, Borderlands 3 is the fourth game in the mainline Borderland series. It has been seven years since Borderlands 2, and many gamers are wondering if Borderlands 3 was worth the seven-year wait.
The months and weeks leading up to Borderlands 3‘s release was interesting to say the least. With many controversies and the fact that review copies weren’t sent out to many outlets until the day of release, I including many others were left wondering how the game turn out. After spending the last few weeks with the game, I’m here to share with you my thoughts and impressions.
Borderlands 3 Details
Platform: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: Action role-playing, first-person shooter
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Save the galaxy from a fanatical threat
Borderlands 3 takes place several years after its predecessor and is centred around Pandora. In Borderlands 2, we learned that there were undiscovered Vaults on other planets in the galaxy. And, after Handsome Jack’s defeat, a new cult that goes by the name of Children of the Vault has risen.
At the helm of this new cult is the Calypso twins, Tyreen and Troy. These twin live streamers have set out to find these undiscovered Vaults and reap the rewards. A resistance force led by Lilith called the Crimson Raiders was formed to protect Pandora and a recruiting call put out. Consequently, a new team of Vault Hunters have arisen and come to Pandora only to find that the Crimson Raiders are in die straits.
As the newest member of the Crimson Raiders, it’s race between you and the Children of the Vault to find these undiscovered Vaults first and take back control. As a Borderlands fan I was happy to see some of my favourites from previous games in the series make a return in the form of NPCs and even one as a boss. I enjoyed the story from start to finish but it really only started to pickup about half way through the game. Needless to say, its full of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way until the very end.
Four all-new Vault Hunters
The Borderlands series has always been about speed and Borderlands 3 sticks close to the series gameplay roots. It retains everything that has made this series fun over the last 10 years and more. You can now slide across the ground to dodge attacks, hop up onto objects and gunplay has been tweaked to keep combat flowing.
Like previous entries, this loot-driven, action role-playing, first-person shooter allows you to play alone or in parties of up to four people. Borderlands 3 contains four classes, Amara, Zane, Moze, and FL4K. All have different gameplay styles, unique character traits that separate them apart from each other, and skill trees.
First is Amara, a Siren with phasing abilities that allow her to turn enemies against each other, suspend them in the air, and knock them backwards. Next, Zane is a silent assassin who deals out critical hit damage with precision. Third is Moze, a close combat and high-impact damage gunner who has the ability to call in her giant mech, Iron Bear. Last, and certainly not least, is FL4K. This new class allows you to summon robotic pets who have the ability to send elemental wave attacks.
Bright colourful cel-shaded worlds await
Borderlands 3 retains its beautiful cel-shade graphics that the series is known for as is as colourful as ever. Character animations are improved and lighting is vastly superior thanks in part to the game using the Unreal Engine 4. On the base consoles, Xbox One S and PlayStation 4, the game renders at 900p and 1080p respectively. The game is locked at 30fps and for the most part maintains the frame rate.
On the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, you can choose between Performance and Resolution modes. Performance mode renders the game at 1080p on both consoles with a variable frame rate up to 60fps. On the other hand, Resolution mode gives you a 1800p resolution on both consoles at 30fps. Overall, Borderlands 3 runs well most of the time except for framerate dips while driving in vehicles. It’s nothing major, but it’s clear that Borderlands 3 could use some more optimization on Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro.
I was impressed with the game’s audio and sound effects. Each and every weapon you come across sound distinct from firing your weapon to reloading it. The soundtrack contains a nice variety of music and the character dialogue can be amusing at times.
Multiplayer mayhem best played online
Borderlands 3 is best played with friends and the game offers local split-screen play as well as online play. Previous games in the series allowed for 4 player local split-screen. However, Borderlands 3 only supports two player split-screen per console. While this might be a bit of a let down for some, it makes sense given the games graphical enhancements. It’s worth to note that there are some performance issues when playing local split-screen multiplayer. At times I experienced various degrees of lag.
Online play allows for up to four people to play and in my opinion is the best option for multiplayer fun in the game. When playing solo, there were at times, that certain enemies and bosses gave me a hard time. However, with friends, all the frustration was gone and it felt like a more evenly balanced fight.
Borderlands 3 is a fun loot-filled adventure
Was Borderlands 3 worth the seven year wait? My answer is a resounding yes! While Borderlands 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t have to. Everything that made previous games fun to play is here and with some tweaks to boot. However, there are a few performance issues that hopefully will be ironed out in the future, specifically split-screen multiplayer.
If you are new to the series and interested in Borderlands 3, there is really no worry about feeling lost in the story. There might be a few things that are referenced from previous games but for the most part you’ll be ok. Additionally, if you are looking for more backstory, you can pickup Borderlands The Handsome Collection, which contains Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2.
+ Tweaked gameplay allows for even faster action
+ Enhanced cel-shaded graphics
+ 4 all-new Vault Hunters that are unique and fun to play
+ Fun drop in and drop out online multiplayer
+ Dramatic story that will have you on edge of your seat
– Performance issues solo and multiplayer
– Mini map can be confusing at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF BORDERLANDS 3
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.1/5 (82%)
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Yet another series that I haven’t gotten around to. That art style grabs my attention and I’d like to try the games out sometime. Thanks for the review!
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