A lot has changed in the years following the release of Borderlands 2 in 2012. We are in a different gaming sphere than we were back then and the industry alongside the genre that Borderlands sits in also has changed since those years. Borderlands 3 is more of the same as Borderlands 2 and stays true to the formula that has made the franchise so popular in 2009 which there’s nothing wrong with but at the same time, that formula is dated and feels dated; however, with a few changes and the glorious return of Borderlands then it’s easy to fall into habit. Here is my first 10 hours of Borderlands 3.
Once again, you step into the boots of numerous vault hunters each with their unique playstyle and abilities that make them standout. From Moze to FL4K, each character brings something new to the game and brings something that makes them valuable over the other vault hunters which encourages multiple playthroughs. Most playstyles are familiar and are easy to step into and get the hang of it. This is definitely more Borderlands and that’s nothing wrong.
Borderlands 3’s plot focuses on a lot of things. It skewers internet culture, corporate culture, and satirizes the very obvious narcissism and selfishness that many of the characters have. Unlike the original Borderlands or Borderlands 2, the humor in Borderlands 3 is definitely a hit or a miss but everything is taken up a notch. The plot focuses on traveling to other planets which makes this game a welcome sight for sore eyes given the previous installments have stayed on Pandora and focused around Pandorian lore. Borderlands 3 will take you across the galaxy from a beautiful and serene monastery to a city ruled by corporations which is a nice sense of variety and keeps the visual palette pleasing.
As in usual Borderlands tradition, weapons are the real stars. I enjoy the current options at hand and will enjoy the upcoming weapons that I will loot and pick up that feature as much gameplay variety as they are unique. From Assault Rifles to Combat Shotguns to a pistol that shoots out rockets, there’s no end of experimentation. The plethora of options are grand and can feel overwhelming as it can cause a rift between you and what to sell or what to keep and it doesn’t help when the inventory system seems like a return to the original Borderlands? The inventory system appears to be very cumbersome and it doesn’t help either when there are few sell spots.
Borderlands 3’s movement system is very fluid and very nice. Running and sliding, vaulting over cover, and more contribute to exploration and the fast combat. Combat is fast, frenetic, and very good but at the same time, it’s simplistic which is always good in the beginning hours. Later in the game, combat offers more interesting scenarios with mixing of enemies and interesting boss fights that are both challenging and easy, however, many of the enemies are bullet sponges which extends the combat in a way that’s unnecessary. Several of the bosses are guilty of this as well which makes it a terrible slog through the fight.
Borderlands 3 so far seems like great fun and is a celebration of what started the franchise. It’s an amusing ride so far that seems stuck in its ways, which of course is nothing wrong, but you would think there would be a little bit more zing and more pop into the formula after 7 years of waiting. Stay tuned for my review.
* * * *