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Borderlands 3

13 September 2019
Borderlands 3 - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.12 / 5.0
0.5
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872 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#2,343 All-time
#110 for 2019
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2019 Gearbox 2K  
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2019 Gearbox Gearbox Québec  
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XNA 7 10425 57493 1 CUSA-07823
Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition
2023 Gearbox Gearbox Québec  
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Title
Half-baked and dispassionate, this game disappoints.
Let's not mince words--the plot in this game is complete trash and has the same level of artistic sophistication and virtue as a Netflix original, pandering included; however, the worst sin of Borderlands 3 isn't the plot--it's the dreadfully underwhelming weaponry combined with the glacial pace of the acts.

Occasionally I feel like replaying the game to grind for legendaries, or to try out mayhem, play as another vault hunter, and so forth; but I can't take any more than maybe 30 minutes to an hour of gameplay before I lose interest. A good 60% of the time, the game forces me to follow around another character while he or she delivers rushed exposition that is subsequently forgotten about by the plot, before I'm ambushed by never-ending waves of bullet-sponge enemies and anointed, and then I get rewarded by a bunch of mediocre blues and purples as well as another lengthy dialogue section.

I wouldn't care so much if the game would just let me run through it and slay enemies, collect loot, and level my guardian rank continuously, but when it's so often interrupted by unskippable dialogue that usually takes no less than ten or twenty minutes to complete, I lose the will to even play this cashgrab.

Compounding the problem, the loot is rather unvaried as well, especially in comparison to Borderlands 2. Rarely throughout the game have I ever come across a gun that felt truly unique, or a weapon that at all felt even somewhat distinct from the others visually. Even most legendary weapons just borrow the same assets used to randomly compose the other guns; and the most variance guns seem to have is localized to a small set of attachments per each "receiver" that fundamentally don't change how the gun functions. Additionally, each manufacturer only has one "gimmick" that informs how every single gun performs. For example, Vladoff guns always have either an anemic grenade launcher or a rocket bipod (despite the guns having nearly no recoil anyway.) Dahl guns always have select fire and a variable power scope, Maliwan guns almost always charge up before firing, Tediore guns explode or create turrets, Jakobs guns fire as fast as you can click, Atlas guns have heat-seeking bullets, etc.

Not only do guns share the same gimmicks, but they have dreadfully few functional differences. The most meaningful difference seems to be fire mode and projectile count. Otherwise the guns are pretty much identical aside from standard stats like damage, rate of fire, element, etc. Maybe I misremember, but it felt like guns were much more variant in Borderlands 2 both visually and functionally. Vladoff guns didn't all look like AK clones, but instead looked like entirely fictional takes on the platform. In Borderlands 3, however, every Vladoff rifle has an AK receiver with a bunch of crap shoved on it. It seemed like there was more variance within corporation too, because there were semi-automatic and automatic rifles for most corps, instead of concentrating full auto in just Vladoff. Moreover, there were more weapon types across crops too. Maliwan revolvers existed, and Vladoff had burst-fire sniper rifles (I don't think I've come across one in Borderlands 3,) and others.

Overall Borderlands 3 felt about as passionless as a Tinder date. It was made only because it had to be made, and because Gearbox knew the market would gobble it up--that much is evident not only in its writing, but also its execution in general. The HUD was redesigned in the vein of Destiny 2, the characters were made zany and wacky to appeal to a broader audience, the plot was simplified and injected with memes, the marketing was ramped up to the extreme, and ultimately its loot--the very thing that drives Borderlands as a series--was half-baked and thus underwhelming.

It's shameful, because the game does a few things very, very right, like Mayhem mode. If the pacing were better and the loot more exciting, I would likely be playing it right now instead of writing this. The reworked end-game progression system, the guardian rank, is implemented well and integrates seamlessly, unlike Borderlands 2's equivalent Badass rank, and there are some creative and much-needed side missions, like Torgue's arena, that have essentially unlimited replayability. On top of all that, the shooting itself feels mechanically good, the effects are satisfying, and the sound design is much better than it has ever been. It's a downright travesty that everything truly important was neglected and done so dispassionately.
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DarkDong69 2020-02-29T14:43:06Z
2020-02-29T14:43:06Z
2.5
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Title
what a shame about the writing in this game. it ruins something that really improved upon the formula of an already very good franchise. simply put the bad writing of borderlands 2 persisted and got worse. i think its very endemic of the games attempt to top each sequel. bl1 was a very blank slate game, almost conducive to roleplay as you took on the job of a mercenary in a wild west setting. much of the story happened in the periphery. bl2 upped that ante and made you a soldier with a lot riding on you winning a war. you became central to the plot. and bl3 wants you to be a movie star. a mcu style planet hopping guardian of the galaxy.

every hamfisted reference, every dreamworks grinning "sup," every predictable emotional arc and beat just grates on you constantly. whats genuinely funny or touching is buried under an over long bit by the calypso twins about farting on a train or rhys' va failing to sell any of the emotion hes conveying. or an entire, loooooong quest line full of dialogue on "dank memes." like dont get me wrong i am sold on the progressive strides they made on many social issues. but it feels flat on the face of how they tried to compromise and work it into the bro-y 9gag humor of bl2. the whole thing just makes me cringe.

and its a damn shame too. because the gunplay in this game is terrific. jakobs guns, oh man , jakobs guns really got an upgrade in this game. they feel impactful and they feel great to shoot. vladof and dahl guns are sharp and brutal as they needed to be with cool alt firing modes, maliwan and hyperion are still way too strong but have recieved some nifty QOL changes. the game even managed to sell me on tediore guns, which were the most meh guns for me in bl2. and many of the guns, particularly shotguns, look a lot better than the mini fridge units they looked in the previous games.

and like, the level progression kicks ass. no slag to slow down the late game and turn everything into DPS checks (mayhem mode does this and i dont care for it for obvious reasons) and the enemy amount and variety feels fair 80 percent of the time. higher damage output and no need to slag makes element matching less of a chore. the new enemy types are cool, though some feel kinda boring in lategame when they choose to randomly go damage immune. what i like most is the setting changes. traversing planets besides pandora keeps the game feeling fresh. theres plenty to explore thanks to map challenges. and the final act felt like a genuinely good final act. much much better than bl2's final act just imo. as for postgame, theres a lot to sink your teeth into through artifical difficulty modifiers and "raid" dungeons that have replaced the bullet sponge raid bosses of the previous games. (i like this. its a good change.)

i guess my real qualms with the game rn are optimization and graphic wise. even on advanced hardware this games sort of a beast that will dip you down below 60 without fiddling with various settings. its a very obtuse set of dense menus with lots of things you can change, so maybe consult a guide. on an older computer? good luck. you will be lucky to hit 40 fps in a fight. and the facial rigging btw is ugly as sin. otherwise the graphics are a pure upgrade.

so theres so much improvement. its a borderlands game for a modern audience. its just too bad the writers are so tone deaf all they could think of is "write this for a modern audience." it drags the game down. but honestly dont let it stop you from trying if you liked the first two games. it makes no compromises on the gameplay loop and i love it for that.
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hittinbills 2020-01-14T14:27:26Z
2020-01-14T14:27:26Z
3.5
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Catalog

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  • Previous comments (37) Loading...
  • BartCloni 2023-12-27 13:04:55.740119+00
    the UI clearly feels like this is a console port even though it launched on PC the same day....
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  • BartCloni 2024-01-06 18:48:17.162636+00
    It literally won't launch anymore, just gets stuck on "signing in" like that's something that needs to be done for a game I play alone
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  • Nutty2112 2024-01-28 17:24:48.586874+00
    yeah the writing sucks but this is the most fun fps i've played in my life.
    reply
    • luna128 2024-02-02 22:17:05.492761+00
      it's true it's far and away the best one mechanically but people can't get over the stupid fucking dialogue that was cringe in bl2 also but since it's from 2012 they either don't remember it that way or it's more charming in retrospect
    • A_Latin_Guy 2024-02-05 19:56:24.310623+00
      C'mon, the cringe dialogue is way more egregious here than in 2. Maybe due to it feeling much more artificial, intrusive and it has a serious "lmao rofl finnadab" vibe to it.
    • Nutty2112 2024-02-15 01:06:06.742121+00
      i dont think the writing is so bad it makes me wanna die or anything, but a lot of it makes me cringe cringe. bl2 didn't have super fantastic writing or anything, but it actually aimed for punchlines in their jokes. bl3 is just like "hehe, POOP!" bl1 was just straight up actually consistently funny though. its like this series progressively got better with gameplay but worse with writing
    • Nutty2112 2024-02-15 01:15:05.577268+00
      however, playing TVHM with level 1 mayhem with that extra speed bonus per kill buff is the most dopemine filling shit ever. the gameplay being as immaculate as it is easily makes up for the shitty writing 200%. i usually play with voices off and my own music playing in the background anyway.
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  • CloudedHex 2024-03-04 05:16:02.325322+00
    Not really liking the art style, writing, or direction in this game compared to the other Borderlands games before this one. Borderlands 2 felt like a chore to complete but at least it was fun. But hey, at least this is better than playing Overwatch 2.
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  • DavidthePearce 2024-03-17 20:58:27.853488+00
    People who played BL2 in their teens who are still convinced that game is funny, yet hate the writing in this game because they played it in their 20s. The writing didn't get worse, you just grew out of it.
    reply
    • DavidthePearce 2024-03-17 21:23:36.228753+00
      At least this is how I choose to rationalise it, because from my perspective the two games have essentially the exact same genre of cringe writing, except BL3 plays better. Movement feels better, levels are far more immediate, guns feel great throughout. It feels bizarre just how much worse 3 is regarded amongst fans when it just feels so much better to play, and the major negative levied against it is something BL2 also does, a game which is conversely regarded so positively.
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  • Irascibul 2024-03-19 17:14:28.047435+00
    Imagine caring about the story in a Borderlands game. Lol lmao
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  • SlappyButternuts 2024-03-28 13:08:21.035063+00
    stop focusing on the content of the writing/dialogue in this game and put the focus on where it belongs: the atrocious downtime. i have never in my life went into a game and deleted the files pertaining to dialogue until i played Borderlands 3. the downtime is unacceptable, every time you get to do something it feels like you sit around with your thumb up your ass (even when you DO delete those files sometimes you're still forced to sit with your thumb up your ass so its not a complete win anyway!)
    a shame because this is by far the best gameplay in the series
    reply
    • SlappyButternuts 2024-03-28 13:09:01.18859+00
      also the main hub sucks too
    • Nutty2112 2024-03-30 20:15:54.42168+00
      yeah you're so right. characters just never stop yapping in this game
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  • Nutty2112 2024-03-30 20:14:24.731404+00
    its funny how "uncommon" gear is far more common than "common" gear
    reply
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