When I played through Borderlands 2 on my PS3 I absolutely fell in love with the series and could not wait for Gearbox to come out with their next installment. After many years, towards the tail end of the console generation, Borderlands 3 finally came out and surpassed its predecessor in almost every way. It isn’t the type of game that gets nominated for Game of the Year awards, but Borderlands 3 is an undeniably fun game that can eat up hundreds of hours of your time if you’re not careful.
The first thing I noticed about Borderlands 3 was the vastly improved gunplay. Borderlands 2 featured drifty aiming with frequent framerate drops and stutters, leaving much to be desired in this respect. Borderlands 3 not only rectifies these issues, but further refined it’s gunplay to make it one of the best in gaming, on par with the likes of Doom, Halo, and COD. In my opinion the poor shooting mechanics was one of the biggest problems that Borderlands 2 had. Now that it’s no longer an issue, Borderlands 3 instantly becomes one of the best shooters on the market. This is great to see because Borderlands is known for its wide variety of fun and creative guns to experiment with, and this new installment is no different. I won’t spoil all the weapons, but some of the more interesting ones I’ve found include a shotgun that shoots a giant, slow moving elemental ball that deals massive damage as it passes by enemies, a grenade that rains down a hail of firebombs after being thrown, and a rocket launcher that simply creates an enormous explosion.
The character progression remains much the same as in the previous entry, which I have no issue with as I think Borderlands has some of the best character building in gaming. There are four characters you can play as each with his/her/its own unique skill trees. Two people playing the same character may have two completely different play styles based on how they distributed their skill points. You will spend a lot of time reading through the different perks and agonizing over which ones you should unlock. Weapons will also have unique effects such as elemental damage or explosive rounds, providing even more opportunities for you to identify deadly synergies to help mow down enemies.
We now arrive at the part of the review that goes over the story. Borderlands 3 has a notoriously bad story, so much so that it’s story has taken much of the attention away from its nearly flawless gameplay. I feel that the shortcomings of Borderlands 3’s story have been greatly exaggerated. The plot is similar to that of the previous games, in which a big bad is harnessing the immeasurable power of eridium, a purple substance you use to buy character and weapon skins, and must be stopped. This kind of story has been done hundreds of times in past games. Where Borderlands 3 falls short is its characters. Borderlands 3 features some familiar favorites from past games such as Lilith, Mordecai, Tina, and Ellie, but its newer characters, most notably Ava and the Calypso twins, were seen mostly as annoying additions with little depth. Luckily you spend very little time with these annoying characters throughout the game so your enjoyment won’t be affected too much.
If you are a fan of shooters, cooperative games, or RPGs then you need to go play Borderlands 3. Veterans coming from Borderlands 2 can attest that the newest installment in the franchise outclasses it’s predecessor in nearly every aspect with the exception of storytelling. Borderlands 3 features better shooting, more enemies, more loot, more planets to visit, and even crazier weapon effects and character abilities. With its third entry Borderlands has achieved a level of polish and excellence so high that it has catapulted its status from a franchise with a smaller but devoted fanbase to one of the best releases on the PS4/Xbox One generation.
FINAL SCORE: 9.5/10