Monday, 21 October 2019

Borderlands 3 ★★★★★


‘Borderlands 3’ is the latest game from Gearbox and one that fans have been waiting expectantly for. It's been over 5 years since the last mainline entry in the series, and over the years Gearbox has always teased about the game being in development – it wasn't fully revealed until this year with a massive gameplay event showcasing what we’d been waiting for, but would it ever really live up to the hype behind it?


Like most of the ‘Borderlands’ games, you play as one of four drastically diverse Vault Hunters, who all have different specialities and skills to help them kill the onslaught of bandits and beasts, this time not just limited to Pandora. You’ll be travelling via ship or Sanctuary 3 to many planets throughout your journey, offering not only many types of beasts to fight and gain loot from, but also diverse landscapes so stylistically different from one another.

One of my complaints with the previous games in the series was always that the palette was slightly limited, being only on one planet. It always seemed just too brown and yellow, so mixing this up was a great move from the developers. With ‘Borderlands 3’ you’ll go from the sandy deserts of Pandora all the way to futuristic cities of Promethea, and then out to the jungles of Eden-6… And everywhere in between.  There has been a monumental amount of effort put into the detail of the world and, although upon loading there is still some texture pop-in, the game just looks gorgeous.

Of course, with this series, in particular, the three most important areas are the gameplay, writing and loot! In all areas, I think there has been a massive step up in quality. Moment to moment combat feels a lot more fluid this time around, with the additions of a slide move and being able to mantle up objects. There’s a lot more flexibility in combat encounters now, and more approaches that you can take.

The loot system is fantastic as always with the game offering thousands of different RNG guns. It felt like the number of legendaries that drop has been increased – just enough to make you feel like you are getting a few every couple of hours, helping the carrot on stick approach to the game. There is always going to be a new and more powerful gun that you’ll find to add to your arsenal.

This only gets better once you complete the main story and enter Mayhem Mode, where the difficulty increases and you can obtain more experience gain as the enemies are much tougher. It’s an excellent risk/reward mechanic that will keep players coming back for a while to test their skills with the various challenges available.

The writing has always been a sticky point with people and fans as a lot of people just don't click with the over-the-top humour of the game – if you have felt that way before then I don't think ‘Borderlands 3’ will change your mind on it.  I personally love it (especially when Claptrap is involved) and felt there was a lot to like here, with many new and returning characters from the franchise giving some stellar performances. The actual story this time seems to have had a lot more care put into it, with some genuinely heart-wrenching moments and twists that you just won't see coming. I became quite attached to the characters which led to some emotional scenes at points.


If there is one thing that needs improving, it’s the split-screen multiplayer. The online counterpart runs smoothly and is a lot better implemented than in the previous games. The local co-op has a host of technical issues, with performance tanking regularly, and accessing the menu can really affect the framerate. As with previous entries, the menus and text are so difficult to read in split-screen and I found myself having to sit right in front of the TV to compare weapons and so on.

‘Borderlands 3’ is everything I ever wanted from a sequel to one of my favourite series in gaming, with excellent writing, exciting worlds, and so much loot. If you haven't been a fan of ‘Borderlands’ because of the story and writing then I'm not sure this will change your mind on the series, but for new players and old alike then this is a masterpiece of a game.

★★★★★
Hannah Read



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