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Borderlands 3 Review for PC, PS4, Xbox One

All you need to know about Borderlands 3
Borderlands 3 Review for PC, PS4, Xbox One

Check out our verdict on Gearbox Software’s loot-shooter, available now on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Borderlands 3 Review for PC, PS4, Xbox One

Borderlands 3 is a game that is full of energy, and comes intending to reclaim its throne as the king of the loot-shooters. Does it succeed? Read on to find out!

  • Genre: Action Role-Playing FPS
  • Release Date: 13 September 2019
  • Platform(s): PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Price: $59.99
  • Review Version: PC

With the Borderlands series, Gearbox has created a real universe. This has sometimes been supported by titles focused solely on developing the lore, such as the excellent Tales from the Borderlands.

With this third episode, a page has turned and proposes you find all the characters you’ve learned to appreciate over the years, and then say goodbye to some of them. A new threat looms over the galaxy — the Calypso Twins believe they are the Vault’s chosen ones, and are searching for its power alongside their fervent followers.

This prompts our heroes to set sail in pursuit aboard the Sanctuary III, a ‘village ship’ that serves as a central hub throughout the adventure. From here you know that many adventures will take place over the course of the journey, and there will be losses along the way. You’ll also learn more about Typhon DeLeon, an important central character in the Borderlands universe.

It’s a story that could have been rather nice to follow along to, but the quality of the writing leaves something to be desired. Endless sequences of dialogue break the rhythm, and as for the game’s cutscenes, they are marked by a softer humour than jokes in previous games.

Speaking of the humour — perhaps the trademark of the franchise — it’s not really something to be celebrated here. While some side quests and other gags made us laugh, the overabundance of puerile jokes (which we usually love) completely stunned us.

Borderlands 3

Gameplay in Borderlands 3 is approached as a natural evolution of that from previous episodes, without shaking up the established order — and that’s a very good thing.

The addition of sliding and vaulting brings a touch of modernity the series needed, while the integration of a ping system helps group exploration immensely.

The map of the different zones has also been updated, with detailed 3D models for each part of the planet. It’s confusing at times, but overall it’s incredibly easy to navigate from one point to another.

Overall, exploring the different planets is a real pleasure, with many secrets and Easter eggs to be revealed, breaking the monotony of the main story and grind to max level.

When it comes to the level design, Borderlands 3 blows hot and cold, with some parts more neat than others. As such, the game is not stingy with content, and includes many endgame activities.

Once you complete the main campaign for the first time, you can start over in “True Vault Hunter Mode” — a form of New Game Plus which increases the difficulty — and the quality of the loot. For the masochists among you, there’s also “Mayhem Mode” to increase the challenge even further. A new progression system is also implemented, with Guardian Ranks that provide access to powerful abilities.

In concrete terms, this all means that the maximum challenge and very best loot is found in the Mayhem 3 version of True Vault Hunter Mode. This requires completing the main campaign to unlock Mayhem, then finish it again in True Vault Hunter Mode to allow the two extra modes to combine.

For this, you’ll need a good shield and legendary weapons to stand a chance, but it’s also where the gameplay shines most — if you think the first third of the campaign is good, just wait until battles become more frenetic after Athenas.

Borderlands 3

Once you have your first weapons in hand, the forces of Borderlands 3 will jump out at you. Despite the ambient bazaar, the whole thing remains miraculously readable, and the shooting sequences provide an absolutely brilliant feeling of power.

A big mention has to go to the instruments of death, which throw out thunderous sounds and feel excellent with keyboard and mouse under hand.

You’ll also have to rely on the active skills of each class — Zane plays it rather tactically, Amara uses her Siren destiny to call upon ghostly fists to deal damage, Moze rides the Iron Bear mecha into battle, and Fl4k summons creatures to remain the best vault hunter in the group.

Highly varied, these new Vault Hunters allow you to choose a gameplay style that suits you, and in the same vein there is equipment that refines this style. With Borderlands 3 being generous in its high-level equipment and level scaling applied to just about every aspect of the game, it’s easy to enjoy yourself.

It must be noted that in this episode of the series, it’s possible to chain boss respawns at the cost of a simple teleportation. These bosses work well, with good patterns and tense sequences — even if these guardians are relatively simple outside of Mayhem Mode.

Borderlands 3

The artistic direction of Borderlands has always been terrific, but this time Gearbox have had fun in the design, and that leads to a more enjoyable experience for the player. The game is warmer, and comes with convincing lighting.

Each planet has its own identity, and areas are absolutely splendid — the lush jungle of Eden-6 and the futuro-mystical architecture of the Eridians come to mind here.

However, there’s a 'but' — and it’s a very large ‘but’ — all this is wasted on PC thanks to optimization being far from good enough. Tested on a GTX 1080, Borderlands 3 struggles hard at high quality/resolution, and the DirectX 12 processing is a ‘beta’ that will surely increase load times tenfold.

A patch should be deployed sooner rather than later, and will solve some issues, but it will need more before it reaches an acceptable state. Without giving you an exhaustive list, we suffered disconnections, loss of progress, the disappearance of enemies, and more.

The list is long, and for sure you’ll have other examples. If you were hesitating as to whether to buy the game or not, it may be worthwhile to wait several patches before you take the leap.

Borderlands 3

A solid FPS with hack-and-slash-style mechanics that are just as strong, Borderlands 3 is a devilishly effective game, one ideally enjoyed with friends.

Its four distinct character classes and consistent content are both arguments for this third canonical episode being a highly recommendable title.

However, the experience is ruined by the many bugs, glitches and other wild issues that currently plague the game, although an inevitable first patch should ease some of those.

Finally, the overabundance of puerile jokes in Borderlands 3 makes its endless conversations even more painful, even if a few quest threads make up for it slightly.

A pleasing and enjoyable way to blow off steam
Excellent artistic direction
Loot, loot, and more loot
Long-lasting, and replayable
A sense of humour that works — sometimes
More than one patch needed to fix all the bugs
Dialogue goes on, and on, and on, and on…
The childish humour gets tiresome quickly
Poor optimization on PC
The Legendary Weapon Conference Call is back!

The most famous and popular of Borderlands 2's Hyperion weapons is back in BL 3, a powerful shotgun with a shield that will delight both young and old, at least as long as they are on the right side of the barrel. Here are his statistics as well as a way to farmer it to get it.

Written by Bastien "Lloyd" Dubosq-Luyer. Translated from French by Millenium.

Millenium Rédaction

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