Fully Loaded: A Review of ‘Borderlands 3’

borderlands 3

This review is an extension of the Progress Bar on “Borderlands 3,” so please reference that article for my views on gunplay and core mechanics. “Borderlands 3” is the right kind of sequel in my opinion, delivering the gameplay that made the series a staple as well as a story that does what it’s supposed to do, with a few moments that actually register a serious emotional response. Without further ado, let’s get into why you should play “Borderlands 3.” 

I have to say that I’m really happy to find a game like “Borderlands 3” where content wasn’t sacrificed. “Borderlands 3” has a 30+ hour campaign and after completion of your first run-through, it offers new difficulty levels with better rewards, as well as special challenge modes. With four classes to pick from at the start, plus these new options, this game is overflowing with replay-ability.

Side quests are fun throughout any playthrough and I found myself on multiple occasions wanting to pursue them before continuing on the main quest. Even if I didn’t need to level up, the concepts of many of these side quests gave me a good chuckle and I enjoyed seeing them to the end.

The game’s conclusions also came with a cool, unique rewards, such as a rocket launcher that shoots radioactive cheeseburgers.  You heard me. My only nitpick is such a cool weapon like that was given at a very early side quest, effectively ensuring I could barely use the weapon before it became out-leveled by other guns. 

Bosses in the game this time around are actually fairly challenging across the board. Many bosses you will face have environmental or secondary mechanics you have to contend with on top of the usual onslaught “Borderlands” bosses dish out along with the adds that spawn every now and again to harass you.

Bosses sometimes felt like raid bosses from MMO’s, though you can beat every boss on your own (though I imagine that when you play in a larger group, the bosses will not lose their challenging aspects), and I only found one boss that I felt had a cheap trick to make him difficult, but he was luckily an optional boss.

Like every other “Borderlands” story, the story in this latest installment does what you expect: it’s a wacky, tongue-in-cheek ride with a serviceable story that contains a few twists that most people will probably see before they officially reveal it. The story did manage like the second installment to really grow the players drive to defeat the main antagonists, the Calypso Twins, who constantly taunt you over your ECHO device throughout the game, much like Handsome Jack did in “Borderlands 2.”

The game also had a few surprise celebrity voice actors, but I’ll not mention who they are so that you get the full experience of their surprise performances. Without spoiling anything, I really enjoyed the ending of “Borderlands 3” and felt it had a bigger impact than any of the other installments.

I noticed during my play-through that a patch was released that I believed alleviated some of the graphical and performance issues the game had at launch, but not entirely. Texture load-in can still be an ugly thing to witness, but I don’t think it will ruin anyone’s experience. I also noticed enemies stopped swarming you while you were downed, which I was very happy to discover.

Overall, “Borderlands 3” is a game that does what it needs to do and executes it masterfully, with the minor graphical hiccup here and there. I give it a solid 8.5 out of 10 for solid gameplay and enjoyable humor. Borderlands 3 is held back by minor graphical issues and, while a great game, does nothing groundbreaking or above and beyond to bring it to a 9/10 or a perfect 10.

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