Borderlands 3 (2020) by Gearbox Software

Borderlands 3 (BL3) is exactly what you would expect if you were a Borderlands fan. It’s got a wild range of whacky characters with a messed up sense of humor, world that jumps between the wild outback, futuristic space ships and crazy alien temples, lots and lots of amazing guns and a never ending mob of people to shoot and loot. Or Loot and shoot.

It’s biggest shortcoming according to most reviews is its poor writing and terribly antagonists. Apparently these villains being a cringe parody of YouTube/Twitch streamers annoyed most gamers and critics. Personally I was fine with it. I have never really cared for the villains in Borderlands and Handsome Jack was just one exception to that. And in retrospect, he just feels like a milder version of the Calypso Twins in Borderlands 3. So while the villains are loud, obnoxious, cruel and poorly motivated, this all feels right for a game where the hero is basically a glorified gold seeker. Or in this case, gun seeker. The game dangles the promise of another great vault in front of you and works its way through an average story to get you there. Throughout, you get to shoot (with improved gun play and graphics) and loot (with a better inventory management system) your way through. I particularly enjoyed this process in my 28hr run through because the guns were so much better than the previous games. I never really got around to getting the legendary guns in the previous games and was never motivated to seek them out through replays. BL3 solves this by giving you increasingly amazing guns from the start. You feel bad-ass pretty quickly and I think the game is all the more better for it.

What then is the game’s real shortcoming? The PC optimization. Good lord the frame drops on this game are terrible. Even on high, with 16gb or ram, an i7-6700 and a GTX 1070, I would jump anywhere between 60 to 15 fps. Disabling Nvidia overlay helped a bit but not nearly enough in areas with lots of fauna or when gun battles got really wild.

The other shortcoming is the game’s map design. Though large and varied in style, they are a nightmare to navigate while driving a vehicle. Simply put, its hard to enjoy the map when I have to keep staring at the 2D mini map. Furthermore, in some areas, I had to squint to spot the enemies. Their design meant that they often merged into the setting. This was not camouflage. it was just frustrating game play. I often glanced at the mini map to figure out which way to look because I could not spot the enemy. And this on a highly color accurate monitor!

Aside from these two things, I really didn’t have an issue with this game as a fan of the series and an average gamer. It was fun, rhythmically relaxing, and pretty much what I expected from BL3.

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