I wasn’t too excited about Borderlands 3 to be honest. While I really enjoyed the first game, Borderlands 2 felt redundant to me personally. The “millions of guns” gimmick – that seemed like a novel idea in the first game, didn’t really fascinate me the second time around. The only reason I decide to give this game a go was because of my love of co-op games. And I’m glad I did because Borderlands 3 is an engaging looter shooter that’s an utter blast in co-op.
At first glance, Borderlands 3 looked almost identical to Borderlands 2. The game didn’t seem like a big visual upgrade, the gun system seemed the same and the formula that had worked in the first game seemed like it was stretched in this one. But as I played through the game, I realized the controls were great and fluid, and gunplay was much better than its predecessors. An hour or so in, and I was hooked.
Borderlands 3 offers up four playable classes – Beastmaster, Siren, Operator and Gunner. For all you RPG veterans, this roughly translates to hunter, caster, rogue and warrior. These roles aren’t set in stone though, since each class can be customized to match your playstyle. There are three skill trees in each of these classes, and this results in a lot of choice. To make things even more flexible, all classes can use all weapon-types. This is a good thing since the weapon selection is massive and I wouldn’t have liked to be bottled within one subset.
There are literally thousands of guns randomly generated in the game.
The guns vary in projectile speed, elemental/physical damage, rate of fire, reload speed, bullet shields, and a whole bunch of useful and quirky attributes. This leads to some great combinations – like assault rifles with alternate fire modes that shoot lasers, as well as some ridiculous ones like shotguns that shoot out slow-moving rockets instead of shrapnel. This also means that there are tonnes of weapons to sift through, and if you’re a picky person, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your inventory screen.
I eventually figured out a combination that worked for me (assault rifle, SMG and pistol) and ignored most of the other loot. I’d suggest you try out all weapons when you start the game and find what fits your play-style. Even though I stuck to a small selection of weapon types, the game provided enough variations so that each gun handled differently. This was a double-edged sword. Whenever I’d find a weapon I’d truly loved, it would turn obsolete in a few levels and I’d be forced to choose from sub-par variations of it. I really wish the game allowed you to upgrade weapons that you love.
Borderlands 3 has tonnes of weapons to sift through, and if you’re a picky person, you’re going to spend a lot of time in your inventory screen.
Another thing I love about the game was the variety of locations to fight in. During the course of the game, the action shifts between multiple planets – each of which boast of different biomes and environments. These stretch from frozen tundras to lush forests, dreary marshlands, a planet’s craggy moon, charred deserts and many more. Coupled with the many different enemy types, it maintained the gameplay’s freshness and kept me glued.
To break the pace of the game’s almost-constant action, you revisit your home base in the form of a space ship called “Sanctuary” between missions. This aptly named locale allows you to take a break and gamble for guns, pick-up unlocks to increase your carrying capacity, find side-missions that give sweet rewards and shop for ammo or guns to help prep for the next mission. Everything about the base is painstakingly designed, and you can actually see the amount of effort put into making the gameworld lively and engaging.
Borderlands 3 is undoubtedly a labour of love. Everything from the menu screen – with its quirky clap-trap antics – to the little funny animations added into the UI – like the little racoon sifting through a bag in the inventory screen – speaks of the attention to detail put into making this game lovable.
The only gripe I had with Borderlands 3 was that the netcode isn’t up to the mark. For a co-op game, I would have liked to have less laggy sessions. I ended up reconnecting to my co-op buddy’s session multiple times in order to find a stable connection. Though once that was established, it was smooth sailing from there.
If you’re looking for a fun co-op game to play in short or long sessions, Borderlands 3 is definitely worth a look. Just ensure that you don’t spend too long rummaging through your inventory, or your co-op buddies might get bored and leave you behind!