Introduction To Borderlands
For those new to the borderlands series, this game made the looter shooter genre famous by being different from other looter shooter games. It made its own subclass and through its visually stunning cell-shaded graphics, it made its very own fan base.
Borderlands 1 came out almost 10 years ago, nostalgic factor here is so high that, most people including me could easily go back to it and replay it without giving it a proper thought. The entire series never had any good plot storylines, but what it did give was a total of thousands of hours of fun, grind, loot, amazing world environment and boss fights.
The Coop experience in this game is just something so unique that any newcomer will see and realize the potential that this game holds, the same goes for borderlands 1 even to this date.
Its that time of the year again, all vault hunters are here searching for the ancient vaults that have been discovered throughout the galaxy. Borderlands 3 is a direct sequel to Borderlands 2 taking place 7 years later in the future after the events of Borderlands 2, and for those who have not played it, they will still feel at home as the game does not force anyone to go play the older games in the series to understand what is happening here.
The entire borderlands franchise was never good at telling stories or having amazing plotlines. Instead, it makes up for some of the best looter shooter gameplay mechanics, loot system, coop experience, and superb world traversal, either solo or in Coop mode.
In Borderlands 3, due to the absence of handsome jack( Borderlands 2 character, also the best antagonist in the entire series), the Calypso Twins( media personalities in-game) have taken control with the help of the number’s game of the children of the vault. These twins are in search of the ” Great vault” which possesses great loot and all the wealth and riches that one might need in their lives. But these twins are not the only ones searching for it. All the vault hunters from all over the globe have the same end game and we get to choose from 4 different characters to start our journey in this game.
Compared to Borderlands 2, the plot and storytelling in this game are very disappointing and cringy and can be easily compared to the Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review that I did some time ago. But this should not stop you from playing and experiencing this game as it’s very rewarding and fun.
Gameplay And Mechanics
The core gameplay has still not changed from the past games in the series which is not a bad thing. It is still the same cell-shaded looter shooter open-world RPG game that is has been since Borderlands 1. But it did change in the other aspects, especially the weapon system which has been overhauled by a tremendous margin and the LOOT, which has been the best part about this entire game.
There are four classes to choose from at the beginning of the game, namely The Siren, The Beastmaster, The Gunner and The Operative. All these four classes have their own unique set of skills and few of them are very overpowering. Based on what kind of build you go with, you can easily kill several enemies later in-game by combining your skill power and skill tree with your weapons by optimizing your built accordingly.
If you are someone like me, who likes to solo finish the campaign before getting into the whole end-game coop experience, then I would highly recommend going with the Beastmaster, since it has been very overpowering since the start of the game. If you are playing as a team player, then choosing Siren would be wiser since the skills cater to teamplay and healing more than focusing on being a solo tryhard.
Each character has three skill-trees with each of them having unique passive skills and action skills which can be equipped by pressing the Q and E buttons. The best part about this skill tree is, you can mix and match the skills however you feel like. This will not only make your own gameplay experience unique but also make your character stronger and also cater to how you are playing the game. This will further enhance your build and help you min-max your damage output or skill damage output depending on what character you choose. Later down the line, if you think you want to rechoose your talent skills, then you can rechoose them again anytime using the “re-spec your character” option.
The place where most of your time will go away is in the inventory tab, where you will be customizing and min-maxing your build as you keep progressing further into the game. This is a very important aspect of any looter shooter game. Inventory management is the core aspect when it comes to looter shooter and it should not be rushed in any way. You need to make sure that your build is decent enough to sustain against big waves of enemies or boss fights, especially if you are playing solo since there will be no one to revive you or help you out and you are the only one who can get a chance of self reviving based on how much damage your weapon can do to enemies.e The only thing that will get irritating soon, would be to store the weapons and mods efficiently as it gets really painful to properly mark/sell guns you don’t need as most of them have similar stats and you would be getting a lot of same weapons drops from time to time, hence throwing the entire management of the inventory in the players hands.
The movement in this game feels fluid and fast compared to Borderlands 2’s airy style gameplay where the jump just didn’t feel right and it had no depth. But here, things have changed and the movement feels much better having some kind of depth and weight onto it. The movement in this game can easily be compared to something like Destiny 2 as it kind of feels the same. So if you are a fan of that then you will certainly like the movement here as well.
The weapon system has been overhauled a lot in this game. Fans have been wanting to have a better experience when it comes to getting rewarded for the grind that they put in for several hours. The legendary drops in the previous series were very less but now it drops as soon as you reach Level 12 or level 13, sometimes even before if you are playing on hard mode. The only issue in the lower levels with respect to legendary weapons is that the purple epic weapons or rare blue weapons are sometimes better than the legendary ones as it feels more comfortable to use and provided a consistent damage output to the enemies thus making the gameplay experience smoother. Thus it will be wise for you to not sell off your blue/purple weapons and to use them alongside the legendaries to get the maximum damage output.
As you level up further, the Epic weapons and rare weapons start to feel even better and stronger with better damage output and recoil spread around the enemy waves. Each and every weapon feels different in the hands, having different weights and amazing details in them. Each weapon looks different, feels different and gives a certain amount of control as to how the player uses them during combat.
Farming in this game is also very rewarding, but I will highly recommend doing it after you are done with the main campaign missions, alongside doing side missions. Farming after you reach level 50 is advisable since it will give you the best weapons possible with the best damage output and recoil spread compared to a lower level legendary weapons.
Main Quest & Side-Quests
The biggest disappointment of this game is its main quest plot. It’s very cringy, sometimes very irritating and very mainstream. The Calypso Twins won’t leave you behind when it comes to bad jokes and utter cringe. Throughout the game as your progress along, here they are with their silly and garbage jokes, constantly nagging you into something which makes absolutely zero sense as if some 7 or 8 yr old kid is constantly shouting in his/her mic while playing some call of duty and being salty about it. The main quests did have some really good boss fights though.
Thankfully, the side quests are where the game shines. It provides a lot of depth to the story and proper vault hunting. It also showcases a lot of unexplored areas to go to and makes you meet different characters who have been going through bad times in this cruel world and who would do anything to survive. There are few Easter egg enemies you could run into based on Norman Bates (Psycho) and Rick And Morty if you go through the proper side missions as well. There are few weapons which you can also acquire by going to specific places, which I won’t mention since it would be considered to be a spoiler, but going there and doing certain things will give you some specific weapons which can only be acquired by doing certain specific tasks.
Some of these weapons have some amazing stats such as 150% crit damage on top of the additional Crit damage you are already doing as beastmaster or your talent tree passive skills. There are so many weapons in this game that it is not possible for a single person to acquire all of them in a single playthrough. Its highly advisable to play the game with at least two different characters to experience different loadouts, skills and powers and obviously different weapons.
I would highly advise finishing side quests alongside the main quests as they do fill the void left out of the main quests. Most of the sides also have some really good boss fights, few of them having some amazing fight patterns and arenas to fight on. You will definitely be surprised as to how much work has been put on when it comes to side missions. These quests are fun to finish unlike the main quests and few of them even have higher rewards and loots while exploring newer areas( based on your RNG luck of course).
Performance & Visual
Borderlands 3 as its predecessor had a lot of performance issues on day 1. The game had a lot of stuttering while opening the inventory or opening the map to fast travel. Sometimes, there were some missing textures/ loading issues as well due to which a hard restart was necessary to continue playing.
But after the new patch, most of the issues of the game for me was fixed. I did not have any stuttering after that point but there were some fps drops here and there. I played the game on a Zotac GTX 1070 Amp extreme(stock settings) at 1080p with 16 gigs of ram at 2666 MHz with an Intel Core i5 6600k( again at stock settings) and I got around an average of 70-80 fps on high settings with fps dipping to 50s sometimes during combat before the patch. Post patch, things improved and I was getting consistent frame-rates with lesser dips this time during combat.
Borderlands 3 has some of the best visuals that I have seen in a looter shooter video game. Compared directly to borderlands 2, 3 has better worlds to explore and all of them has its own unique blend of theme and charisma that makes it look different from others.
Some are covered with sand, some have neon cyberpunk-themed city settings, while some having a mix of traditional/ old areas with swamps and mini areas with lots and lots of water bodies. All of them were unique and this added a lot to its visuals. On top of that, we have the photo mode as well which I took advantage of, of course.
Going further into the vaults and unexplored areas, you will find even beautiful and breathtaking locations. The colors, textures, lighting together all create a perfect blend of amazing visuals combined with this cell-shaded style graphics which helps showcase the tiniest of details present in all locations and objects.
Music & Voice
Borderlands 3’s OST is a perfect example of how theme music should be made. Whether you are exploring different areas or you are simply staring at the game’s main menu, their theme music is one of the best out there right now. It is very soothing and helps calm you when you are getting irritated by the constant nagging of the Twins over the radio.
Each character in this game has their own voice which differentiates it from the others. During your entire progress, you will come across different characters and once their voice registers in your brain, the next time you would be able to easily guess who is talking to you over the radio even if you are not checking the visual HUD on the top right side. 2K did a great job in this department. The voice feels natural and all have their own body language and personality to go with their voice. Multiple characters talking together also isnt an issue here since their voices can easily be differentiated.
The entire lore of the game is communicated through radio and you miss out on things sometimes, cause you would be busy with managing your inventory or would be indulged in a combat scenario. But the main point is that this process is very smooth due to all characters having different voiced lines and separate queues so that the information given is properly processed by the player on time when needed.
Borderlands 3 Review
- Main Story - 6.5/106.5/10
- Side Quests & End Game - 8/108/10
- Gameplay & Mechanics - 9/109/10
- Performance & Visual - 8/108/10
- Music & Voice - 8.5/108.5/10
- Misc - 8/108/10
Borderlands 3 Final Verdict
Borderlands 3 is a definite must play in my books when it comes to pure gameplay and fun factor. If you are a fan of the looter shooter genre or have played previous Borderlands franchise or even if you are new to this whole series, you should definitely experience this at your own pace. There is much more content coming down the line which will only add more value to the game and also the endgame as well with new weapons and loot.
Whether you buy it now on EPIC or you want to purchase it on the steam store later down the line, you should definitely not miss this game as it is a very good investment and worthy of your time. Even if you are solo or want to play it alone, this game will not disappoint you. I have myself finished the entire campaign with side quests alone and it was a very good experience for me personally. All in all, highly recommended.