Good ol’ Marcus furnishes us with a story to start off Borderlands 3. Fame, glory, and carnage lies ahead for those on the path of the Vault Hunter, mostly. Back in Pandora once again, in a familiar yet new landscape, dive into the game and experience what it does best: lots of guts and gunfire.
In what seems like now customary fashion, Borderlands 3‘s options menus are vast and varied, with added accessibility options. There’s even difficulty options for those who require it! There’s no need to discuss over loot or level gaps either should you play on the Cooperation mode. If you want the experience you’re used to in Borderlands 1 and 2, then Normal/”Coopetition” is still there for you.
As you would know, there’s four new Vault Hunters ready to rip holes in anything that moves. I played FL4K, eager to try out the pets to compensate for my abysmal aiming abilities. If that’s not your playstyle, there’s still three others to pick: Moze with her Iron Bear, Amara the Siren, and Zane who shows off his nifty gadgets in the opening.
Customization options have gone through the roof. From selecting two-tone colours on the details of your clothes to the parts of vehicles you “borrow”, there’ll be plenty of tinkering to do. That’s not even getting into the guns! We can probably get into those later. Like we’ve mentioned in our coverage of the demo, you can now slip and slide! Personally, it feels a mite awkward since you’re kept crouched at the end of the slide, but it stands to reason – no pun intended – you’re trying to zip from cover to cover. You can also climb up ledges when before you’d just bounce off.
Combat mostly works the same, with the added flavours coming from the skill trees. You’re eased back into the controls with the tutorial firefight and boss battles, or if you’re new, you’ll be picking it up quick. It’s an open world out there, so use cover and listen out for audio cues, or watch out for flying projectiles!
FL4K’s pet works independently, and FL4K themselves can use an action skill – like the Rakks I used – separately from Broodless (the Spiderant). Further in the skill tree, I’d be able to augment the action skill with various properties. I can “pet” Broadless, which objectively makes FL4K the best character.
The story more or less follows after the epilogue of Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary DLC of Borderlands 2. Sanctuary and the Crimson Raiders are essentially in shambles. Get quests and go places and gun down everything that stands in your way. The Calypso Twins can wait while you bus around getting spines for Marcus or a new hat for Claptrap.
It’s a cosmetic touch, but you can see your character holding up the ECHO Device instead of it being beamed right in front of you. It’s the little details that can serve to make the world come alive. There’s the usual signage like that of the Children of the Vault that you can read. Who knows, maybe some cameo will pop up somewhere…
Let’s talk guns. Guns now have alternate fire modes, allowing for even more flexibility and possible configurations! Guns have their usual variety of attachments, so any one gun can be quite different from the rest. There’s more brands too with their unique properties. Equipment comes with their own item score, just to be a little more helpful in deciding what to and not to junk. The vending machines have their usual item of the day offerings as well. Gotta collect them all!
The map outline is available to you from the get-go, and is slowly coloured in as you discover areas. A nice change from previous games in the series is that now you can just select a Fast Travel location directly from your map! No need to hustle to the nearest point or juggle vehicles just to travel!
For you customization fiends, Borderlands 3 has a Photo Mode for you to take your best selfies. There’s no rule against Vault Hunters having social media, is there? What’s all the fashion for if not to look cute/cool while drenched in the blood of your enemies?
Now, what of the villains? The Calypso Twins are your primary antagonists, leading the Children of the Vault. They’re clearly inspired by Youtubers and/or Twitch streamers, what with their “Like, subscribe and obey” shtick, and “livescreams”. Tyrene is the first one you’d really get to hear speak, and she certainly sounds cordial enough at first blush. Minus the whole, wanton murder of followers thing, but details. She piques my interest in the way that I want to wipe that smugness off her. That’s probably good in a way that drives me to continue getting strong and collecting crazy guns in my quest to beat her to the Vaults.
So, how’s the whole planet skipping? Borderlands 3 is bigger than ever, and I’m only getting a taste of just how much land there is to travel. You get reacquainted with characters on board your snazzy new spaceship, christened Sanctuary, and here’s your true hub area. Moxxi is back with a new do, Crazy Earl doing Crazy Earl things… you get the drill.
Already, you can see the difference in the presentation of the planets, quickly setting your next destination, Promethea, apart from the wasteland of Pandora. More places to explore, more quests to uncover, more mooks for you to test your crazy guns on! You’re going interstellar, Vault Hunter!
Borderlands 3 at its core is a lot of more of the same. If you’re a long time fan, this game will have your fill of tongue in cheek humour, crazy explosions, and cameos of your favourite characters coming up yet. Be it on console, on the Epic Games Store, or just waiting for the timed exclusivity to end, Borderlands 3 will be there waiting for you, to rip your path through to the Vaults. Go get them, killer.
You get more shooty, more gun, same old faces, new places to put holes into. Hurray!
- The good ol' looting shooty action in an updated package
- New cast of characters play off the old pretty well
- Humour is once again not necessarily for everyone
Run and gun, run and gun!!!