Borderlands 3 - Review
Stubbornly refusing to reinvent himself after five years of absence, Bordelands 3 remains true to himself and manages to outdo himself. With its refined movement and shooting phases, its legion of enemies offering you a consistent challenge, and the largest arsenal of mechanically distinct firearms I have ever seen in a video game, the title represents without a doubt. the most successful opus of this essential trilogy of cooperative shooters. If it is always pleasant to rediscover its stylized visual rendering, its so particular humor and its quirky plot, it is truly the exciting hunt for items occurring during these thirty hours filled with main and secondary missions having benefited from special care, which makes Borderlands 3 so good. The kind of adventure you'll see starting all over again with a new character and in the company of another group of friends.
You land on good old Pandora, who is on the verge of total collapse and overrun with bandits ... so far, nothing new under the sun. But unlike the previous opus, you are not stuck on Pandora and will have to venture on different varied planets, of staggering beauty. Whether it's Prometheus and its grimy metropolis bathed in neon light, or the peaks dotted with Athena's cherry blossom trees, each of them has a strong visual identity that allows them to stand out in a way. rarely seen in the series. And although few of them offer variations in mechanics, their environments are full of fun chests, collectibles, and easter eggs that make looting and exploring almost as fun as fighting. If I have repeatedly used vehicles to move from one point to another on these vast maps, the motorized shooting phases are generally still wobbly and boring. Therefore, I used only one vehicle for these purposes, when the mission required.
In this episode, your team members can set their sights on Moze the Gunner, Zane the Special Agent, Amara the Mermaid or FL4K the Beast King. It's a pretty cool bunch: FL4K's sneaky lines are hilarious, while Moze's pop-culture references, stepping in mid-fight and reminiscent of both Ariana Grande and John Wick, are particularly refreshing and eclectic. Until then, these are rather standard components for the series, but unlike the previous sections, each of the proposed classes sees its versatility reinforced by the possibility of choosing between three different action skills, each with a tree. particularly rich skills - except for Moze who has the ability to modify the attributes of his mech. My current build was designed to maximize my mech spawn time and minimize its cooldown, in order to increase the amount of damage inflicted. An approach facilitated by different class mods and special loot items, which offer powerful bonuses specific to the selected class, such as an additional charge for FL4K's Rakk Attack action skill, which allows it to send two creatures flying bombs his enemies.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to progressing within a class, including skill upgrades that evolve FL4K's familiar, or that endow Zane's drone with an aerial attack. . From my perspective, the passive and unique skills to unlock, like the one allowing you to sprint and shoot at the same time or add a very maneuverable turret to Moze's mech for co-op play, remain the most appealing.
The gallery of secondary characters evolving in these tumultuous cosmic lands easily eclipses the Calypso twins, the main antagonists of the title proving to be sympathetic but generic at will, when it comes to dispensing a plot that is both fascinating and fun. Interacting with Rhys Stronfork (who shined in Tales from the Borderlands), Katagawa Jr and Wainwright Jakobs (who happen to be the figureheads of the Atlas, Maliwan and Jakobs mega-corporations respectively) gave me an interesting glimpse into the differences. ideological issues between my three favorite arms manufacturers. This clever mix of storytelling and gameplay adds extra depth to your weapon collection. I also liked the fact that Borderlands continues to bring characters that were possible to play in previous games to the fore. While Lilith (playable mermaid in the first installment) shines as the leader of the Scarlet Raiders, not all of the franchise's iconic characters have received such enviable treatment. Visiting the monument dedicated to the memory of Roland, who was my very first Ark Hunter, and finding it covered in painful graffiti, really struck a chord with me.
Playing with friends is more fun than ever thanks to a marking system that can be used on enemies, objects or the environment to quickly indicate who needs to shoot what and to organize the movements of your squad. even when your teammates do not have microphones (I would like to thank Apex Legends for having made it an essential component of current cooperative games). While the chance for a friend to come and rescue you is always nice, the truly successful co-op feature in 2019 is the ability to share or swap various equipment and weapons after using them, given that they do not bind to your character after you equip them. It's also important to point out that your team can choose to play in Co-op mode, which activates instanced loot and features dynamic difficulty (so less ruthless), or Co-op mode, which disables scaling of enemies and allows the fastest player to collect all the items that appear, just like in the good old days (Borderlands 3 also includes a matchmaking system for various activities, which I did not however have the opportunity to test before launch).
A plethora of arsenal
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Borderlands is the fact that it never sinks into monotony in over 30 hours of play. I expected the high rate at which the new enemies, weapon archetypes and structures mission were introduced weakens ... but that never happened.
First, if your ECHO 3 mission log hadn't clearly identified them as such, I would have had all the trouble in the world distinguishing side missions from its main quests advancing the plot - and this is absolutely about a compliment. The optional missions given by the inhabitants of Pandora and neighboring planets are inventive, enjoyable and rarely akin to off-putting and repetitive filler quests, as is too often the case with side missions. You'll find a few quests that invite you to find a target and kill them, but almost all of them have twists and turns that make them unique - and when they don't, you're still left with the self-deprecating humor. of Borderlands 3 to console you. My favorite side missions are undoubtedly those that ignore convention, which are generally hilarious. Tyreen Calypso will offer you for example a legendary weapon if you commit suicide, a delicate decision making that still made me smile hours after completing the quest.
More importantly, after so many hours of play, I still feel a certain intoxication when a purple glow, synonymous with epic drop, appears, as Borderlands 3's incredibly varied and constantly surprising arsenal bursts through the screen. As with its predecessors, Gearbox has slightly disguised reality by announcing up to a billion different weapons, with almost identical models mechanically speaking and having slightly retouched statistics considered unique. Despite this rather dubious calculation method, the illusion that the arsenal at your disposal is endless works better than ever, thanks to the multitude of random elements with significant and legitimately unique effects on offer, such as a strange organic growth transforming your bullets. in elemental energy, a bipod stabilized with rockets or even a cannon spewing out a strange radioactive slurry.
This significant variance in terms of weapons is also facilitated by the greater importance given to the specifics that make it possible to differentiate each manufacturer. All Vladof weapons can switch between fire modes, for example with a Gatling gun convertible into a grenade launcher, while Children of the Vault (CoV) weapons do not need to be reloaded but can overheat if you pull the trigger too long.
But when it comes to the arsenal of Borderlands 3, arguably the most impressive is the weapon animations and the sensations they give you when you use them. These are the delightful little details - like the cocking of the dog on a revolver, the smoking and glowing barrel of a pump rifle, or a loosely secured bolt on an assault rifle - that one would expect. usually seen on “hand-made” models and not procedurally generated. In the same vein, the grip of many weapons is fantastic with the keyboard / mouse combo, thanks to a pronounced recoil and a very precise sound reproduction. My only minor criticism of the gunplay is the switch to crosshair / close-up view, which tends to obscure your target with lots of blasts.
Next comes the crème de la crème of loot: the legendaries. As in Borderlands 2, these weapons and gadgets represent the top of the lootable item basket, with unique visual peculiarities, which in many cases symbolize Borderlands 3's ability to be ever more surprising and absurd. So far, my favorites are undoubtedly the Laser-Sploder, which simultaneously spits rockets and a laser beam, the Cloud Kill, generating corrosive volutes that prove deadly for your enemies, or the (very Texas) Hellwalker, very close to Doom's Super Shotgun.
Not surprisingly, you will have the opportunity to test these overpowered weapons on a varied and original range of enemies. While the regulars of the license (bandits, skags, spiders and many others) are back and benefit from a slight facelift, you will also discover new types of enemies, such as the monstrous bald witch or the sniper, who won't hesitate to kill you if you can't find shelter quickly.
Borderlands 3 is not a game as service game like Destiny or The Division 2, which means all of your data is stored locally. While this is great news for gamers who want to play offline, there is a trade-off to be made: local storage means the possibility of exploiting certain vulnerabilities. If you play on PC (which was my case for the realization of this test), you will have to do violence to yourself not to succumb to the temptation to multiply different elements, which allowed me (for science obviously) to duplicate a legendary Many times. If you are an honest gamer, it is best to go through the adventure with like-minded friends. I expect a lot of players to take advantage of these loopholes when passages involving grind appear late in the game - but if that makes the Borderlands 3 experience more enjoyable for them, I have no idea where the problem lies.
Without going into too much detail, you will be opposed to several new types of enemies, such as the futuristic forces of Maliwan or even rat packs. The clashes turn out to be pleasant, even if the ratches, salgauss and skags are functionally very close. Maliwan's bandits and troops force you to be on your guard at all times, with more and more diverse squads arriving as you advance through the countryside. Unfortunately, things aren't always so exhilarating when it comes to bosses.
In terms of boss fights, particularly numerous in this new opus, the result is more contrasted and is sometimes akin to double or nothing. Most of them (especially as the end of the campaign approaches) turn out to be particularly good. There is in particular the exemplary combat against you against the terrible Agonizer 9000 (which has several critical points, generates walls of flame and also has a massive saw blade that you must dodge), also including a second phase mixing even more these various aspects. The good news remains that all the other bosses playing a major role in the plot follow this excellent formula: precise animations allowing to know the intentions of the enemy, demanding mechanics, and largely avoidable damage.
At the other end of the spectrum is Killavolt, who covers the entire arena in waves of impossible to avoid and near-fatal electricity, even slaying your entire team simultaneously. Worse yet, its electric field also kills weaker enemies, which would otherwise give you a chance to revive by performing a "second wind" kill. It turned out to be so needlessly frustrating, that I attempted to contact Gearbox to make sure I hadn't skipped a mechanic to make this fight less painful. Which unfortunately was not the case. I'm not sure exactly what the developers were aiming for here, but I'm definitely not a customer of these kinds of clashes.
Your adventure does not end once the end credits are displayed on the screen. Borderlands 3 gives you new ways to play, including Chaos Mode, which has a progressive difficulty and some enemies endow some random effects (like doubled amount of projectiles fired), which allows you to get better rewards. Once Chaos Mode is unlocked, you'll also start gaining new Guardian levels that provide additional stat buffs, like enhanced damage, and cool effects, like increased chance to drop after performing an execution. Add to that the Ultimate Hunter mode (or New Game +), the Circles of Massacre (a rather effective horde mode), as well as the all new Training Ground (similar to rifts in Diablo 3 that would not be generated. randomly) and you get a particularly filling endgame - more so than in any other Borderlands game.