Editors Note: This review was provided to Strafer.net by Lyle Arends
It’s been well over 7 years since Borderlands 2 was released, and fans have been ravenous while awaiting the next installment, and finally, their agony is over, because Borderlands 3 is finally running wild, and here I am to tell you a little about it.
So yes, there’s a story in BL3. You take on the role of one of four new Vault Hunters, and join the resistance known as The Crimson Raiders in an effort to stop two power-hungry twins from gaining God-like powers. You’ll be taken to several different planets along the way, meeting both new and familiar faces on your journey, where you’ll also find love, lose friends, gather the 7 Dragon Balls, become a Pokemon master, and finally, bring balance to the force in an epic final confrontation with Lord Voldemort… Well, most of that was true.
Honestly, the story isn’t all that great – especially with the lackluster main villains who just didn’t feel like a true threat in the slightest – but still, it’s engaging enough to keep you going from mission to mission. The series’ trademark humour (although toned down this time around in my opinion) is also still there to add some freshness and quirkiness to the experience, especially in the fun sidequests. But I did find myself spacing out more than once, and that’s perfectly fine, because Borderlands is all about that gameplay.
The gameplay in BL3 is incredibly fun, and if you’ve played any of the previous games, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t played any of the previous games, let me tell you what I’m talking about. The BL series is all about guns and gear, and once again, there are “billions” of aforementioned guns and gear for you to loot and shoot with – and although a lot of them are similar in concept, slight tweaks and mods makes them all feel unique, especially as there are numerous elemental modes in the game. You’ll never get to experience every gun the game has to offer, and more times than not you’ll get rid of whatever new guns you loot, but it’s still incredibly fun to find a new unique weapon that maybe shoots bullets in a heart-shaped spread, or mimics the Proton Pack streams from Ghostbusters (or even one that shoots out other guns), and this will often lead to you trying out new gameplay styles.
For example, I stuck to my assault guns and snipers at first, but when I got a new shiny legendary shotgun, I shifted to close combat, which lead to me switching out ARs for SMGs, and the game became a 100% more frantic, but also much more fun. Gunplay is where it’s at, and it’s an utter blast (literally in most cases).
But guns aren’t the only thing to help you blast your way through the universe of Borderlands 3. Like I mentioned, there are 4 main characters to choose from, and each has their own unique set of abilities, which you can level up as you play and earn upgrade points. The Siren uses psychic-like abilities, the Beastmaster uses tamed creatures to help turn the tide, The Gunner is your powerhouse using a mech with other gun/explosive-focused abilities, and lastly, the Operative, who uses drones and holograms to strike from the shadows. Each character feels distinct, and even though you’ll probably try to play in a similar fashion between them, I can guarantee you’ll be switching it up constantly.
On the technical side, the game looks fantastic and sounds great. The entire cast deliver a delightfully solid performance, and the game’s aesthetic is great, with the signature cel-shaded look of the franchise polished to a slick extent. And because the game has you visiting some truly exotic places, taking you from desolate wastelands to futuristic mega cities to weird alien planets (and more) – there is plenty of room for it to show off its graphical prowess. The game is pretty technically sound, but not perfect. The biggest issue I had was that smaller textures sometimes didn’t load, resulting in some PS1-looking objects, and some minor game bugs, but nothing game-breaking. That said, there are reports of the game suffering from unstable frame rates and save game bugs so be on the look out for a future patch.
Borderlands 3 is an incredibly fun game that those both new and familiar to the franchise will absolutely love. With fantastic gameplay and the almighty quest for loot being the thing that’s going to keep you coming back for more.