I’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing Borderlands 3 over the last couple of weeks and I’m starting to realize something. It’s something that I’ve known, but that I’ve tried to ignore. There is no endgame.
When it all comes down to it, Borderlands 3’s endgame is really just an ever-slowing treadmill of gun experimentation. I shoot stuff, I loot stuff, I shoot stuff again. There is no real goal except to find more guns. While this may have worked for Borderlands in the past, this is something developers like Bungie have had to come to terms with. Players just want more now than they used to. Either that, or their bar for quality content has gone up.
The problem I have now with looting more guns in Borderlands 3 is I’m finding myself asking this question: “Okay, so what do I do with this thing now?” The answer is obvious: shoot more stuff. But how long does it take before that goal becomes a monotonous, fruitless venture?
Destiny 2 has provided players with goals beyond just the general looting of things. There are special weapons in the game called Exotics that can only be acquired by completing special quests, some of which are extremely difficult and thus end up being very rewarding. There are daily and weekly challenges to complete that reward players with gear that is often more powerful than what they currently possess. There is a huge library of cosmetics that can be obtained either just by playing the game or spending real money. The point is, the game keeps you going. It keeps you wanting more. At this point in Borderlands 3, I don’t know if there’s really anything more out there that I want.
I don’t even want to do the campaign again with another character because there is no option to skip cutscenes. And I’ve already beaten the campaign twice on one character. Once on Normal mode, and another time on True Vault Hunter Mode. I tried starting another game and couldn’t make it past the opening cutscene before turning it off and finding something else to do.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this game will eventually be something really great and worth more time. But I can’t shake the opinion that developers like Gearbox should have learned by now what players want in a looter shooter. There’s really no reason Borderlands 3 shouldn’t already be what it will become in the future. Games like this one should start at the highest bar and call it up from there. They shouldn’t start low and gradually work up to the bar.
I guess Gearbox had more faith in its fan base than it had merit for. We love Borderlands, guys, but we wanted more than just a different story with different guns. It should have been released as a different experience, not as the same experience with a plan to be different.
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