Ages ago, I considered doing a series of reviews on games based on the first half an hour of gameplay and nothing more. I never really got around to it because of just how varied that half an hour can be, and I was never really sure what rules to have. Should it be 30 minutes of straight gameplay only? Should I include troubleshooting and cut scenes? I never knew,so I never did it. But it was something I also considered doing with Borderlands 3.
Anyway, after many troubles trying to obtain Borderlands 3, I finally have the game installed and I started playing it. I have about 3-4 hours of game time so far, playing co-op with my brother using old Borderlands loot settings and playing with a party of three with the new cooperative loot setting. But frankly, even after those hours, I don’t think I can write anything even close to a proper review. There is so much to take in and do and write about.
There is also, weirdly, not much to review, when I think about it. I mean, sure, there’s a whole new story and all sorts of new stuff to write about, but the meat of the gameplay is… mostly the same. I mean, I can sum up most of Borderlands 3 with one sentence: If you like Borderlands, you’ll love Borderlands 3, otherwise it’s alright.
That would make for a boring review or article though. So I’m just going to throw out some things that really, really stuck out for me. I’ll probably go deeper into larger gameplay elements later on.
The first thing that stuck out was how the ‘tutorialization’ works. The tutorial is nice and tiny and doesn’t have nearly as much Claptrap in it. I mean, Claptrap is still there but you can get rid of him a lot quicker than before. Sure you have an annoying firehawk in your mind instead of an annoying angel, but it’s an improvement. I’m grateful for this because the tutorial area of Borderlands 2 felt like a massive slog in comparison. And since you get your ability at level 2 rather than level 5, you get into the skill trees and customization much more quickly.
The story on the other hand doesn’t really know what to do with itself. I mean, we suddenly have a whole new faction that appeared from nowhere after defeating another faction that appeared for nowhere in the Commander Lilith DLC. We’re basically back to square one again. I don’t really want to go into spoilers, but it’s all very much “ugh, Lilith”.
What I did notice though is how the guns are. There are definitely more different guns. I don’t want to say more guns overall because I don’t know, but there are different types of guns and more add-ons to said guns. A lot of guns have alternate firing modes and the brands of guns have had their brand-specific guns reworked – Hyperion guns have shields on the front, the freshly brought back Atlas guns have tracking bullets and the Children of the Vault guns (replacing the Bandit brand) have an unlimited magazine size but a tendency to break.
On top of that though, I noticed just how many more greens and blues and purples we are getting. I mean, I’m 2 hours in on one character and I already have a legendary shotgun and three really nice purple guns. I don’t know if it’s because of Cooperative Mode or not though because I have a bunch of purples on the other character as well. This requires more research.
The final obvious new thing is the ability to slide and climb up ledges. The sliding is no faster than sprinting but being able to climb up ledges gives you a lot more vertical options than before.
Overall, these changes are mostly positive. Heck, the only major issues I am having are the extremely long loading times on weaker computers, the crashes we all had in the same spot (just before you enter the building before fighting Mouthpiece, our host crashed there twice) and that the game is on Epic Games, which seems to load slower and more awkwardly than Steam does.
Really, the only actual non-bug problem I have right now is the UI, which is far less… responsive? Noticeable? I’m not sure. Something about it is bothering me though and I haven’t worked out what it is yet.
But aside from those things, it all feels like just more Borderlands. I don’t have a problem with that. More Borderlands is a good thing. Unless you don’t like Borderlands. But if you don’t like Borderlands, why are you looking at Borderlands 3 in the first place?