Shameful secret: I’m not exactly a fan of Borderlands. I love Claptrap and Tiny Tina (well, just Tina now) but…that’s pretty much the extent of my love for the franchise.

Sure, I played all the games (from the original right up to the Pre-sequel) but I just played them because there was nothing else to play at the time. Given a choice…I’d play Destiny instead.

Weirdly, the Take-Two Borderlands 3 preview changed my mind somewhat…all because of Moze and her Iron Bear mech.

I couldn’t wait to try out Moze on my own terms at home.

So now that I have, what do I think of Borderlands 3?

What is Borderlands 3?

Borderlands 3 (like all the other Borderlands games…except Tales from the Borderlands, I guess) is a loot shooter. Think of it as an unholy amalgam of FPS and RPG with a ton of randomized loot.

This time around the story is much more fleshed out and interesting than before. The plot deals with a new threat; the Calypso Twins.

They’re social media streamers who’ve gathered together all of the bandits and made them into a single army called the Children of the Vault. The twins’ ultimate goal? Open the Great Vault, so Tyreen (one of them) can consume the monster locked inside and gain ultimate power. The plot takes place across multiple planets, which gives it a more epic feel.

It’s certainly tons better than what went before (especially the heavy handed soap opera that was Borderlands 2) though it’s still pretty two dimensional.

There’s a twist revealed in the third act regarding the Calypso Twins but it’s pretty tame and anybody who’s paid attention to the story will have seen it coming.

Instead, what makes the story more interesting is that it incorporates every Vault Hunter and minor character from the past games (with the exception of Handsome Jack of course). If you’ve been with the series from the beginning, you’ll definitely get a kick as you see your old crew join in as your journey.

You’ll even get the chance to fight alongside some of them (which makes me think that we’ll eventually get them as playable Vault Hunters) in some story and side missions, which are the highlight of the game.

New Vault Hunters!

You get four different classes to play as (Vault Hunters as they’re called); Moze, Amara, Zane and FL4K. Each has their own specialties and skills, making them all distinct in playstyles.

Moze (who is also my favourite) has massive firepower AND a mech called Iron Bear that she can summon and ride at any time (provided the skill isn’t on cooldown). FL4K on the other hand uses minions to do his dirty work, utilizing the creatures of Pandora to hurt the baddies you run up against.

All of the Vault Hunters this time around feel much more likeable than the cast in previous games. Perhaps it’s the better lines but they feel much more realistic and fleshed out than previous Vault Hunters (with the exception of Handsome Jack).

Gameplay’s also much more satisfying this time, with the gunplay feeling very, VERY good. I just LOVE the satisfaction you get from nailing somebody with a critical hit from a pistol or sniper rifle.

There are a ton of different gun types (pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, assault rifles and SMGs) but each gun can handle differently depending on its manufacturer and rarity. Some pistols might be revolvers, others might be automatic. Some might even fire explosive bullets!

My current favorite’s this pistol.

On a critical hit, it shoots out multiple homing missiles that targets whoever you landed the critical hit on. With my current Moze build (and massive buffs to her Gun Damage via her skills and artifacts), it can kill elites (called Badass) enemies in just one or two (sometimes three) critical hits.

Here…take a look at this video I recorded for a better idea of how AWESOME Moze and the gun is.

Yes, that 1 health I have is permanent. In return I get about 83% extra Gun Damage (which is stackable with the other damage buffs I get from Moze’s other skills). That’s how I’m able to just burn down things with a couple of hits in True Vault Hunter mode.

Back on topic, the pistols AMAZINGLY fun to use and is just a taste of what you can expect from Borderlands 3.

After all, what other game gives you a gun that shoots OTHER guns?!

In essence, being over the top is pretty much what Borderlands 3 is. Bigger maps, varied locales, wackier guns and crazier cast. I love that you get to journey to other planets in Borderlands 3, though the locales are pretty similar to what we’ve seen before. I wish there were more zero-gee (or at least low gravity) sections (there’s only one part of the game that’s low gravity this time) as that at least made gunplay a bit different with the insane jumps and all.

It’s a shame then that multiplayer for the game needs some tweaking.

Playing with friends.

Local multiplayer is fine, but online multiplayer can be a pain.

Despite the game being recently launched, I have trouble finding players in Asia playing the game. I don’t know why this is…I mean SOMEBODY has got to be playing it right?

I don’t have any trouble at all joining a game (whether it’s Campaign, Proving Grounds or Circle of Slaughter mode) if I set the region to EU or NA.

Therein lies the issue…the lag. Playing with NA or EU players, the game’s pretty laggy. There’s noticeable input lag of about a second or so from button presses to action onscreen. This makes shooting…tricky…to say the least.

However, if you have friends (local hotseat or in the same country), coop is a blast! Enemies are tougher and it’s a better game overall if you’re journeying through it killing with friends at your side.

Leveling with friends to Level 50 is fun and all but there’s a lack of endgame content to play once you hit the cap.

Sure, you can raise your Guardian Rank and get special perks (like a higher item drop rate) but you’ll still be replaying through content you’ve already done; there’s really not much you CAN do at Level 50 at the moment.

No doubt content drops (such as the upcoming Halloween event) and DLC will change this, but for early adopters, once you hit Level 50, the content starts to thin out.

On a PS4 Pro, Borderlands 3 runs smoothly…most of the time. However, in certain sections of the game, the framerate does tank when there are tons of enemies and special effects happening at once.

It’s not much of a drop but it is noticeable, especially if you’re favoring weapons with high accuracy; you’ll notice that handling them becomes a tad sluggish and less responsive overall.

I didn’t notice any slowdown during the insane boss battles though so that’s something to be thankful for. Some of the bosses you fight in the game are NUTS! They strike with screen filling attacks, or cover the screen in special effects. It’s a wonder that the game holds up during these moments.

The bottom line.

I’d like to say that Borderlands 3 made me a convert of the series…but that’s not the case. I’ve certainly changed my opinion of the series to a more positive one, but at the end of the day, despite its changes, Borderlands 3 is pretty much what the previous games are.

You run around the huge environments doing missions for eccentric characters, shoot LOTS of bad guys and get bigger, crazier guns.

If you’re down with that, then by all means, you’re going to love Borderlands 3. However, if you thought that the gameplay loop and juvenile humor of the series were turn-offs, Borderlands 3 will not change your mind in any way at all.

TLDR:

Get if you love the Borderlands series or games like Destiny and The Division. Skip if you’ve hated past games.

The Good.
– New playable characters.
– The shooting!
– The guns!

The Bad.
– Not much endgame content.
– The plot.
– Laggy multiplayer.

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Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at the Taipei Game Show. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at the Taipei Game Show. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.