Borderlands 2 was a massive step for the franchise. Providing one of the most iconic villains in gaming, Handsome Jack, and an outstanding sense of wonder and exploration as you discovered new locations within Pandora. Borderlands 3 is more of what fans love about this franchise. Dark and sometimes cringe causing humor, outrageous boss fights, and lots of guns. The new antagonist, the Calypso Twins, never rise to the same meteoritic height as Handsome Jack but they’re just as deadly. With the player taking control of a new Vault Hunter in search of legendary treasure and facing against powerful enemies. Borderlands 3 has a lot of exciting moments and encourages the grind for legendary loot but is held back due to annoying technical problems.

The King and Queen of Streaming

Peace never lasts, especially on Pandora. The Crimson Raiders has been attacked and the remaining survivors live in small bases around the planet. Lilith has sent out a message looking for any recruit seeking adventure, glory, and a fight against a deadly new foe. But there isn’t just one, the primary antagonists of Borderlands 3 are twins.

The Calypso Twins are insanely popular streamers who’ve turned their reputation into a faith. Their followers are largely bandits who are willing to kill and die for the twins Troy and Tyreen. The twins aren’t just looking to cause mass carnage, they’re after Vaults and are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.

Lilith must attempt to stop the twins from unlocking these vaults and causing widespread calamity. The stakes are constantly being raised as the twins showcase their powers and influence. It’s hard to talk about these things without diving into spoilers but lets just as the twins will constantly get stronger as you get weaker.

The writers constantly go to extreme lengths to showcase how dire certain situations is. Despite this, the twins never rise to the same pedigree as Handsome Jack. They barely deserve the be in the same room as the iconic Borderlands character. The twins are one-dimensional during most of the adventure. Always cocky, direct, and demoralizing. They rarely show any type of weakness and this arrogance eventually gets old. Most of the time they’re attempting to “Troll” the player by mocking their failures and surprisingly the supporting cast rarely response. It’s understandable considering Moxy’s mostly calm persona but someone like Lilith as been shown to get angry pretty quickly.

There are a few parts in the story where common sense is thrown out of the window. For example, early on in the game, it’s made incredibly clear that Lilith can teleport people and herself around the planet with ease. However, when she’s in a near-death situation she chooses not to use this power to either escape, use it in combat, or summon aid. Illogical situations like this happen multiple times during the story for the sake of pushing the story forward as the characters fail to act on common sense.

Another strange element is the use of past characters. Some join Lilith in her campaign to stop the twins, who showcase their absolute legitimate threat to everyone in the universe repeatedly, from past adventures and some do not. Some ECHO logs provide context into some characters but other times you’re left in the dark.

Time for New Vault Hunters

The new set of Vault Hunters is diverse and fun to play. You have the beastmaster FL4K, the Siren Amara, Moze who has a war-mech called Iron Bear, and Zane who has access to a doppelganger hologram. Each one has unique dialogue linked to the narrative but the interaction is mostly weak. The characters say something then your Vault Hunter response and the following dialogue is the same. This should be expected but it does take away from the experience, as you separate from seeing your Vault Hunter as a character and instead a conduit to explore this world.

The classes have been expanded and elaborated on. Now, players can switch between alternate abilities instead of being linked to just one. For example, FL4K can summon 1 of 3 pets to fight alongside him and choose up to 3 different ultimate abilities. These ultimate abilities also have sub-categories that expand on existing talents. Meaning that despite playing the same character you can have entirely different builds from other characters. You can switch the ultimate abilities at any time but changing skills will require payment from in-game currency.

The characters have access to an assortment of unlockable cosmetic options, and so do the guns. You can change the skin and color of your character’s overall body and look. The same can be said about your weapon will have an array of charms and skins to unlock. Unlike the previous games, Eridian is now used to unlock special cosmetics from Crazy Earl and can be used to purchase powerful weapons. Expanding your inventory for ammo and carrying is now linked to Marcus, making money more valuable now.

Skills are earned by earning experience in traditional ways; completing missions and killing enemies. Kill enough and earn a level, get a skill point, and do it again until you reach level 50. This will require a lot of backtracking to complete side missions. Which open up new areas teeming with loot. Restarting the process.

Shoot First

This is a Borderlands game so you can expect lots of guns and things to shoot. Gearbox has made shooting much more fluid. Instead of the floatly system from the previous games, shooting feels more precise and has weight to it. And you’ll be shooting a lot of things so having improved controls is probably for the best.

The enemies come in a lot of varieties. Wildlife, military, bandits, and unique enemies along with powerful versions of traditional enemies all offer different challenges. Much of the game does focus on you killing waves of enemies until you reach the objective but the diverse environments help cloud the tedious affair.

The guns themselves are unique and depending on the brand you can tell how it’ll operate. Weapons are separated into rarity categories and the chance for better guns, armor, and grenade mods are provided by killing harder creatures. The grind isn’t annoying here since the game provides plenty of side missions to boost your character and get better gear. If you’re looking for a challenging, Borderlands 3 provides True Vault Hunter mode and Mayhem mode that boost the enemy’s strength and defense along with leveling them up to match the player’s level.

I did love that minor pickups such as ammo and money are automatic. Simply walking across minor but necessary supplies automatically pick them up. Saving on time when looting dozens of chests. Allowing you to focus on the gameplay rather than individual items. If you do happening to find an exotic or legendary item a ding is played and an icon appears on your minimap. If you still happen to miss it the game will funnel a specific amount to a bank so you can pick it up later. There are a lot more quality-of-life improvements such as easier storage space, quick refilling ammo from vendors, and fast travel between you and your vehicle which makes the experience that much more welcoming.

Planet Hoping is a Dangerous Job

Borderlands has always teased this idea of multiple planets and now we finally get to see them and they’re underwhelming. Pandora was mostly wastelands but the developers still infused forests, underground caverns, and other new locations to highlight the planet’s diverse biological areas. However, the planets of Borderlands 3 just seem like large different areas instead of actual planets.

For example, you have a swamp planet called Eden-6 and outside from a few animal creatures, the planet doesn’t provide something new in terms of look. Instead, you can most likely link the locations found in Borderlands 3 to other locations seen in other Borderlands titles. Despite this, the locations are still well-designed and look great. Fast traveling is also quick when inside an area but traveling between areas require enduring a long loading screen.

Some areas are definitely much more popular than others. One particular area has you traveling through long stretches of sand and dirt with fast travel points too far between. And other times you have to climb and run through large bands of enemies just to reach the next location. Often I would find myself just darting past enemies to reach the next objective, and mostly this works.

Each area has layers of side missions, enemies, and locations to discover. Some are hidden and require a bit of critical thinking to locate. As you explore hidden collectibles including diary entries from the first vault and ancient alien documents can be found. Some are easy to get to and other times it can be a frustrating platforming challenge full of trial and error.

The enemy diversity is hit and miss. Mostly you’ll be facing the same bandits and military soldiers for much of the campaign. The bosses provide a unique challenge, with some including specially designed animals. This fights can get intense given their magnitude and challenge but are mostly ruined due to the bullet sponge nature of their design. Some bosses took me 15 minutes to kill, even with exotic level gear, during my first playthrough. The mountain worth of bullets and explosions needed to defeat some of these enemies removes much of the thrill of defeating the boss.

A Style that Lasts

The Borderlands iconic cel-shaded style has always been appealing and it still is. It’s hard to see improvements to the visuals but some small details have been added to the character models and environments. It’s a style that ages well but hard to improve on.

The musical score has seen an improvement. The soundtrack features a more diverse collection of tracks that often change the tone of the game. The main menu is now more calming than before but the boss battle themes still provide that great uplifting beats to keep the fight alive. Like the cel-shaded graphics, the musical score for Borderlands ages very well and Borderlands 3’s original soundtrack will likely do the same.

With Friends at Your Side

Cooperative play has always been a major feature in Borderlands and still is. Borderlands 3 features 4-player cooperative action and with the new diverse Vault Hunter options, having multiple players playing the same character won’t create an imbalance.

You can drop into cooperative play with random people or with friends easily, with an array of options available to the player base on what that person is doing. Like previous games, the increase player count will make the enemies much harder to defeat and will increase the spawn rate of difficulty enemies.

The experience does become a lot easier with friends. With missions, especially collecting missions, easier to complete and often boss enemies easier to defeat. Some bosses have insane accuracy and when equipped with a shield can be impossible to hit. It’s a hit and miss when it comes to difficulty when playing with friends some challenges benefit from the cooperative option and other times being a handicap.

HOLD STILL!

Borderlands 3 suffered from a myriad of technical issues. I played the game on the Xbox One X and suffered from interface lag constantly. When entering the player menu to change gear or see the map there would always be a noticeable drop in the frame rate. This seems like a minor issue but considering how many times you’ll be opening and closing the menu this minor issue quickly becomes a problematic one.

Another Borderlands And That’s Okay

Borderlands 3 is a great new installment in the franchise. It provides much of the same mechanics as the previous games, with lots of new guns to obtain and areas to explore. The Calypso Twins are deadly antagonists but mostly come off as annoying internet celebrities with too much power. There’s a lot of fun exploring the universe and hunting down legendary beasts in the pursuit of legendary gear. It’s unfortunate that the Calypso Twins, despite being dangerous people, never go beyond being annoying internet celebrities and the technical issues disrupt the flow of gameplay. Regardless, Borderlands 3 gives fans what they want from this franchise and it’s more Borderlands.

Borderlands 3 Review
Postives
  • Incredible Boss Fights
  • Lots of Optional Content
  • Fantastic Musical Score
Negatives
  • Interface Slowdown
  • Bullet Sponge Bosses
  • Frame Rate Dips When Using the Interface
8.8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (21 Votes)
5.0

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.