It looks like the second half of 2019 is going to make for some pretty big game releases! They’ve all been surprisingly decent so far, too – Control is a good time, Gears 5 is lovely for Gears fans, and if you own a Switch and haven’t played Astral Chain then you’re missing out because it’s pretty great (and greatly pretty). There’s been no shortage of great games this year and that’s a good thing for everyone.
As we’re getting closer to the holiday season, though, we’re starting to see the real heavy hitters come out as publisher all want your precious dollars. Case in point: Gearbox’s much-awaited Borderlands 3. That’s right, it’s here.
Some time after the defeat of Handsome Jack, the backwater world of Pandora hasn’t actually changed all that much. Sure, Hyperion’s no longer running the show, but there’s still Skags eating people, Vault Hunters seeking the big haul and, of course, bandits. Well, that last one’s a little different – the bandits have gotten organized into a cult called the Children of the Vault thanks to the villainous Calypso Twins. They’re after the mythical Great Vault, and coincidentally you’d like to find it as well. Your search will pit you against the cult, the high-tech and highly-villainous Maliwan corporation and, naturally, plenty of Skags as you embark on a galaxy-spanning quest.
How does it play? Well…it’s Borderlands. More Borderlands. A LOT more Borderlands, actually. This third entry in the series introduces some refinements to the concept but this is still very recognizably the classic looter-shooter experience we all know and love. You’ve got a new set of four classes, ranging from the pet-wielding Beastmaster to the mech-wielding Gunner, and they’ve each got three skill trees that result in significantly different playstyles. You’ll pick one and get to work blasting baddies and collecting goodies to your heart’s content, with a big focus on the many, many randomly-generated guns the game’s going to throw at you.
Those refinements largely center around improving quality of life and making the whole experience just that tiny bit more interesting. You automatically pick up relevant ammo without having to push a button, for instance, shotguns now pack the kind of kick you’d expect from that type of weapon, and many weapons have interesting secondary fire modes like an underbarrel rocket launcher or a swappable elemental type.
From a character perspective, those three skill trees on each character now make for three different action skills, further diversifying your characters’ builds. You can customize vehicles, you can (aesthetically) customize guns…and…well, that all pretty much sums it up. It’s Borderlands.
Borderlands 3 benefits from a number of presentation improvements without especially differing from the series’ basic formula as well. It certainly looks great if you’ve got a solid gaming rig, though I’m told the console versions don’t fare quite as well. On PC, though, there’s few issues and everything plays like a dream. Naturally, Borderlands 3 really, really wants you to play with others, and I found that this is easy and effective thanks to a new level-scaling option that doesn’t penalize you getting out of sync with your pals.
Remember how I basically just said that this is Borderlands, but more so? Turns out that makes summarizing this one pretty easy! Do you like Borderlands? Good, because there’s loads of it here. Borderlands 3 is on the lengthy side, edging up on 40 hours or more, though I felt the game began to outstay its welcome before all was said and done. Too much of a good thing? You’ll have to decide for yourselves, but diehard fans of the series can rest assured that you’ll get exactly what you want here. And then some.