Borderlands 3 Review by MRMIdAS2k

22 Sep 2019
39 115 23
Borderlands 3 is the 4th game in the series, because counting is hard.

With the prerequisite 4 vault hunters, Twelvety Bazillion Guns, and Looter-Shooter gameplay, one would assume this formula is fairly hard to muck-up, yet muck-up seems to be Gearbox's M.O. currently, and Muck up they have.

But first the good stuff, Areas are expansive, far more so than the first 3 games, and the scenery is well crafted, with plenty of detail wherever you look.

Gameplay is good for the most part, with the classic borderlands "feel" still very much on display, and the new running slide move is also a welcome addition to the formula.

The Vault hunters seem varied, I've only given Zane a go so far, but if the variety in his skill tree is anything to go by, then one of the 4 shall suit almost any play style.

Missions come in the standard Borderlands flavour of "Go here and kill stuff, possibly collect a thingy or two while you're there" and are fun for the most part.

Vehicles are varied, and can be customised with parts from other vehicles, which are scanned into the nearest Catch-A-Ride.

AND THE GUNS! Possibly the best bit of the game, the new Shotgun physics are a joy to behold, lots of weapons have alternate fire modes (Auto/Burst, Fire/Corrosion, ETC) and some even have shields of their own and can also boost your action skills.

Now to the bad stuff.

Movement can be generously described at "Twitchy" with precision feeling just a hair out of reach when trying to get to the myriad of collectibles and audio logs hidden about the maps, also not fun is the new movement tech of "Mantling" or "Climbing on boxes" to you or I. Seemingly copied by a guy who saw 20 seconds of Halo 5 gameplay one time, like movement, mantling is twitchy at best, often denying you climbs that you should have easily got, yanking you up to ledges you missed by a mile thanks to the twitchy controls.

The voice acting is fine for the most part, despite the new Claptrap, but it seems nobody bothered to check which lines go where, as more than once a civillian has talked over a mission line, confining that line to the void, never to return, and Echo logs which seem to have finished, so you activate something else, only to have the echo continue, and instead of the lines Queueing, they're just discarded too, possibly making speedrunners happy, but leaving the rest of us wondering where the dialogue for their mission just went.

Enemies are fine in the early game, but to ramp up "Difficulty" later enemies are immune to certain weapons or elements, which seems like a great idea until you come across one that has such a combination of skills, you have hide round a corner and whittle them down bullet by bullet or their AOE weapon will turn you into the consistency of canned potato salad.

Bosses are probably the biggest offender, from feeling like you did well against a difficult but well matched foe, to feeling like a raid boss with how crappy and unfair their gimmicks are, the bosses are probably the biggest disappointment, as they just feel lazy and untested, especially the last few.

The UI has taken a huge step backwards as well, with no "North" indicator on the map screen, which now rotates to whichever way you're facing, just to confuse you, the Inventory screen feeling more cluttered than it should, and the skill tree screen feeling more unnecessarily complicated than the screens of Borderlands 1 and 2.

The writing is a huge letdown from the first games too, with lazy "humour" and irritating unlikable characters, 90% of the jokes just failed to land for me, and I found myself not giving the slightest crap about these people, despite the game forcing me to to progress the plot, which seems to have more holes than Osama Bin Laden's jumpsuit.

Quest rewards sometimes go into the "social" tab in your pause menu, because they can't just GIVE you a gun, you need to go into a menu and click stuff, because everyone LOVES extra steps to do stuff!

AND THE BUGS! Which I'm sure will be patched, but currently the framerate slows to a judder if several enemies die at once, there's a notable pause bringing up the skills/equipment menu's, as the game presumably loads them, Weapon icons and info stay stuck on screen if you pan too quickly, obscuring your vision, kills often fail to count during "fight for your life", Mission critical characters get jammed in scenery, the list goes on.
TrutchNo mention of co-op or the other modes and you’ve only tried 1 character. This really isn’t a complete review.
Posted by Trutch on 28 Sep 19 at 07:24
MRMIdAS2kYes. Because the writing and performance issues, dialogue priorities, "Social" tab annoyances, movement issues, mantling problems, ETC, all go away once you're using a different character in Co-Op....

Sorry, but after a kick in the shin, I don't need a kick in the balls to prove it'll suck, I'll be quite ok extrapolating from known data.
Posted by MRMIdAS2k on 28 Sep 19 at 09:41
TrutchI did not say I disagreed with any of your points but now you are ranting, not writing a review of a game.
Posted by Trutch on 28 Sep 19 at 09:46
MRMIdAS2kI'm quite ok with ranting in the comment section, I felt I was fair in my appraisal of BL3's core issues in my review, and unless you can point out how my issues change once I pick a different character or drag a friend along for the ride, my point stands
Posted by MRMIdAS2k on 28 Sep 19 at 09:50
C64 MatI haven't played the game on Xbox so I can't comment on the accuracy, but the review is good, I like it.

Also, ranting about shit you don't like in a game is part of a review if the game pisses you off - don't worry about the negs!
Posted by C64 Mat on 28 Sep 19 at 17:06
snake42069the game is also super-motion-sensitive. i have a very tiny horizontal deadzone on my controller, and borderlands 3 can sense it. only game i play that does, not even the dashboard can sense it. my character slowly moves to the right.
Posted by snake42069 on 30 Sep 19 at 18:58
gm0ney222Horrible review , please take down :)
Posted by gm0ney222 on 30 Sep 19 at 20:02
OhMyGoth1@snake42069 you can adjust the deadzone in the settings...
Posted by OhMyGoth1 on 03 Oct 19 at 19:06
Achilles8249I don't have the game but if I spent $60+ for this I'd be pissed, it clearly wasn't ready for release but they didn't care.
Posted by Achilles8249 on 03 Oct 19 at 23:31
MuzzilyI thought the review was fair and the issues raised would speak to a lot of game players who are considering investing 100+ hours of their time on this.

But judging on the Star rating of this game by TA members. 600+ gamers weren't as upset with it as this particular reviewer.
Posted by Muzzily on 06 Oct 19 at 12:06
KanchanaburiMany legit points here. The game is pretty shallow. However, perhaps they have always been similar depth and our memories prop up the previous games higher than they should have, and set up higher than needed expectations of the next, which of course cannot be met if we are comparing it to a field full of million dollar flowers. My biggest concern is that I am at chapter 8 right now, and the game is a breeze. there seems to be no challenges thus far. I hope this changes.
Posted by Kanchanaburi on 06 Oct 19 at 16:33
MRMIdAS2kGiven I've 100%'d Borderlands 2 3 times, once 2 months ago, give or take, The pre-sequel once, working on the other 2, and BL1 twice, again, once pretty recently, I'd say it's not nostalgia, some stuff has just taken a downgrade.
Posted by MRMIdAS2k on 06 Oct 19 at 17:33
Goggs25This game is a pile of crap and I won't give it more then 0.5/5 until the overpaid lazy scumbags get off there backsides and fix it fed of it turning my xbox one off randomly
Posted by Goggs25 on 09 Nov 19 at 12:02
TheBongoFuryThe only annoying thing is the terrible villains. Even Ava is acceptable compared to them. Tyreen and Troy are two 12 year olds with fart jokes. They are not likeable or funny like Handsome Jack was. For all the rest I enjoy the small and handy innovations and I can live with the small bugs.
Posted by TheBongoFury on 11 Nov 19 at 14:26
ShummellThis game definitely doesn't live up to the other games but this is a harsh review of a really good game. Couldn't disagree with just about everything you've said more. Had a lot of fun with this game just as I have with all the borderlands.
Posted by Shummell on 23 Apr 20 at 00:54
HarbringernightEnjoyed the review.

Just remember people down vote because they don’t agree with your rating not the review.
Posted by Harbringernight on 09 Jul 20 at 12:17
TDC CbassAs they say "I have no time to hate But If you played Borderlands 2 You know its like the devs kick you in the nuts whilst tongue kissing your 1st love.... Im talking the jr. high version of her not the post 3 kids. Let me learn you all a little something about what to me was a no brainer, especially if you have ever taken any classes on writing. Which btw I haven't since I skipped it to drink 40s and play golden eye (n64 baby). GOOD STORIES HAVE LIKEABLE CHARCTERS. Who ever made the call to leave Scooter out and put tons of fun in. Fire that guy and hire me I would have at least given her one of those electric shopping carts....everything else was a stereotype.
Anyhow you broke our hearts guys. Please do what every major developers need to in the age of game updates less time on graphics more on game play.. and quit fixing all the reasonably fun screwups it makes it actually adds excitement when we figure out a way to beat the system.
Posted by TDC Cbass on 08 Aug 20 at 06:14
TheBongoFuryI feel screwed over by 2K/Gearbox. Buying the most expensive edition and expecting that will be it and then see a Ultimate edition for about the same price. It would have been a good gesture to give die hard fans a temporary discount.
You buy the game, have all the DLC and that would be it but no. Another 30$ overpriced piece of DLC with (just to piss off people) achievements so you will buy it because you are a completionist. I will buy it. Someday, eventually but not for that ridiculous price.
Posted by TheBongoFury on 02 Dec 20 at 01:33
AlgurThis reads as more of a rant than a review. Plotwise and dialoguewise, the game falls short and is absolutely the weakest entry in the series. However, the gameplay is the most polished and enjoyable. All in all, it's a fairly average experience. Maybe a 3 or 3.5. Certainly not a 2.
Posted by Algur on 12 May 21 at 23:04
SemocliveEverybody still leaving comments to complain about the "unfair" review and how polished the game is compared to previous entries, try looking at when the review was posted before wasting your time.

The game launched a mess and the rating reflects that. I would agree with everything the reviewer said about it.
Posted by Semoclive on 04 Aug 21 at 03:48
Dragonborn GearI do not think the inventory or the skills screens feel cluttered nor do I have any negative feelings towards them. However, I do agree with everything else. With that being said, I gave you a thumbs up for your review, but your rating of a 2/5 is too low. I don't think the minor gripes really warrant a larger weighting towards the gameplay itself. However, I will bear in mind, i am not playing a game that appears to be super buggy (it did crash once), and I haven't gotten to end game bosses, but 2/5 just seems a bit aggressively low. That's a 40%. Not many games truly are that bad, but I have played a few outright stinkers.

Actually just re-reading a little, I didn't mind the mantling either. I actually quite liked it most of the time. It's nice to have when you don't have that extra jump boost.
Posted by Dragonborn Gear on 05 Aug 21 at 23:12
SentokOne addition to your review (unless I missed it) would be to point out the absolutely painfully long loading times. Sometimes the zone transition loading isn't too bad, and sometimes it's like you booted up the game from scratch. And the initial loading screen (with the silent dancing claptrap) is like 5-10 minutes every time you start the game.
Posted by Sentok on 17 Oct 21 at 14:16
Goggs25@Sentok it’s same on Xbox series x long loading times.
Posted by Goggs25 on 17 Oct 21 at 14:37