Title: Borderlands 3
Format: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Developer: Gearbox Software
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The Grade: B+
Borderlands 3 Haiku Review
You’re a vault hunter
Guns, looting, different planets
Bigger than ever
What is it? A first person shooter/looter sequel to “Borderlands 2” (2012). Fans of the franchise will feel right at home with this latest title as players once again take on wild enemies, loot like crazy and collect literally millions of different guns. This time around, gamers have to defeat the maniacal Calypso Twins on a planet hopping adventure.
Highs: More “Borderlands” is what developer Gearbox has been promising with “Borderlands 3” and they certainly delivered. Ten years after the first “Borderlands” was released, this third edition has taken the series’ unique formula and created the biggest, prettiest and possibly best game in the franchise.
Fans of the series will feel right at home with “Borderlands 3.” Because previous games in the series came out so long ago, jumping into this title feels like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in about five years. You certainly recognize them and enjoy their company but they do look a little different.
Frantic gunplay, looting galore and that oddball, slightly immature “Borderlands” humor abounds. However, there have been a number of tweaks and refinements to the game’s experience that will certainly benefit players.
Skill trees allow for an unprecedented amount of customization. When combined with the four different vault hunter character types, who all have their own specializations, it’s clear that Gearbox has accounted for a wide range of gameplay styles. The RPG elements of the game are great to tinker with. There are also new enemy types, fast travel has greatly improved and weapons (eventually) feel like they really pack a punch. I really enjoyed the addition of secondary weapon abilities as well.
While all of these upgrades are important, nothing has caused a more positive shift in the “Borderlands” experience than it’s incredible map expansion. “Borderlands 3” is enormous, spanning multiple planets that are gratifying to get lost in. Worlds are varied and absolutely stunning. Your colossal ship, The Sanctuary, is aptly named. This safe haven is much like the planets you visit, fun to explore and filled with lively characters.
Lows: For the first four to five hours I wasn’t that impressed with “Borderlands 3.” My weapons didn’t feel powerful enough and quests and enemy types lacked variety. Go on a fetch quest for a new antenna for Claptrap? Okay, I guess. However, once I got off the planet of Pandora everything opened up and the fun really started.
“Borderlands 3” is more “Borderlands.” A lot more. For some people, like myself, that’s more than enough. Seven years after “Borderlands 2” and five years after “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” and “Tales from the Borderlands,” all I want is more “Borderlands.” Gearbox doesn’t need to reinvent its already well-made wheel. As a fan of the series, I’m just looking for more of what I enjoy. In that regard “Borderlands 3” delivers.
Yet, for others, this game won’t feel like it has evolved enough from its predecessors. This is a fair point, as the core gameplay hasn’t significantly changed. So for those looking for a brand new experience, for Gearbox to take the franchise in a truly unique direction, “Borderlands 3” will be a bit of a disappointment.
The Grade: Despite a plodding start, I found I couldn’t put my controller down once “Borderlands 3.” Whether playing solo, online with friends or at home in couch co-op, gamers are sure to enjoy this massive title. “Borderlands 3” is a blast.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.