Borderlands 3 Review: Sometimes More Of The Same Is A Good Thing

Gearbox Software strikes gold again in this third installment of the long-running Borderlands franchise. Taking place seven years after the death of Handsome Jack and the downfall of the Hyperion Corporation, players will once again traverse the beautiful landscape of Pandora with a new team of vault hunters. From its beautiful opening cinematic to its climactic final confrontation with the cult-like Calypso twins, this third act in the series is a wondrous vastly open-world experience that provides endless amounts of game time for both newcomers and veterans alike. 

The Pros

One of the standout aspects of this work is just how open the world of the game is. Players can now board a ship called The Sanctuary 3 and travel to other planets that are just as diverse as the new cast of vault hunters themselves. The game feels more RPG in its open-world aesthetics than its two predecessors and that sense of stat building really influences the story output. Amara is as different from Zane as the planets that they traverse are from one another. No two characters look or play the same and each houses their own customizations and leveling skills that lend the game a greater degree of replayability. 

Many past characters return as helpful NPC’s that give this third entry a sense of a shared universality to its predecessors.  Claptrap, for instance, provides useful hints and side quest Missions that enable your character to progress while leveling up at the same time. Lilith, the leader of the new resistance, feels just as relevant as an NPC as she did as a playable character from the last game. This is by far an expansive universe clearly, but also, a shared one that continues the struggles of interplanetary survival in a post-apocalyptic universe. 

Borderlands 3 is chock full of weapon upgrades and customizations that one never feels bored with its variety. The all-terrain vehicles and mech battle segments are just as fun as the FPS sequences. Battles are intense and wholly satisfying when you gain loot material. Rather than reinventing the formula, the game continues the brilliant work of its forbears while adding a twist of space travel. Visually the game is stunning with its watercolor art style and futuristic world setting. This is by far the pinnacle of the series and the good standard of the FPS/RPG hybrid genre. 

The Cons

One thing that clearly stands out in the game is its balancing issues. Some bosses are extremely difficult to overcome while others are laughably simplistic. Some of the landscapes feel recycled and could have looked slightly different from the two prior titles. Pandora looks unfixed in time and the war for its survival feels unchanged from past generation titles. This is a bit disappointing when compared to the lush landscapes of other planets you get to visit. Overall, these are just minor gripes, and Borderlands 3 is an overall brilliant game worthy of yet another sequel.
The Verdict

Stunning, gorgeous, vast, are not enough to describe how epic this work of art truly is. 2K Games is a publisher that excels in this genre and they did not fail to deliver with Borderlands 3. The replay value is much higher in this third entry and gamers will want to explore every inch of the galaxy, not just Pandora, in this latest title. This game certainly rehashes a lot of tropes, but there is still a lot more to discover in a world torn apart by greedy corporations and entertainment cult leaders that use their celebrity status to garner blind servitude. Overall, Borderlands 3 is more substance over style, and its boundaries know no limits. 

About Anthony Frisina 83 Articles
Anthony Frisina is a graduate of the City University of New York-Brooklyn College with a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Anthony went on to attend Brooklyn College's Film Academy and Writer's workshop program, achieving an interdisciplinary degree in Screenwriting and Film theory in the Fine Arts. Transforming his love for classic American cinema, Anthony went on to adapt a number of his own works into different mediums, including his well-received Western novel The Regulator. Anthony likes to spend his free time writing articles for magazines and periodicals that cover a wide range of topics, from science fiction to popular culture. As a screenwriter, Anthony has had his screenplays featured at numerous spec script writing competitions across the country where he one day hopes to write the next great American film.

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