REVIEW: Borderlands 3 - A Multy-Planetary Looter-Shooter

September 29, 2019
REVIEW: Borderlands 3 - A Multy-Planetary Looter-Shooter

Borderlands is probably the game that popularised looter shooters. When it came out it was a real refreshment for everyone, you even had the option to play with three other players. I remember spending hours and hours on Pandora with my roommates until our eyes began to tear. With the sequel, Gearbox Software perfected the formula a bit, but still held on to all that was good in the game so far. With Borderlands 3, the franchise was supposed to evolve into something special, something no one should miss out on.

Now Borderlands 3 has arrived with new heroes, a new story, and tons of new weapons. It is up to you to stop the Calypso twins who are trying to claim Vaults for themselves and rule the galaxy. After you make your character, you’re immediately thrown into the fire. While gathering followers for Children of the Vault, it's not long before you realize how dangerous the twins are - it’s best shown in the cinematics. But then, the sad reality is that the game doesn't contain many story-driven scenes like those.

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Nevertheless, the twins prove to be good antagonists in the siblings' dynamics. Children with too much power to understand the consequences of their actions that simply cannot be persuaded to stop with their gruesome acts against the Crimson Raiders and the rest of the galaxy. There’s an interesting premise within the plot which makes you understand Calypso's motives better. The plot is a bit slow in the first 10 hours or so, but that changes once you start getting some serious firepower, with the exception of the Eden-6 part of the campaign which is too long. Locations are obviously bigger, the kits are more impressive, and Borderlands 3 gives the best experience in the franchise.

The biggest change in Borderlands 3 is definitely the setting. We are used to being on one planet where we can wander and discover new regions with different kind of enemies. With Borderlands 3, Gearbox Software was able to come up with a storyline that unfolds on several different planets at once. As you progress with the story, the game will take you to other planets that are completely different from previous ones, and this is something that fans have been waiting for so long.

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One of the things we really wanted to see improved was storytelling. Although it’s not bad, it’s still too similar to previous games where humor prevails over everything. The problem is that the humor was good back in 2009, but the writers seem to have stayed frozen during that time, unfortunately. Humor is great for the age we've all been back then, but for the loyal audience that has been with this franchise for over ten years, something could have been changed, or rather, the writers could have grown up with us. I understand the nature of the game and that humorous side that always wants to stay young, but most of the jokes are just too "edgy". If adults stop and listen to those jokes while playing, they would be shocked by the ways Gearbox tries to be humorous. Another good thing about the game is that it’s completely relaxing.

Still, the biggest focus is on the gameplay fluidity, which is simply fantastic, the only aspect that absolutely shines. As in the previous games, you will still have the opportunity to destroy as many enemies as you wish. Your powers can be developed in three different ways depending on whether you want to have an offensive, defensive or balanced playstyle. 3_borderlands  

The action, like in previous games, is totally over the top, primarily focused on fun, where new weapons pop up at absolutely every turn. The best part about these weapons is that they work so differently and are made with much more imagination than before. The level of creativity in this game is simply amazing. I can’t even imagine how many weapons there are in total, because the system is designed so that the game rewards you with new weapons every step of the way.

The only problem I encountered was that some of the weapons I got on Level 20 couldn't be found in the endgame. Yes, I believe that it is difficult to find two identical weapons, but the attributes of those "early" weapons were so well-fitted that my personal side-mission was to find something similar to that. Of course, no weapon is bad and they all serve the purpose of destroying the enemies. That's the interesting thing about this game, whatever you do, whatever weapon you use, it will always be fun. Borderlands has somehow perfected the formula that, even after three games and a few spinoffs, it just didn't get boring.

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On the graphic side, Borderlands 3 looks beautiful in its notable cell-shaded style. Rage 2 came out a few months ago, and we can see how much that game tried to imitate Borderlands franchise in absolutely every aspect and how unsuccessful it was. Borderlands 3 may not be a huge improvement over its predecessors in terms of graphics, performance or the storyline, but it is definitely a unique franchise with its unique style that just can’t be copied.

Final impressions

Borderlands 3 upgraded already familiar formula, and it worked out perfectly. It adds a lot of new elements, the biggest being the multi-planetary storytelling system that is a real refreshment and a step up from previous titles. This is the game you can play without thinking too much, you can forget about all the problems and the world around you, and simply indulge in pure fun. From me it gets a solid 8/10.