Borderlands 3 Spoiler review

Finally, I have finished Borderlands 3. By finished, I mean completed all the main story missions and rolled credits. It honestly felt like a weight off my shoulders, right before the release of Ghost Recon. Now that it’s out of the way I can just focus on being incredibly excited to see Joker this weekend. I am going to go into the spoiler for the end of the game now so if you’ve not got there yet, don’t read on unless you don’t care for spoilers. To be honest, there isn’t much worth spoiling. 

Borderlands 3 ends how it starts, with loads of shooting.  The final battles and final levels are all just jump and shoot bullet sponge bosses, which is ordinarily fine, but being outshone by other bosses earlier in the game isn’t a great look for Tyreen and Troy Calypso. The twins who have been one step ahead of you and the Crimson Raiders all game finally confront you, but don’t use any of the powers we have seen them display through the games story cut scenes up to this point, its flabbergasting.

Finally found a reason to use the word flabbergasting.

Troy Calypso has become a powerful Siren in his own right and has been using an ability called “Phaselock” on an entire Moon to pull it towards a planet. Does he use this Phase lock on you, the one who has wiped out thousands of his minions and is now clearly the only obstacle in his way? of course not. It’s not even acknowledged as something he could do in the final battle with him.

Tyreen spends the game leeching peoples life away with ease, even stripping Crimson Raiders leader Lilith of her powers. You fight her and she has essentially become a god we are told. Well tell that to my machine gun. She is the final fight in the story mode, and it’s one of the easiest fights in the game, perhaps surpassed only by Troy. I didn’t come close to dying in either fight and all they involved was jumping over some sweeping attacks and running in circles and shooting them.

Perhaps I had overpowered weapons and a higher-level character? Well according to the game I was levels below both Troy and Tyreen, and my guns even lower than that. The guns are the only reason it was slightly enjoyable to play through, as I was continuously throwing my Tediore submachine guns around, so I had a mini army of turrets. The range of guns really is this game saving grace.

I must point out that I didn’t want to be pummelled Dark souls’ style in Borderlands 3, I just wanted to see something a bit different for the final few fights. There is a Vault monster earlier in the game where the attacks it has are wildly varied, and then it affects the actual battle area you are fighting in and you have to think about what you are doing and where you are positioned, as well as pumping him full of bullets, and fighting off minions. It’s a challengingly fun boss fight, and me and a mate played it and really enjoyed it. That high bar is never touched again, and it is a more intimidating presence than the “Destroyer” that is spoken about and then revealed at the end.

Mechanics aside, the story is quite good, and I found it entertaining and its attempts at an emotional twist at the end are well done. I am not entirely sure what or how Lilith does what she does, but it certainly looks cool. Borderlands has set up Siren’s to be this bad ass thing, but I have no idea what their powers are supposed to be. They all seem to be capable of whatever the story requires of them. The main issue I have with the story in Borderlands 3 is that the character you play as, the one doing all the work, is completely unimportant to the story. You’re referred to as Vault Hunter all game, not by the name of the character you chose, and you’re not in any of the cut scenes.

It’s so odd, you spend 20 minutes fighting a boss battle, only for your guy to be completely ignored in the scenes. Quite what the point in all the customisation was is beyond me, as you only ever see your character when you perform an Emote or get into a vehicle. I played as Zane, and early game I felt like there was a connection brewing between Zane and Ava, a parent daughter type thing, and perhaps that was intended. The final missions she comes along and maybe that was supposed to pay off there, but due to Zane being missing from every cut scene. I felt sort of detached from the main story. Sure, Tyreen and Troy did some awful stuff, but no character has ever shared a scene with my green haired bad ass, so why do I care. It feels like I was playing as a mercenary whose job was to do the shooting for Lilith.

I feel like I am being harsh on a game I did enjoy playing, but it’s because the potential for this game is sky high. Better writing more intelligently set up boss fights with some challenging mechanics in there and including your character in the story would have made this a 10/10 game of the year contender. As it is, it’s a solid game, and a good return to a really fun universe. I hope the next borderlands game takes what 3 has achieved and really builds on it. Perhaps giving us the chance to make a completely new character and make them have whatever abilities we choose. It would be something new, and the range of characters we already have is certainly one I want to see more of.

That’s it for Borderlands 3 for me, and therefore this will probably be the last post about the game for a while. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it!

‘Til tomorrow.

ChAzJS

 

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Borderlands 3 Review

The wait for Borderlands 3 has been a long one. It’s been seven years since Borderlands 2 really popularised the looter shooter genre, and in that time, we have seen several games take a similar model and be successful. The main one that comes to mind is Destiny 2, a game I really enjoy and think has perfected that addictive cycle of wanting to keep playing to get that next weapon. 

One key difference between Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2, is that the multiplayer isn’t as prominent. The multiplayer side of Borderlands now is a bit laggy and I prefer playing solo which is unusual. I have played a couple of hours in some mate’s games, but my own campaign has been entirely solo. I have just beaten the first Vault, so I am not 100% through yet, but I’ve certainly played enough to know what this game is all about.

The story is driven by antagonist The Calypso Twins, a pair of powerful siblings who are using a twitch like streaming platform to gain followers to join their cause and fight for them. That gives them an army of varied types to blast away with the plethora of guns in the game as you, the Vault Hunter, are tasked with beating them to the vaults. The game brings back several old characters from previous games, all the main characters from Borderlands 1 and 2 are on the cover and there’s characters from side games like the Pre-sequel and even TellTale’s “Tales from the Borderlands” game which is a nice touch and brings everything together.

I won’t go into the story any more than that, but so far, it’s a fine story, and that is all it is. The twins are fun villains but they’re missing the magic that Handsome Jack brought with him. It’s a tough bar to reach, but that is the precedent set when you deliver one of the best video game villains ever. Of course, I am not all the way through the game yet, and they have done some nasty stuff so far, so maybe they will get up near that level by the end of the story.

The reason to play Borderlands isn’t really for the story though, that’s just the vehicle that delivers the enemies for you to shoot, punch, explode and splatter at your leisure. I played as Zane and found his duel abilities all combine quite well. The shield he drops is a mainstay for me, and I swap out his doppelganger and drone abilities as and when I get bored of playing one or the other. They all feel very useful though, and although he doesn’t have an ultimate akin to the others like a giant mech suit that drops down for another playable character, but he does have a more consistent effect on the battlefield. Playing solo his shield provides a very useful defensive option that has save my bacon countless times throughout my time with the game and the drone can pester enemies for you and keep things from getting out of hand.

Each of the abilities are linked to their own skill trees, and as you level up you invest points into the trees to unlock augments and effects that change the way you use your arsenal. Late game, these options become very customisable and will make for some great gameplay fun trying out the different load outs. These abilities all contribute to the core gameplay, but none of them are vital to the game as the incredible selection of guns.

Guns are what Borderlands 3 does best, and it does it by giving you absolutely hundreds of them within hours of the game. It’s rare to get two of the same gun, and if you do it will have two different sets of effects and stats, so there is an even smaller chance of ever getting the exact same gun two times besides from the legendary weapons that your friends might stumble upon too. Every gun has a twist, every gun is powerful in its own way, and they are all brilliantly brought to life with attention to detail you wouldn’t expect in a game with so many options on the guns. Firing pins pop in and out of guns as they fire, a lot of guns have clip counters on them that count down, there’s pipes and nozzles flashing all over the place, it’s the best part of the game and I am glad they got it right.

I don’t believe I have kept the same set of weapons for any two consecutive missions yet, which is testament to the games loot system which is balanced heavily towards giving you way too much. early game you will find yourself having to throw out guns and items in favour of storing more valuable loot in your backpack, but as you invest more into the storage upgrades you can really start making plenty of in game money to keep yourself stocked up on ammo. You can buy weapons but so far, I have not bought one, there just isn’t any need.

Borderlands 3 delivers almost exactly what I expected from it, which is Borderlands 2 with just more stuff. There are more guns with some new tricks and features, more enemies with some slightly different attributes, and some new planets to explore. The planets all kind of have the same desperate tone so far, even if the environment looks different. They all are being attacked by the same enemies and that means you’re having similar fights everywhere, just the scenery is different. The boss fights are varied and fun, offering twists on the normal game play beyond just being bullet sponges, which there are of course.

It’s More-derlands, with nothing ground-breaking being introduced to the formula. They know what works, and they’ve worked on perfecting it. If you enjoyed the previous games you will enjoy this one for sure, just don’t expect anything new. It feels a little like a game made with blinkers on, ignoring the outside gaming world and sticking to its Guns.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.

7/10 – More, More, More.