Borderlands 3: Two Fun-Filled Weeks, an Untold Number of Bugs, and a Big Ol’ Bunch of Guns
By Kyle Siegel
Reviewed on Xbox One X
Usually when a game is released this broken, the general populous is up in arms. However, that isn’t the case for this reviewer. While I have used my fair share of expletives playing this game, especially when the game decides to completely shut down my One X while trying to party up with friends, I have had so much fun that I don’t seem to mind…much. After two weeks and a smattering of days, I have amassed close to 75 hours of game time. During that time my Xbox has shut down about a dozen times, and when playing the Circles of Slaughter enemies have phased through the background never to return to the land of the killable more times than I care to count. Another issue that is unforgivable is the inability to play the game in performance mode. While playing in performance mode, the game stutters, freezes up, and kicks you to the main menu. Of course playing in resolution mode is definitely pretty in 4K, but I would like to enjoy the 60 fps that were promised. Even though several hot fixes have been released in the past week, they have not addressed these issues. They have seemed to primarily nerf loot drops and fix several interface issues. Now that I have the obligatory complaining out of the way, I can focus on the things Borderlands 3 has done well.
Borderlands 3 at its core is an irreverent looter shooter that ticks all of the boxes with what I want from a game of this type. The humor laced throughout the game keeps you looking forward to the next interaction with whatever NPC happens to wander in front of you. The jokes come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Some are in your face while some are so subtle you have to ask yourself if you just heard what you thought you heard. The pop culture references alone are worth the price of admission so to speak. While the humor is great, humor alone can’t hold your attention if the core gameplay isn’t there. Borderlands 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel in the gameplay aspect, but it is distinctly Borderlands and that is great. Over the years the Borderlands games have had a distinct feel that has separated them from the rest of the shooter pack, and Borderlands 3 has continued that trend. Once again the player has four new characters in which to choose from. These characters are as different from one another in their play style as they were in the previous games. A returning feature for Borderlands 3 is the ability to build your character from three different skill trees. No two character builds will be the same depending on which play style the player chooses to use. Players can choose from the non-binary “Beastmaster” FL4K, the “Siren” Amara, the “Gunner” Moze, and the “Operative” Zane. For my first playthrough I chose to go with FL4K. FL4K is a sentient robot that focuses on Critical Hit damage, as well as having three different pet companions to choose from. Without getting too deep into each character, it is safe to say that there is a character and a build for everyone out there playing this game.
When playing through the story mode, players will encounter enemies that will remain challenging enough to fight so long as you don’t choose to grind like I did and continue to do. My recommendation is to play through the story first and then focus on grinding for levels and equipment after the fact if you wish the core game to stay challenging. If, however, you the player enjoy blasting through late stage bosses with the greatest of ease then by all means grind. Grind to your heart’s content. Grind like you are a daytime stripper trying to pay your kids’ way through college. When playing with friends, the game is nice enough to scale the enemies to each player’s level so there is still a challenge. If grinding is your cup of tea or if you just crave sweet, sweet money, then I recommend playing through the Circles of Slaughter. Circles is a wave based challenge that will grant those lucky enough to make it through glitch-free with obscene amounts of weapons and cash. Cash is king and if you want good Ol’ Marcus to level up the capacity of your ammo, bank, backpack, ect., then you will need a boatload of it. The downside of Circles is that you will level up so many times. While this is usually a good thing, see my previous complaint about being overpowered during the first playthrough of the story. There are several other modes in which to explore, but seeing as I haven’t played through them, I shall not comment at this time. Finally this brings us to one last thing…
GUN PORN. That’s right, Gun Porn. The Borderlands series of games have always boasted an obscene amount of guns and gear for the aspiring vault hunters out there, and this game doesn’t disappoint. There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking down a boss only to have a sea of white, green, blue, orange, and yellow rain down upon the glorious battlefield. Again, with any Borderlands games, minus Tales from the Borderlands, guns and gear reign supreme. If you don’t like the guns and gear you have at the moment, new ones are only a battle away. Just one word of advice. Don’t get too attached to that special gun of yours. It will soon be outdated and causing you more grief than it is worth. Guns and gear, much like the times, they are a-changin’.
When all is said and done, Borderlands 3 is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the series or just mayhem in general. Sure the bugs and glitches are beyond annoying, but those things will be patched out of existence. If you like to laugh, blow pixelated things and people up, and lust after loot, then Borderlands 3 is the game for you. I would give it 9 out of 10 Claptraps. Now quit reading this and go blow up some cannibal Psychos. I heard them talking smack behind your back.