Review: Borderlands 3 offers a ‘Call of slooty’ gaming experience

The latest and greatest Borderlands game brings more shooting and looting in the same package

Updated - September 23, 2019 09:04 pm IST

Published - September 23, 2019 05:36 pm IST

Avalanche Studios’ first-person-shooter game, Rage 2 (released in May), with its maniacal bluster, deflated our expectations faster than a balloon pricked at a child’s birthday party. 2K Games’ Borderlands 3, hence, was expected to give us a much-needed fix of carnage and loot. Squarely falling under a sub-category of gaming called shlooters, the Borderlands series has prided itself over its abundance of loot, especially with Borderlands 2 providing, as it tagline claimed, a ‘Bazillion’ guns. After a disappointing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Borderlands 3 comes to us with more guns.

What’s it about?

The MacGuffin in the Borderlands series has always been a mythical vault on the planet Pandora, which is rumoured to have alien technology. It prompts widespread carnage as corporations and cults engage in an arms race and devastate the planet. With news that there are multiple vaults buried all over the planet, the various factions unite under one banner known as Children of the Vault, led by the Calypso twins, Troy and Tyreen Calypso.

  • The success of Diablo has spawned a number of games as well as genres — from rogue-likes to hub-based online games. But the biggest takeaway from Blizzard’s hit RPG has been the call of loot. Borderlands is one such game which rose to fame, using the same loot formula to build a fun, first-person-shooter set in a Wild West meets Mad Max science-fiction realm. With its razor-sharp dark humour, it has bravely taken on the industry with extreme success. Despite its flaws, Borderlands 3 is a commercial success, which goes to show Gearbox that their formula works.

You play as one of the four vault hunters, Amara, a being of immense power and one of the six Sirens who can manifest multiple arms like an Indian goddess. Then there is FL4K, a robotic beastmaster who controls three pets. Moze is always accompanied by her 10-ton mecha and, as a gunner class, she is proficient with lots of guns. Zane is an operative that specialises in stealth, sabotage and espionage. The characters are fun and have their own styles. So you need to figure out what you want from this game before you choose.

The same tongue-in-cheek humour is back and is there throughout the game, from the return of Claptrap, the robot mascot of the game, to the talkative bad guys. Borderlands 2 set the bar high, in terms of antagonists, with Handsome Jack, the ruthless head of the Hyperion Corporation. The Calypsos aren’t as menacing. Thankfully, the game is filled with stuff to shoot — the machine guns matter more than the narrative in this case.

Borderlands 3
  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Price: ₹3999 for PC, Xbox One, PS4

How does it play?

With your Gatling gun, grenade-launching mech and other mystical arms, you can cause large-scale devastation. The guns themselves are the stars of the show — the Wild West-themed ones, slick futuristic ones, ones with mounted shields or automated legs and more. You also get guns that burn and freeze your enemies as you scream maniacally.

The game’s quests send you mindlessly ricocheting around the map, across several planets, as an excuse to shoot as you gather points, skills and advance to further levels. But the game makes you grind to progress, and it doesn’t help that enemies are bullet sponges, absorbing magazine after magazine before they go down. Hopefully, the makers fix this in the future.

To some extent, it feels like you’re living in a cartoon, thanks to the signature cell-shaded style of Borderlands, which looks the same as previous games.

Should you get it?

If you want a game to breeze through, this is the one for you. With excellent shooter mechanics, lots of loot, and more powers, Borderlands got the update it needed.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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