‘Borderlands 3’ Review (PC/Steam)

Note: I only started playing this around two weeks ago at the time of review, as it released on Steam on March, 13, 2020.

To begin with, I will state a few facts to keep in mind I as I discuss my thoughts and review the game: I have beaten ‘Borderlands 2’ in it’s entirety. Every DLC, as well. I didn’t beat the original Borderlands as I found it to not be that great, so I stopped about halfway through. This playthrough was on PC, through Steam. I purchased the super deluxe edition as it was marked down heavily during the initial days of the Steam release. I played through the main game of ‘Borderlands 3’, around half the side missions and all of the DLC ‘Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot’, all on normal difficulty. My playthrough took around 70 hours over the course of 13 days. The fact that a pandemic is occurring and I can’t do other things I usually do is the reason I played so much so quickly. Otherwise, it would have taken far longer.

Now to the review…

‘Borderlands 3’ is in no way a bad game, as it has many merits. I also can’t really call it a great game either. It is an excellent example – for me – of a game that is middling. That calls for a lot more explanation, so I will break the positives and the negatives down, describe my character and build, and then conclude.

Screenshot (26)
My Character

First, negatives:

  • Audio syncing issues
  • Annoying main villains
  • Slightly repetitive
  • Humor can often be cringeworthy
  • Tries to push girl power way too far

The audio syncing issues occurred in a few key cinematics, and were extremely offputing and immersion breaking. The two main villains were annoying and had no interesting qualities. The gameplay loop can get slightly repetitive after doing the same thing over and over. The humor was great when it worked, but three fourths of the time was cringy and unfunny. They tried way too hard in my opinion, rather than having the humor be more subtle and expressive, like in ‘Borderlands 2’. Lastly, the game tries to push girl power way too far. I’m all for a narrative where women are badass, capable fighters and play a center role. But, I don’t need the narrative to draw attention to that. Just show me how badass they are, don’t shove it down my throat and constantly highlight it. For example, ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender‘ did this very well with many characters. It showed how badass they were, without going “Look, she’s a girl! Look, look!”

Now, positives:

  • Fun gunplay and combat
  • Fun and diverse weaponry
  • Decent music
  • Decent mini-bosses
  • Very long game; no skimping here
  • When the humor lands, it’s great

The combat is extremely fun. Zipping around, using action skills, ordering your pet strategically (as I played the character ‘FL4K’ who has a pet in combat), using cover and tossing grenades at opportune moments… it’s great. The weaponry is also extremely diverse, having a multitude of differing aspects to consider for every gun, shield and grenade. There was a lot of thought put into how all this would function. The music wasn’t fantastic, but it served its purpose effectively.  The mini-bosses in the game were almost all great. Each one was better than the two main villains, actually. The game is also very, very long as you can see by my playtime mentioned above. You’ll get more than enough for your money provided you bought the regular edition, or got one of the other editions during a major discount like I did. Lastly, the humor that landed was extremely funny. It’s just a shame that only around a fourth of it worked.

borderlands_3_beastmaster_2

Now, to quickly discuss my build…

I played the character of ‘FL4K’, a robotic beastmater who uses a pet as a combat companion. My build was focused on regaining health quickly for myself and my pet, my pet doing maximum damage and the ability ‘Rakk Attack’ where creatures called Rakk shoot out of your hands and act like heat seeking missiles. My pet was the spiderant. I named her Shrax. I played a very fast-paced and hard to kill character by building FL4K as stated. I only died around twenty times in fact, even though about 50 of my around 70 hours with the game was combat.

So, to summarize…

‘Borderlands 3’ is a fun and engaging game. But, it’s no masterpiece either. There are things I loved and things I hated about it. If you’re looking to kill time, laugh a bit and shoot a lot of bad guys, it’ll do just fine.

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