There was a lot of drama surrounding the release of today’s game. Totally unnecessary drama too if you ask me. A whole bunch of swinging egos and misadventures of the people at the top of the development team that were worthy of a farcical comedy sitcom.
A situation that made me really worry about how this game would eventually turn out. It’s just one example of many this year where the big name at the top of the company is not the be all and end all of the process when making games. There are a huge number of hard working devs between them and the game that don’t have anything to do with the CEO’s insane antics. This is of course until this equally insane community needs someone to target for their misplaced anger.
#7: Borderlands 3
Played on Xbox One X | Released 13th September | Developed by Gearbox Software
I’d waited for so long for Borderlands 3. So when it finally came out, I had very mixed feelings about the fact that, while I enjoyed the game, it seemed to have come out five years too late.
Borderlands 2 was a very important game for me, for a while bunch of reasons. The fact that Gearbox were making a third game was the worst kept secret and something I was yearning to get my hands on pretty might from from the time I finished 2. When it finally got its initial announcement, expectations for that type of game It’d end up being were all over the place. What we ended up getting wasn’t necessarily on the cards.
Borderlands 3 is a followup to the second game in the most honest and pure sense. With games like Destiny and The Division becoming the spiritual successor to what Borderlands 2 had done in terms of randomising their weapon drops and adding RPG elements into their first person shooter, I’d been expecting the next game in this series to take a similar approach. They’s had enough time to think about it.
Gearbox decided to forgot the live game approach that so many thought they were aiming for when this was announced, and instead chose to make a game that was pretty much a carbon copy of Borderlands 2. Albeit a much more polished version of that game with a whole bunch of little quality of life improvements.
As a pure video game experience, I adore Borderlands 3. It’s a fast paced, irrelevant shooter that feels great to play and improves on many elements introduced in the previous game. Including its skill tree synergy, the effectiveness of its randomly generated guns and making the game much easier to play with your friends, no matter the difference in your level.
This is the kind of game that works best in an environment where you can just switch your brain off, listen to something else or jump into a party with friends and just tear your way through the different planets as you gain levels, gain loot and have a grand old time doing it.
But this is not a game without shortcomings. As I wrote about shortly after finishing the game, many of the most lacking aspects of the game didn’t really become apparent to me until I’d finished it. It might have been nostalgia for the previous games in the franchise driving me through them, but in terms of character and storytelling, I feel like Borderlands 3 really pales in comparison to what came before.
The fact that the player character seems to have zero presence within the story feels like something right out of 2005, as do many other aspects of the humour and storytelling going on in this game. I understand the style of writing and humour in borderlands is pretty contentious to many, and for the most part it never bothered me, but with so many other games coming out since and doing it better, the fact that borderlands 3 has remained the same as it did before feels like a negative.
After the DLCs, pre-sequels and Telltale games since 2 released, I’ll be honest and say I am invested in this world, its characters and their stories. I feel like BL 3 is something of a letdown in continuing and concluding this story. So many of the characters feel underutilised and their arcs seem to either peter out or never feel like they get off the ground.
Right now, with the first announced DLC on the horizon, I find of don’t feel myself having any drive to return to the franchise, which is very different to my unhealthy thirst to play the second game over and over and over.
While I’ve spend much of this entry complaining about Borderlands 3, it’s only because I want so much more for this franchise. And much of these complaints only revealed themselves in my mind in hindsight. The moment to moment experience of playing this game is as fantastic as it’s ever been.
In fact, with the time that has passed and more powerful platform to play it on, this is probably the best and most fun borderlands game to play in the franchise, coupled with new gun mechanics and the best set of classes they’ve had in any game. Borderlands 3 is a very fun, if very flawed video game that excels in being something played by a small group of friends. If you can drag them away from Destiny or Call of Duty long enough to get to that point.