A while back, I wrote a piece talking about my concerns for Borderlands 3. It was a story I’d seen unfold so many times before; a follow-up to a highly regarded game that only comes after a long break. To many, the game has been a disappointment, if you listen to the same Podcasts I do anyway. To me though, Borderlands 3 was exactly what I wanted it to be: More Borderlands.
Believe me, I’m not blind to the various shortcomings of Borderlands 3. Some of which I agree with more than others. The biggest issue though, is that Borderlands 3 feels like a game out of time. Like someone went back to 2008/9 and plucked this sequel out of the timeline, and slotted it here in 2019.
It’s a criticism I cannot argue against. So many things about the game do feel like they’re woefully behind the times. Most things in fact, but my reverence for Borderlands 2 must blind me to these shortcomings, or at the very least not stop my enjoyment of the game.
Rather than spending this article talking about what this game is or isn’t, I want to talk about what I could have been, and why I’m glad that’s not what we ended up getting.
This is something I’ve brought up quite a bit in the past few years; we live in an age of living video games. So many of the most popular games right now are those made to have exceedingly long lifespans, filled with procedural content and made in such a way that they be nearly infinity replay-able.
As I write this, the newest Destiny expansion just landed, a game that I’m still playing two years after it’s release. Not to mention three other games on my regular rotation within the past few months have been Overwatch and Apex Legends. These are the types of games the market expects right now, and it seems that this is the kind of game a lot of the mainstream media were hoping Borderlands 3 was going to be.
Personally, I’m so glad this wasn’t the case. With three other older games sapping my time away from playing brand new releases, the thought of having another bottomless pit of online content feels like the worst kind of hell. So yeah, my reasons for wanting this are purely selfish. but let’s be reasonable (and brutally honest), I don’t think Gearbox have it in them to make Borderlands into a “Division” or “Destiny“. More likely, we’d have ended up with an “Anthem“.
What’s carrying me through Borderlands 3 is a combination of solid gunplay, interesting RPG elements and a fat heaping of nostalgia. I’m not blind enough to say there isn’t a long laundry list of things they could have done better with the game, but it plays well and feels incredibly faithful to the game that came before.
So much so that it does feel like it was plucked right out of a decade ago, as I said before. I am nearly finished with the game, and intend to write something else about it when I’m done. But the fact that the prospect of being done with this game is on the horizon fills me with some sense of relief.
Not because I’m desperate to be done with it or anything, rather I’m just happy that I can come and go from this game in the future at my own pressure and not feel the pressure of limited time events, patch updates and content drops that drag me away from anything else I’m playing to come back to something else.
I kind of feel this whole post was a glimpse into my lack of willpower when it comes to the tricks these developers are pulling over me