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All Thumbsticks Game Review: Borderlands 3

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Well. Here we are. This is it; Borderlands 3. Fans have waited for too long and now, it’s finally here. After ten years of waiting, slightly broken by a less than perfect “Pre-Sequel” and the pitch perfect “Tales from the Borderlands,” the game fans have waited for so long.

Borderlands 3, developed by Gearbox Studios and published by 2K Games, is a first-person action shooter with role playing game mechanics. As the final game in BL series, it has been called the best and the worst for its gameplay and design, yet a less than impressive story and use of little strategy for boss fights.

The story, without giving too much, is simple. Loot, shoot, and blast your way through different planets on the hunt for the Calypso Twins, leaders of the Children of The Vault. Troy and Tyreen are ready to blow up the world on their quest to godhood. But, bully for them, they have Vault Hunters and familiar faces to try and take them down.

With Borderlands, it’s what you expect of it. You run through contained levels, take down enemies to get money, ammo, or randomized loot: guns, shields, class modifiers, and the like. The new mechanics that they added to the game involves ledge sidling for added mobility, alternate firing mode for weapons- your pistol could shoot homing rockets instead of bullets, for example!

Of course, we can’t have Borderlands without Vault Hunters. The four new entries to the group, Zane Flynt, Amara, Fl4k, and Moze all add their own gameplay mechanics to the mayhem; Zane as the Operative allows you to be Handsome Jack and create a double of yourself or pull a Wilhelm and send a scout sentry out into the battlefield. Amara, as like any Siren, gets the ability to mix up the field with waves of built arms. Moze gets a customizable robot mech with weaponry and co-op turret power, and Fl4k’s skill trees focus on illusion or beast mastery. Their trees also come with different animals that you can command! These new Vault Hunters get three specialized main abilities with modifiers, allowing you to choose how your Moze’s mech looks or what animal Fl4k has out. It’s all to fit your playstyle.

As a fan of Borderlands, it pains me to see character canon thrown out of the window; yes, even though we’d like to assume that the Pre-Sequel never happened, we have to acknowledge it’s there like the family member we have to talk to like a family obligation. The Pre-Sequel’s ending would supposedly start where BL3 would be, but it’s been thrown out for a different story line with the Calypso Twins. Yeah, that ending where it was to be the end of the world with the Eridian Guardian? We don’t catch up with that. And Aurelia Hammerlock, The Baroness? Who considers that maybe she should stop being evil? Nah, throw her in as a major boss in BL3. And what about Athena? What about the other BL2 cast for pete’s sake! They don’t make an appearance at all! While insanely powerful Sirens get the boot and die for poor emotional influence. The bottom line is, I could gripe with the canon and the try-hard “we’re evil online streamer/influencers” vibes of The Calypsos, but really, what the game should have been is a race to the Great Vault and try to save the galaxy with the help of the Eridian civilization. Not this. No limitedly free DLC with BL2 and the inclusion of Telltale’s Tales From The Borderlands is worth starting fresh. Even if it’s not of quality.

Borderlands 3 adds new ideas and progresses the story further, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth as you finish it. The villains, while imposing, doesn’t match up with the legend that is Handsome Jack. The new Vault Hunters and characters are an excellent addition and the guns, vehicles, and familiar faces made me laugh or cry. Yet, Gearbox throws in references, a bajillion guns, and whatever flashy explosions it can throw at us to hide a very bittersweet and slightly pandering story line with side quests. Sure, we want Borderlands 3, but is this the Borderlands 3 we wanted?

Borderlands 3 is available on PC via Epic Store, Ps4, and Xbox One. It was released on September 13th, 2019 and rated M for Mature. Depending on editions, it ranges from $59.99 to $119.99 with additional DLC and content coming soon.

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