Borderlands 3 PlayStation 4 Review

More loot, more heroes, fewer Borderlands quips?

By Kiemour, Posted 21 May 2020
 

Borderlands 3 is the most recent installment in Gearbox’s popular looter-shooter series of the same name. Although it has been 5 years since the last game in the series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel,  the newest game has found a way to retain their style from the days of old, including their unique animation, quips and gameplay format, but they have added a multitude of new controls, abilities and heroes, which encourage open world exploration and allow players to travel from one planet to another.

To start things off, let’s focus on the story behind this new game and the overarching main quest that holds together the seemingly chaotic waves of baddies that charge the player. After the death of Handsome Jack, the evil mastermind from the earlier Borderlands games, a new duo of self-proclaimed gods have risen up to take his place. These main villains are known as the Calypso Twins, Tyreen and Troy. The Twins love to share their exploits and killings through a daily live stream, which is how they consistently accumulate followers from one planet to the next. But what makes the Calypso Twins’ show so interesting to their viewers is the fact that they are searching for vaults, filled with rare artifacts and precious loot, just as the main character is doing. However, the Twins are not in this search for the loot. Instead, they are more focused on the monsters that guard the vault, as they wish to absorb their power and become literal gods of the universe. As one of the new heroes introduced in Borderlands 3, it is the player’s job to travel across the universe in search of the three keys needed to open the Great Vault and beat Tyreen to defeating its monstrous guardian. Each of these heroes has their own unique abilities which allow every playthrough of the game to be unique.

The heroes are what makes this game and others like it so interesting, because the character’s abilities are so different from one another and allow a variety of gamers to enjoy the same story in their own way. For example, I did my first playthrough of the game as FL4K, a genderless beastmaster who is able to have a spiderant, skag, or jabber companion that fights alongside them. This allowed me to sit in the back and snipe my enemies from a distance, while my beast would charge in and keep flankers from reaching my vantage point. If charging into a battle head on is your preferred style, the Siren known as Amara is the best pick for you. She possesses elemental powers that are capable of holding her enemies in place and using literal giant fists to wreak havoc on those around her. The middle ground character between those two is the operative soldier known as Zane. This experienced hitman relies on deception and gadgets in the battlefield to cause diversions or to initiate battles, depending on how he is built. The gadgets can protect him by deploying a large shield or a holographic copy of Zane, which copies his moves and will cause enemies to attack the clone instead of the player. Finally, one must not forget the gunner class character, Moze. As a battle-hardened who specializes in mechanical combat, Moze is able to summon her Iron Bear battle suit from above, which allows her to unleash a hail of bullets onto her enemies for a short duration.

Not only does each playable character have their own set of unique abilities, Gearbox has also added a slew of new features that allow for smoother gameplay and movement throughout the game. When sprinting downhill, the player is now able to tap the crouch key and slide on their leg, allowing for faster travel and a slightly higher jumping mechanic when the slide ends. This tactic becomes very useful in a fight or swarm, as it helps to dodge attacks and also keeps the player moving to reduce the amount of damage that they take. Additionally, the players are now capable of climbing shoulder height walls, so that it is no longer needed to search endlessly for a set of stairs in order to reach higher areas of the map. These new areas not only provide decent vantage points for combat, but many of the game’s added collectables can be obtained through a series of these jumps and parkour.

Borderlands 3 not only added these new movement features, but they also greatly improved the graphics and gameplay from the previous installations. The combat is very fluid, and the updated HUD system improves the gameplay drastically in my opinion. The added collectibles and challenges throughout the maps also helped with engagement to the game, keeping players searching for that final Typhon Log or Claptrap unit. In addition, the updated map allowed for players to easily find the areas they have yet to explore, instead of just wandering and hoping that they would find somewhere new to discover these collectables. On another note, aiming became much easier for me compared to previous games, as the sensitivity was clearly improved, and the various types of guns made it so that if I was having trouble hitting my shots, I could easily swap to another set of guns that were easier to control. Because of the many different guns within the game, as well as their specific abilities that vary from one gun to another, there is a weapon in this game for every sort of gamer, no matter their familiarity with the Borderlands series.

Although I am usually a big fan of sniper rifles throughout these sorts of games, I have found a new gun that is even more enjoyable, and very useful when being swarmed by enemies. As much of this game consists of shooting baddies and picking up their loot, most players want to eliminate their enemies as quickly as possible. The gun that helped me a lot with this is the shotgun known as the “Dangerous Kill-O’-The-Wisp.” This gun charges up for a short second, then releases a ball of electricity, which slowly damages the enemies that it passes with bolts of lightning. My favorite technique was to fire the shotgun into a crowd, and then mow down the weakened enemies with my “Cost Effective Q-System,” which is an assault rifle that allows for homing bullets, with the right attachments. Borderlands 3 has delivered on their promise of hundreds of new guns with their most recent installment, and each one is unique in its own way that it becomes a challenge to decide which one to drop when your inventory is full.

Although Borderlands 3 improves upon the gameplay of its forefathers, there is still much left to be desired, such as the lack of variation with the enemies that the game throws at the player, as well as the less memorable quips and insults from the villains in the game. There were also a countless number of hidden gems of insults throughout Borderlands 2, such as Handsome Jack on one of his recorded ECHO logs. During a short quest called “Handsome Jack Here,” the game’s villain comments on an unseen woman’s face, saying: “Holy nutballs! What happened to your frickin’ face? ...Lady? I don’t know what to call you. You tell me why you look like you headbutted a belt sander, and I’ll all of you go right now.” While simple, these quips were new ideas at the time to the gaming world, and I for one was looking forward to the new ideas that would come with Borderlands 3.

However, the Calypso Twins do not have the same charm that Handsome Jack does as the main villain, and this may be due to the fact that they are newer characters to the Borderlands franchise, whereas the rest of the cast is mostly compromised of characters from previous games and are therefore more recognizable to players. Although Tyreen and Troy present a new idea by way of absorbing the power of others, they present more of a cringy Youtuber style of villain rather than the troubled mastermind that players have come to expect. The final fight against the Calypsos was challenging enough and still made for an enjoyable fight, not to mention the exceptional gunplay that came with the new game, but because so much of the previous games were compromised of witty quips, the gaming community was expecting much more for Borderlands 3 than what was delivered.

Overall, due to its similarities to the previous games despite the 5 year difference, I believe that Borderlands 3 is a great installation to the looter-shooter franchise. While it might not be the best game across the board, I have returned to previous Borderlands games and found that I was missing the abilities and mechanics that had been added to the newer game. Whereas the previous games only allowed for one overarching character ability, Borderlands 3 allows for two abilities based off of a specific skill tree, in addition to the character specific ability, granting players the option to change up their fighting style for each encounter. Furthermore, the game’s graphics have been updated to show more detail in the world and improving the light sources and shadows when underground. Even though the world is still reminiscent of cartoon characters as opposed to realistic environments like most other modern games, Gearbox has added the smallest details, such as the scales on skags, to make the game that much more captivating and engaging.

If you are a fan of the previous Borderlands games, I would highly recommend this game to you, as it is still getting new downloadable content and is constantly evolving. Borderlands 3, simply put, is more Borderlands for the nostalgic fans out there, and while it leaves some of its better jabs in the past, Gearbox has still made a pretty intriguing and explorable game.

 

 

Kieran Mouritsen, NoobFeed

 
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General Information

Platform(s): PS4
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Developer(s): Gearbox
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Action, Adventure, Strong Language, Blood & Gore, Violence
Release Date: 2019-09-13

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