Borderlands 3 review - in space unchanged

Date: 2019-09-20 15:15:00
The review was based on the PS4 version. Also valid for the XONE version

In 2009, the media raved about " Diablo in the form of a first-person shooter", in which fancy randomly generated guns, cel-shading graphics and absurd dark humor constituted a small revolution in the co-op FPS genre. It was ten years ago. Why am I going back to this? While gamers, the media and the industry have moved on, the Borderlands franchise has stayed there - both in sticking to a proven gameplay pattern and ignoring current (not necessarily player-friendly) trends, as well as in visuals and optimization that are far from today's standards.

It's through ... well ... reminiscence!

Everyone can see the Borderlands as they are - a new group of crypt hunters sets off into the world of bloodthirsty beasts and psychols armed to the teeth in search of legendary treasures. We get exactly what everyone expected in story and gameplay , but there is also not much room for combinations here. For years, the developer only boasts of even more weapons and new heroes, so no one expected from the "three" a drastic turn towards any originality. They were guided by the classic "bigger, better, more badass", which still works great in "Border". If only the mentioned "better" concerned the technical side of consoles ...

Details - we get constant 30 frames in "poorversion", i.e. on PS4 (1080p) and Xbox One (900p), while in the case of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X we have 1800p / 30 (Resolution Mode) or 1080p with 40-60 FPS fluctuations -that. So much for the technical issue. I myself played the Pro for a while and it overheated mercilessly in both modes , while my standard PS4 model ran quietly ... and had terrible drops in frames in the menu, especially when browsing inventory. For this reason, you can forget about playing on a split screen, and a team of 3–4 people lagging in larger butchery can effectively discourage further fun - but you can play. There is one conclusion: on the weaker Borderlands 3 consoles, it is best to run alone or with a friend over the network.

As for the graphics, I have absolutely nothing to do with the comic book setting, I will even experience the occasional pop-up of objects, but the constant viewing of textures in front of our eyes simply tires. Each new location needs a moment to cover the poor lumps with details, during which it's hard not to wonder if the Gearbox will finally master cel-shading in the next 10 years. Of course, it is nicer than before (even taking into account the remasters) and more colorful (which comes out to "three" for good) , but in the genre we have a comparison with such series as The Division , Destiny or Anthem and you would simply want something better ... at least with a constant and higher frame rate.

What do you know about killing?

However, this is where I will end my comparisons with other series, because none of the aforementioned series made me as much fun as any edition of the Borderlands , including the latest one, of course. I started with technical issues, because it is impossible to remain silent, but it does not change the fact that I had a great time! The developer has opted for a completely new shooting model and you can feel it every time you press the trigger. The weapon has its own weight and recoil, and most of the guns have two different modes. Sometimes it will be a pistol with a grenade launcher function, another time a sniper rifle that can also hit enemies like a shotgun, another time - a rifle that deals fire or ice damage.

Naturally, weapons are created randomly each time, and they have special characteristics depending on the brand. Tediore serves poppers again, which we do not overload but throw away. It is also definitely worth getting interested in COV (Children of the Vault) equipment that shoots continuously, or Atlas's killing tools with homing missiles. Not only that - do you often use guns from one manufacturer? You can count on an e-mail with thanks and a unique gift!

The more "spongy" opponents come to the pure joy of shooting. I don't remember having to put as much lead into the basic cannon fodder at any stage of the game as in the "three" in the previous games.

This gives you the opportunity to play with weapons, but also to use larger, more complex boards. More often I had to look for a new position to fight enemy forces, which is not easy in a destructible environment. Fortunately, it was finally possible to climb to the edge of any platform. I didn't even know how badly I needed this feature!

Murder as you like

As the fight itself is the main course here, the creators decided to diversify it even more, giving us a completely free hand in choosing the style of play. The character class does not impose a given type of weapon, and numerous skills spread over three trees allow you to go crazy.

Let's take such a Zane - he can put up a shield and fire from behind it, but you can also invest in skills that increase damage dealt when the hero is not standing still , and speed up his movements after killing the enemy. No, it's not contradictory - it just gives freedom that many of the species can envy.

Let's add a few (instead of one) special skills, additionally improved with appropriate perks, and extremely cheap respec, i.e. the ability to reassign skill points. Ultimately, we get a huge playground , where nothing stands in the way of changing your style of play dramatically due to the unique weapon that just fell out of the chest. Story.

The proven and extensive core of the game also comes with numerous amenities, incl. marking legendary types of weapons on the map, the option of fast travel from anywhere, buying a full supply of ammunition with one button or the already known automatic picking up of loot parts. We even have a collection machine on board our ship that collects weapons that were overlooked during the demolition so that we never lose anything.

Co-op will forgive you anything?

No wonder the gameplay is so good - after all, the developer had a decade to sense what players liked and didn't ... right? Unfortunately, not everything has been thought out and refined here. The boards are often built like long corridors and if we want to join other players via the network (apart from the technical problems mentioned at the beginning), and they are in the process of completing missions, you have to start at the beginning of the map and run up to them. No fast travel there to another participant - run for a few minutes or wait for them to kill the boss and return to base. Not only that, sometimes the save point does not surprise (although I revived with it a minute ago) and throws us to the beginning of the map after death. Such mistakes should not take place.

Life begins after credits

However, there is something that ultimately determines the quality of the looter shooter - endgame. The plot is the story, but the game content available after watching the credits should be the most important here. I will not keep you in suspense - it's great. In addition to the classic True Vault Hunter Mode (New Game +), we also have Circle of Slaughter with newer and newer waves of enemies, and Proving Grounds, which tests how quickly we can cope in rooms filled with enemies. Added to this is, of course, the search for better and better equipment and driving endgame ranks (Guardian Ranks) developing the statistics of all characters on our account.

And these are not all attractions, because at the end I left myself a gem. After completing the main story missions, we get the option to turn on the Mayhem mode, which significantly increases the experience points gained and the chance of finding rare items , but also strengthens our opponents, making some absurdly capacious sponges for damage. Where do these delights come from? Well, in Mayhema not only enemies scale to the level of our hero, but also unfinished tasks. Thanks to this, the quests left at the beginning of the game will still be a challenge, and the rewards for completing them will not go straight to the bin.

Casino and "premium" currency

Finally, a word about the developer and publisher's approach to the player. Borderlands 3 features a slots casino, a special "premium" currency (eridian), and a whole host of skins for characters and weapons. And guess what? We do not pay for any of these items from our own wallet as part of microtransactions. One such one-armed bandit was even called a Lootboxer! However, I do not consider it a big advantage of this production - it is just a healthy approach to players and an opportunity to take a break from other, aggressive in this respect titles.