Borderlands is a worldwide phenomenon and one of the highest-rated looter shooters out there, and its next major instalment – Borderlands 3 – has been seven years in the making, with only Tales from the Borderlands to tide us over during that time.
After such a long wait, expectations are running high – but how does it stand up to some of its competitors in the looter shooter market?
Borderlands 3 falls a little flat on the story front and lacks the killing blow to make you care for the characters and their involvement. The dialogue also gets old faster then you can blow up a few grunts with bouncing grenades.
The main two protagonists are The Calypso Twins who have risen to popularity in the area, and your task is to stop them. Unfortunately, they do not have the charm and charisma compared to some of the bosses from the previous games.
The ambition is there, but sadly 2k didn’t stick the landing on these two.
It’s very much the same for many bosses in the game; you run around the arena or hide whilst doing damage when you can and at times the mechanics feel like an inconvenience rather then gameplay enhancing. There are some great designs, but the execution misses the mark.
Borderlands is famously known for its great design, and that does not disappoint, it just continues to impress across the board from character design to enemy variety.
Some of the action takes place in the all-familiar Pandora, but the game shows off 2K’s talent for environments and design with some new and very exotic locations for you to explore; from Promethea with its gritty street feel, to the swampy wastelands of Eden-6.
The four vault hunters each have a playstyle that makes them very unique. You can be a brawler with Siren, FL4K the Beastmaster, Moze the Gunner and Zane Flynt the Operative.
Each character has different build options, allowing you to theory craft some character builds with specific weapons to maximise the damage. Some of the skills you will remember from the old games, but many come with tasty new surprises.
The guns are without a doubt the star of the show. Just the sheer variety of weaponry is mind-boggling, from sniper-like hand cannons to assault rifles that shoot rockets. The weapons can feel overwhelming at times, but it allows you to experiment even further with your character and build.
The soundtrack is another incredible aspect of this game, likely to be as big a hit as its predecessors. Each environment has its own music to suit the vibe of where you are and what situation you’re in, a favourite being the cyberpunky feel of Promethea.
Speed and mobility are two things that the older games lacked at times, but now being able to slide through some tight gaps and dodge grenades whilst sliding to cover it makes you feel like you are in a cinematic.
The game has had a few more quality-of-life improvements common to newer looter shooters such as a ping system but, as great as it is, at times it could get in the way of targets. This was especially frustrating when playing co-op as you could see the target but not be able to see a crit spot, reducing your ability to cause damage.
Speaking of co-op, the game supports drop-in, a play mechanic that independently scales the mobs to each player’s level, with players then getting loot relevant to their level. Being able to spin-up a character and not have to do an into the mission before being able to join friends is one of the nicer changes from the old co-op game.
The game is not without its technical flaws; infuriatingly, it kept crashing when trying to exit it, resulting in having to force quit the game in order to start again. It has also been plagued with save issues experienced by players since its launch.
Overall the game is a real blast from the past, keeping true to its style and doing the core mechanics outstandingly well whilst improving some quality of life aspects.
The game’s diehard fans will love this game for all the right reasons, but others looking for a story investment will be left wanting more.
Borderlands 3 released on PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13