Don’t get me wrong. I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming release of Borderlands 3. I’m even taking a day off work for it. Yet, I can’t ignore this gnawing in the back of my mind that tells me it’s not going to be what I hope it is. And the more game footage I see, the more that feeling gets affirmed. I know better than to judge a product by the glimpses I get of it before its release, but isn’t the purpose of those glimpses to build my excitement for it?
WHAT I’M SURE OF
There are three things about Borderlands 3 that I’m most excited for: the story, the playable characters, and the weapons. The story of each Borderlands game is always highly entertaining and a worthwhile investment. Especially when Handsome Jack entered the picture. I’ve only ever seen a villain so twisted and evil as Handsome Jack in Final Fantasy 7 (Sephiroth), and it was a pleasure to watch his character develop over the course of several Borderlands games. I have no doubt that the story of Borderlands 3 will follow in the footsteps of the games before it.
There’s no denying the sheer absurdity that accompanies the variety and amount of weapons available in each Borderlands game, and for someone who is absolutely obsessed with loot, each game is an over-the-top enjoyable experience. I mean…there’s a Burger Cannon and a Gun Gun (a gun that shoots guns). What more could you ask for?
The playable characters of Borderlands 3 and their unique abilities are certainly going to be an enjoyable experience. This entry to the franchise brings along with it four new vault hunters for players to choose from: Amara “The Siren,” Fl4k “The Beast Master,” Moze “The Gunner,” and Zane “The Operative.” For more information on the characters and their abilities, you can check out MentalMars’ breakdown here or click on each character’s name. The unique abilities that each of these characters bring to the table are bound to keep things interesting for a while.
WHAT I’M AFRAID OF
There are always hesitations I have with new games that are the continuation of a series or franchise. I always ask myself this question: “Do I really want this to be a different game, or do I want it to be a better version of what it already is?” The things is, I don’t really know what I want. And I don’t think most people do.
We all think we want something different until we actually get it, then we miss what it used to be. Either that or we want things to stay the same way, and then we end up realizing we want more. This indecisiveness is all due to the unfair comparison of the present and the past. But when it comes to a beloved franchise such as Borderlands, that’s difficult not to do.
In a recent blog by Joshua Rivera of Kotaku, Rivera affirms my fears when he painfully states, “In a lot of ways…Borderlands 3 feels a lot like the exact same kind of game the previous three were.” Albeit, this was from a 5-hour hands-on preview, so it’s not sufficient evidence of what Borderlands 3 really is. Still, this is disappointing news. But even though I think this is the opposite of what I want to hear, is it really? Do I really want Borderlands to change? Yes and no.
Realistically, you can’t change an original idea to the point that it becomes something completely different. However, creative risks are necessary in order to keep an idea moving forward. This is the inevitable conflict that occurs when an idea grows beyond its early stages.
I’ll admit it. Borderlands is a franchise that could probably use an overhaul. We all know what to expect of it, and that’s an unfortunate truth. Right now, anyone who is hyped about the upcoming installment is probably remembering all the time they spent enjoying the previous games. But what they’re neglecting to consider is that they likely don’t really want to play the previous games again. They want the same experience, but they don’t want the same game.
Now is probably a good time for the whole of Borderlands’ fanbase to bring their expectations down to a realistic level and consider the possibility that this may not be the game that they think it will be. I will personally find enjoyment in the game despite the outcome, especially when playing with friends. It is very rare that I don’t enjoy the games that I play. It comes down to a decision to enjoy the game that it is and not the game that I wish it could be.
Borderlands 3 is set to release September 13, 2019. What do you think? Are you expecting to be disappointed by Borderlands 3? Do you think it will be the game you want it to be? Let me know in the comments. For more from me on Borderlands 3, click here.
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