After putting over 40 hours in Borderlands 3 I’m ready to jot down my thoughts and give you my official review! Is Borderlands 3 better than 2?
Borderlands has never played better than it does here. Gearbox has refined the gameplay and made it better than ever. The shooting mechanics are fantastic, every gun not only has a unique look, but they all play differently. There’s a gun for every playstyle out there. Do you like guns grounded in reality that shoots like real life guns? Then you’ll want to stick to the Vladaf line of guns. Do you love explosions and want to shoot grenades and all sorts of other explosives out of your gun? Then go with Torgue. Do you like lasers? Then Maliwan has you covered! And that’s just scratching the tip of the crazy amount of different guns that are in this game. I had a gun that had tracker bullets. My bullets would never miss my target even if I turned around and fired at the wall!
Shooting shit in the face isn’t the only thing that’s been refined here. Gearbox has also added the ability for us to slide, grap onto ledges, ground pound (like in the pre-sequel) and filled each zone with different side objectives to complete that’s not tied into the main story or side quest. I enjoyed camping outside bandit spawn points and stealing their vehicles for various different upgrades, I enjoyed chasing loot tinks (Borderlands version of the loot demons from Diablo III) and killing them for their loot, I enjoyed getting to know my new Vault Hunter, Amara, and loved as she went from kind of average to completely broken by the time I reached level 40, and I really enjoyed shooting shit in the face with the various different guns that I found throughout my 40 hour playthrough of the game.
Borderlands 3 is at it’s best when you’re knee deep in bandits, using your powers, and shooting stuff. It’s game of the year stuff and a good 80-90% of this game is better than Borderlands 2. Gearbox just dropped the ball in a few key areas that kept it from being as good as Borderlands 2, but I’ll get into that later.
This is a new Borderlands game so that means that we have 4 new vault hunters to play as this time around. And… I don’t really care about them. I like Amara (actually… I love Amara) and that’s honestly it. I haven’t put a lot of time into anyone else yet so I could always change my mind, but right now they’re a major step down from every other Borderlands game in my opinion.
Borderlands 3 doesn’t just take place on Pandora anymore. We have our own spaceship now! And we can travel to different planets too. And all of them, except one, are absolutely incredible and offer a lot of side activities to do alongside the main quest.
I LOVE the soundtrack to this game with the exception of those horrible end credit songs. I love that every boss has their own unique music playing in the background. I bopped my head to quite a few tracks that played in this game and I want to own the soundtrack. The soundtrack isn’t the only thing that’s awesome though. The voice acting and guns sound absolutely incredible. It’s a shame that the great voice acting didn’t have a great story to go along with it, but I’ll get more into that later.
The guns sound incredible. I could go as far as to say they’re probably the best sounding guns I’ve ever heard in a video game. The sound quality here is insane. EVERYTHING sounds really good and set a new standard for me. The only complaint I have is that the vehicles is too loud for me when I use headphones. It’s almost deafening and I have to turn the volume on my headset down every time I drive. The soundtrack definitely added to my experience and I love when a game nails this section because I’m a huge sound guy. A game’s soundtrack is always my favorite part of the experience and Gearbox nailed it here.
Borderlands 3 has the same graphical style as Borderlands 2. It’s cel shaded and it looks really good in my opinion. Is it the best looking game that’s released this year? No, but it IS the best looking Borderlands game to date. Every area looks really, really good. The shadows and lighting really pops to me. I also love when FPS games lets me adjust the field of view to my liking and Borderlands 3 does that. I don’t like everything being super close to my character and prefer things to be a bit further away. I don’t grade a game in this section just off of how I think it looks though.
Borderlands 3 does not perform well on PC. I’ve tested this game on two different PCs and I’ve experienced the same problems on both of them. The fps is all over the place, I’ve crashed to desktop multiple times, and even lost some character progression.
Borderlands 3 does have a photo mode and it’s… okay. It’s super slow, hard to control, and bumps into your main character which prevented me from taking really good shots like I could in other games. This can be fixed with patches though and hopefully it is because it’s a really neat feature that I want to use more.
Once all of the issues have been fixed I’ll have no problem bumping this up to the great section.
I feel like the sidequest deserve their own section because of how bad the story is. Some of the sidequest here are excellent and others aren’t. Borderlands 2 was the same way. The writing is on par with Borderlands 2 here and I enjoyed the majority of them a lot. I see why this game offended some poeple. I honestly loved it. I love that kind of humor and some of the quest had me laughing so hard I had to take a break.
Borderlands 3 is ultimately about girl power. And that’s not a bad thing, but it is here. Your chosen character does not exist in any cutscene and you’re never acknowledged until after shit happens right in front of your face. The Calypso Twins are horrible antagonists and you can tell that there’s a different writing team here than what Borderlands 2 had. The sidequest are actually really good. They’re on the same level as Borderlands 2. It’s the main questline that brought my entire experience down. The Calypso Twins are not Handsome Jack. You hated Handsome Jack because he was a good villain that you loved to hate. I just straight up hated the twins. They’re not good characters and they bought every scene they were in down.
I can’t blame the voice actors for this though. I blame the writers at Gearbox. They must have thought this story was so funny because they put in lame joke after lame joke after lame fucking joke until the game ended. And that ending… what the hell was that? They kill off fan favorite characters in the worst possible way. In Borderlands 2, Roland’s death was felt because everyone acknowledged it, especially Tiny Tina, and Roland was the relief from all of the comedy that the game has. There is no relief here. It’s just joke after joke and when the game needed to slow up and have those real moments it didn’t.
Fan favorite characters don’t play a big role in this game at all. This is Lilith, Tanith, and Ava’s story. The problem is none of them are very interesting characters in this game which is a shame because Lilith was interesting in part 2. Tiny Tina (she’s not so Tiny anymore) was teased at playing a bigger role in the game than what she does. And that’s a shame because she’s easily the best character in the game.
Instead of fleshing out each character and making them all standout Gearbox decided to give up 100,000 poop jokes…
Bugs & Glitches
Borderlands 3 is buggier than every other Borderlands game that released before it. The worst bug that we encountered while we played was the character wipe one. We would log in and lose hours of progress. It happened to my wife 4 times and right when I was about to quit and uninstall this game from my PC Gearbox dropped a patch that fixed it for us. I’ve had FPS issues since launch that still hasn’t been fixed, I’ve fallen through the world after a certain boss fight, and crashed to desktop as recent as yesterday. This game should have not released in this state. Especially on PC when you consider the major controversy that Gearbox faced when they went to Epic Games.
Borderlands 3 is absolutely fantastic. The only problems I have with the game is the mediocre story, lack of interesting characters, and the various different performance issues that I had throughout my 40-hour journey. The rest of the game is 10/10 type of stuff. The gameplay is incredible, the soundtrack and voice acting is incredible, and the other 90% of this game is great when compared to Borderlands 2. Unfortunately, the writers really dropped the ball here. If the story matched the rest of the game and if it performed better it would be an easy 10/10 game for me. That's not the case though. The story really did bring the rest of the game down. There's only so many poop jokes I can take before I tone you out and that's exactly what I did in this game. Borderlands 3 is great and is absolutely worth the asking price despite all of the issues I had with it.