Welcome to our Borderlands 3 review. It’s been seven years since Gearbox and 2K dropped the amazing Borderlands 2 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC and now it’s finally time for Borderlands 3 to take the throne.
- Borderlands 3
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Gearbox Studios
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Multiplayer: Online and Local 2-4 players
- Available: 13th September 2019
- Price: £59.99 (U.K), $59.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 18 (UK/EU), M (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
If you’ve ever played a Borderlands game before then you will know what to expect from Borderlands 3, such as a bazillion different guns, humorous moments, strange characters, and a dumb but lovable robot who goes by the name of CL4P TP, or CLAP TRAP. All of this makes a return in Gearbox’s latest loot and shoot game. There are of course a tonne of new things as well, such as bigger worlds beyond Pandora, a new and improved skill tree system, a bazillion more guns on top of the previous game’s bazillion guns, and of course, let’s not forget our new Vault Hunters. For the most part, Borderlands 3 isn’t much different from the previous games, but it is much better.
Taking place a few years after the events of Borderlands 2, Borderlands 3 sees you starting off as one of the four new vault hunters as they fight against the game’s common enemies, The Children Of The Vault, led by none other than the game’s main antagonists, the ever so annoyingly cliche, Calypso Twins who are basically a brother and sister duo who are similar in a way to YouTubers in that they love attention. I won’t say much more about the story as I don’t want to be a game spoiler, other than it’s really well written and knows how to keep you hooked.
As is the case with Borderlands games, players get the choice of one of any of the four Vault Hunters to play as and each one has his or her own unique skills that are upgradeable through the skill tree. There’s Zane, who uses technology to his advantage on the battlefield, FL4K, the Beastmaster, who has the aid of animals, Amara, the Siren, who’s equipped with powers and hard-hitting melee skills, and lastly Moze, who has the help of a giant mech. Like all previous games in the series, you can play through Borderlands 3 with each character if you wish. I’m currently using Zane and really like his skills especially the Digi clone skill that places a digital version of Zane on the battlefield and somehow confuses the enemies.
Borderlands 3 introduces a new planet system that means you won’t spend all of your time on Pandora as you did in number 2. Each of the game’s planets is fairly huge in size with a few different areas for you to explore in an open-world style. Throughout each planet you’ll find a range of collectibles from radio towers that need their station changing, Typhon logs, dead CL4P TP units, and Eridian writings. Thankfully you don’t have to spend hours upon hours looking for each of these collectibles across the game’s massive worlds as each collectible appears on the map, giving a rough idea of where to look.
Since a lot of the game’s areas are multi-layered, the map has a 3D effect which allows you to move it in many directions to help you figure out where things like steps up or down and ramps may be. Since the maps are so big, they do feel a bit cluttered and this can make using them a bit of a chore sometimes, in that it can be hard to figure out where certain paths are.
Also available to find on each planet are special assignments assigned by certain characters. Assignments include things like acquiring a certain vehicle and returning it to a catch-a-ride station to unlock new parts and taking out certain monsters. Each of these little assignments features its own rewards given to you by the character you did the assignment for.
Just like previous Borderlands games, Borderlands 3 offers you a number of side quests in addition to the main story quests. What you do in these quests varies from quest to quest, for example, one sidequest available early on in the game has you going to fetch some coffee, but since this is Borderlands it’s not just a case of buying it and returning, nope, some heads will have to roll, and another quest has you taking out a group of trouble-causing bad guys. While some sidequests do create a bit of repetitiveness, for the most part, they are really fun and do bring a lot more to the game. If you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself trying to clear all available sidequests before moving on in the story.
Something that was missing from Borderlands 2, but is now in place in Borderlands 3 was the ability to climb. Since Borderlands 3 features collectibles, some on rooftops it’s now possible to climb certain areas in order to reach things. Things such as containers and ledges can be easily climbed with climbable paths clearly marked with paint. Just because you can climb doesn’t mean it will be easy as some collectibles are placed in areas that will require a combination of climbing and jumping, which I can honestly say leads to some moments of frustration.
The RPG system remains within Borderlands 3 and you’ll find yourself levelling up from experience you’ll earn from a number of things such as kills, finding collectibles and completing quests. Each time you level up you’ll earn one skill point which you can use for your character’s skills tree to enhance their unique abilities. The choice of what you enhance is yours and through this, you’ll be able to tailor your character in a way that suits your gameplay style.
Across the many planets, quests, and sidequests you’ll come across a bunch of different enemies who want to kill you. The game’s mascot, Psychos, are fully in attendance as well as a load of unfamiliar faces. For the first time ever in the series, there are now female Psychos roaming about and make no mistake, these guys are just as rough and bloodthirsty as their male counterparts. The difficulty of killing enemies comes down to your level and weapon choice. Some enemies will take barely any damage from certain weapons, while others will go down in a few hits.
As well as the small fry enemies, you’ll face quite a few different bosses on your journey and each one presents its own challenges and won’t give you an easy ride, especially if you’re ill-prepared for the battle. It’s also best to go into these fights with a wide range of weapons both elemental and none elemental.
Weapons and loot are everywhere in Borderlands 3 and with more guns and grenades then ever before there’s lots of fun to be had playing around with different setups. As before there are some weapons that shoot ordinary ammo and some that shoot element enhanced ammo. Elements in the game include previous ones such as electricity, corrosive liquid, ice, and fire. A new addition is radiation, which behaves in a similar manner to corrosiveness. Borderlands 3 also introduces the ability to combine said elements with the environment, so, for example, a puddle of water or a lake could be shot at with an electric weapon to affect anyone stood in it, or an oil spill could be shot at with a fire element weapon to create a small blaze. This small, but effective addition is a great way to use the area to your advantage, especially when you’re facing loads of enemies.
The vehicle system has also been greatly improved with access to more vehicles and more modification options. Modification options are unlocked by collecting vehicles for Ellie and returning them to Catch-A-Ride stations. Unfortunately, vehicle controls are still on the terrible side even when you change them in the settings, but this is something you’ll most likely get used to against your will.
A big part of any Borderlands game is its Co-Op play and while it remains pretty much the same in Borderlands 3 as it did in other games of the series there are a few new tweaks such as the ability to signal other players using a marking system. Just like previous games, you can team up with up to three other Vault Hunters to work your way through the game. There’s also a really cool social aspect implemented into the game, which allows you to send and receive weapons to/from other players in your friend’s list even if they’re not playing the game with you. I’ve used this system a few times and it works flawlessly, admittedly I’ve also used it to get rid of junk weapons when my inventory is full and I’m nowhere near a vending machine to sell them off.
Throughout the game, you’ll also receive guns from the lovely weapon manufacturers of the Borderlands for reaching certain milestones with their weapons. These will go to an email inbox you can find in the social tab of the pause menu.
There’s also some new end game content that you can more read about here.
In conclusion, Borderlands 3 is the game I was expecting from the very start. It’s very much the same Borderlands we all know and love but it has been improved with a few new additions and small tweaks to the formula, tweaks which have made this the best Borderlands game yet in my opinion. Whether you’re a veteran Vault Hunter or a newbie, Borderlands 3 is definitely a game I would recommend.
That concludes our Borderlands 3 review. To purchase the game digitally on PS4, check out the links below.