As I am now closing in on Level 17 on Borderlands 3, I thought it might be time for me to pry myself away from the game to air out my first impressions. If you’re not sure whether you should invest the money (or the time) into the latest installment of the Borderlands franchise, hopefully this article helps.
SPOILER ALERT: this article contains spoilers for Borderlands 3 gameplay features and mechanics. However, no story spoilers will be included.
Borderlands 3 has a lot going for it. It looks great, it sounds great, it feels great, and (for the most part) it runs great. I have read many articles on the game that so far don’t line up with what I’ve experienced. This could be due to the fact that critics have deadlines and burnout is a real thing. Whatever the case, Borderlands 3 is proving to be more than what a lot of people are saying it is.
For starters, the two most common criticisms I’ve seen about Borderlands 3 are its inability to branch out from its roots and its ignorance of its primary audience’s evolved sense of humor. From my point of view, both of these criticisms are about 50% valid.
Borderlands 3 does enough to give us a fresh experience while still staying true to its formula. In regards to its traditional humiliation of pop culture, I think that deserves a break. It’s true that our sense of humor has evolved beyond what Borderlands 3 targets, and that’s primarily due to the fact that as we get older, we realize pop culture is really just a revelation of how messed up the world is. But I like to think that Borderlands’ humor is just how the world of Borderlands is. It’s not there to be funny, it’s just there to add character to the world. Aside from these two issues, here are a lot of the good (and cool) things I’ve noticed so far:
- The guns feel extremely good to shoot and the enemies actually appear to be taking significant damage
- Playing with friends is now much more profitable as enemies scale to individuals and loot can be set to class-specific drops
- The story is fairly easy to follow, with some major plot points dropping within the first act
- I chose to play as FL4K for my first playthrough and the combination of having a pet and the skill tree attached to it is just straight up nasty
- I read an article on Forbes where the author said that even after leaving Pandora, he felt like he never did; after visiting the first planet away from Pandora myself, that comment seems a tad ridiculous (the first planet feels like an ode to Cyberpunk)
- Looting containers is much more seamless as ammo is automatically looted
- Fast travel is almost instantaneous with absolutely no loading screens
- It is a lot easier to make money in Borderlands 3 than it ever has been
- Eridium is now used to purchase cosmetic items and weapons, whereas upgrades to inventory and ammo capacity can be purchased using traditional in-game currency
- The ship is now the new Sanctuary and is a lot of fun, aside from it being a bit of a maze; it includes a personal bunk that you can furnish and decorate throughout the game, a box where you can retrieve lost loot, and of course…Moxxi’s
- The weapon skins are fun to use and often hilarious; I even found one that makes my gun look like poop
- Bathroom humor
So far, there hasn’t been anything that would make me say, “This is a bad experience.” However, like every video game and neglected food pantry, Borderlands 3 does come with bugs, but nothing too unbearable at the moment.
- In one cut-scene, I saw a pistol float across the screen (thought maybe I was hallucinating)
- In another cut-scene, two-thirds of the screen went black for a few seconds
- There are some frame-rate issues on the Xbox One X, especially when navigating menus
- There have been a few occasions when I have been unable to pick up a weapon
- Sometimes grenades don’t explode
- At one point, the sound started to cut in and out, progressively getting worse until I traveled to a new area
I’ll continue to keep you updated as I play through Borderlands 3. For now, keep your head up about this one. It’s proving to be a worthwhile experience.
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