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Borderlands 3 Game review

Game review 02 October 2019, 15:23

author: Daniel Stroρski

Review of Borderlands 3 – Space Never Changes

The cult series of looter shooters has returned to give us crazy firearms and tons of cannon fodder to kill once again. What's new in the world of armed Sirens and Space Vaults? Not much – and that's exactly what we wanted!

The review is based on the PS4 version. You can check also XONE version.

 
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Back in 2009, the media went crazy for the "first-person shooter Diablo," in which the inventive, randomly generated guns, cel-shaded graphics, and absurd, black humor brought about a small revolution in the cooperative FPS genre. That was ten years ago. Why go back? While the players, the media, and the entire industry have moved on, the Borderlands series has stuck to the guns – both in terms of upholding a proven gameplay formula, and ignoring current (not necessarily player-friendly) trends – unfortunately, also in terms of graphics and optimization, which are visibly lagging behind the modern standard.

Because of reminiscence!

PROS:
  1. absolutely sensational shooting model;
  2. a huge array of distinctive weapons;
  3. freedom in choosing your own style of play not constrained by classes;
  4. more open locations that are easier to navigate;
  5. new heroes with lots of new abilities;
  6. two options for playing with friends – cooperation, or friendly competition;
  7. thoughtful endgame – there's plenty to do after completing the game.
CONS:
  1. terrible texture loadings, dipping performance on consoles;
  2. annoying, sponge enemies – not only in endgame;
  3. lack of basic conveniences in multiplayer mode;
  4. the writing of most characters is half-baked at best;

You can see what Borderlands is right at the first glance – a group of vault hunters enters a world full of bloodthirsty beasts, and psychos armed to the teeth, to dig up some legendary treasures. In terms of gameplay and story, the game provides exactly what's expected, but not much more. The developers repeatedly stated that what they were going for was more guns and new heroes, so no one really expected the third part to bring about a revolution. The classic principle of "bigger, better, more badass," is clearly the one underlying this production, and it works out great for this kind of game. If it only concerned the technical aspects of the production, too...

To be more specific – you get 30 fps on the weaker versions of current-gen consoles (1080p on PS4 and 900p on Xbox One), while the buffed-up PS4 Pro and XOne X let you choose between 1800p @30 fps (Resolution Mode), or 1080p running at anything between 40 and 60 fps. So much for the technicalities. I played on the Pro for a while, and contemplated putting the console into the fridge – it was definitely building up some heat. The regular PS4, on the other hand, seemed to cope better with the challenge, but the framerate was noticeably dropping, even in menus, and particularly in the inventory. Because of this, you can pretty much forget split-screen, and the lags can effectively take any fun out of playing in a team of 3 or 4. But you can play if you really want to. There's but one conclusion: on the basic versions of consoles, Borderlands 3 is best enjoyed solo, or online with a friend.

When it comes to graphics, I don't have a problem with the cartoonish style, I can even bear with occasional object pop-ups, but watching the textures being constantly loaded was no fun. Each new location needs a while to cover the (rather poor) solids with details, and as you watch that, it's hard not to wonder if Gearbox will finally figure out cell-shading properly within the next decade. Sure, it's prettier than before (even with remasters considered) and more colorful (which works well for this game), but it's direct opponents include games like The Division, Destiny, or Anthem, so it's not really our fault we expect more – a steady framerate at the least.

What do you know about killing?

Since we've already started comparing, I have to admit that none of the titles mentioned above gave me so much fun as any installment of Borderlands – the third one included. I started by moaning a bit about the technicalities because these are some genuinely glaring issues – however, the game is otherwise fun as hell. The developer has bet on a brand new shooting model, and this can be felt with every pull of the trigger. Weapons clearly have weight and recoil, and most guns have alternative fire modes. A pistol can become a grenade launcher, a sniper rifle can also work as a shotgun; some weapons can also deal elemental damage.

DROP IT!

Borderlands 3 brings a myriad of diverse firearms. Special guns make a comeback – these are the guns that can't be reloaded, but are rather thrown away after emptying the clip, exploding like grenades. But the devs took it a step further. For example, there's a gun that turns into a stationary turret when you throw it away. Brilliant.

Naturally, the weapon is created randomly each time, and is characterized by special features depending on its brand. Tediore again provides guns that aren't reloaded, but rather thrown away. There's also the COV (Children of the Vault) gun – a weapon with guided bullets used by Atlas. Also, if you often use guns of the same manufacturer, you can count on a thank-you email and a unique gift!

The pure joy of regular shooting is somewhat spoiled by the more spongy enemies. I don't remember having to stuff so much led into some basic enemies at any stage of the earlier releases form the series.

This variety of weapons lets the player have more fun with gunplay, but also requires taking advantage of the scaled-up maps. I often had to look for new vantage points, which was not easy in a destructible environment. Fortunately, we're finally able to climb any platform and ledge. I didn't even realize how much I needed this feature!

 
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