Borderlands 3 has finally been released to massive hype and expectations the game has no problems exceeding. Borderlands 3 released on PS4, Xbox 1 and PC through the Epic Games store with a healthy dose of promotion, including an appearance in Epic Games’ Fortnite. Very little had changed since players last visited the vaults of the barren desert planet Pandora.
The story has progressed, new vault hunters have been introduced, and new worlds have been opened but the bones of the franchise are very much intact. Players choose from one of four Vault Hunters, each with three variations of their skill tree to be progressed as players level up. After players pick a vault hunter, they join the Crimson Raiders, a revolutionary group headed by the siren Lilith.
From here they embark on a journey that connects them with familiar friends like Claptrap, Hammerlock, and Zero, and new locations like the lush forest world Eden-6. Eden-6 is maybe the most aesthetically different and shocking of the new worlds in the game. The planet features overgrown vines, trees, and bushes winding through structures and covering extensive roads and pathways.
Athena is another standout planet. Of the multiple dense cityscapes in the game, this one may be the most beautiful and easiest to navigate via mini map. Athena’s heavy use of white marbles and narrow roads is a harsh contrast to the usual open and arid Pandora.
All four vault hunters are fun to use and unique from one another; their individual variations are also significant and worth trying. For instance, the Fl4k vault hunter is a Beastmaster type. Each of his variations allows him to spawn one of three different creatures. The first is a giant spider ant that burrows and ascends to enemies with elemental damage. The active ability on this skill tree allows Fl4k to summon several Rakk to descend on enemies in the area. The second variation is a Skag dog that pounces on enemies and deals massive amounts of damage. The third is a shotgun-wielding alien ape that comes with the secondary active ability of temporary invisibility. Players don’t need to worry about committing to any variation early. Skills can still be reset, this time aboard the interplanetary ship Sanctuary.
Borderlands 3 is everything fans hoped. Fans dreamed of a polished, nostalgic, hilarious and plentiful game and got it. For all its gloss and poppy colors, Borderlands 3 offers very little for players bored of the Borderlands format or new players who may have disliked the franchise. Borderlands 3 is so much like its predecessors it may have a hard time drawing in that disenfranchised but hungry player base.
Overall, Borderlands 3 is a wonderful game for entrenched fans and intrigued newbies, but those who disliked previous installments will find little of substance here.