On Sept. 13, game developer Gearbox Software released the highly anticipated "Borderlands 3" for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Google Stadia and Microsoft Windows. "Borderlands 3" comes seven years after its predecessor "Borderlands 2".
The game improves on previous outings yet stays familiar in the best ways possible. There are returning characters from "Borderlands 2" such as ClapTrap, Mad Moxxi and Lilith, as well as newcomers like Ava.
"Borderlands 3" is a much bigger game than the first, second and pre-sequel. It adds many layers of customization, from character clothing to special abilities and weapon class modification. There is a little bit of everything for every play style.
Instead of staying on one planet, there are multiple planets to explore, featuring different scenery and creative enemies. You play as one of four new characters (known as vault hunters) who, for reasons revealed in a hilariously beautiful opening scene, must now fight an obnoxious cult run by the Calypso Twins.
Like most forms of chaos, "Borderlands 3" is an acquired taste. "Borderlands" is a game that isn't afraid to spew out a few offensive and sexual jokes, but that’s not always a bad thing. Constant pop-culture references (including the voice acting talents of magicians Penn and Teller and rapper Ice-T) will make you laugh for hours.
In between the comedy, the game can hit hard emotionally when it needs to. In terms of story, the game’s only downfall is its main villains. Their names are Troy and Tyreen, and they're some of the most obnoxious bad guys in gaming. Their catchphrase is "Like, subscribe, and obey." While it's a funny take on YouTube culture, it gets annoying as the game progresses.
"Borderlands" continues to innovate in the shooter genre by including alternate fire modes on some weapons. For example, some shotguns double as grenade launchers. There is even a gun that shoots more guns. It is unusual, but it remains true to "Borderlands" fashion. New jumping and sliding mechanics also change the pacing of combat and on-foot travel.
Enemy difficulty in this game can be frustrating at times. It goes from a couple of enemies to being swarmed by 15 enemies who are unusually smart. Thankfully, the difficulty level can be changed at any point during the game.
The four characters to choose from are Amara the Siren, FL4K the Beast Master, Moze the Gunner and Zane the Operative. Amara has ethereal powers to aid her in her journey. FL4K has loyal beasts that follow him and help him defeat enemies. Moze has a highly customizable mech for extra firepower. Zane is a master of gadgetry and stealth.
Each character has augment branches as a way to express your individual play style. Instead of one subclass, each character has three subclasses (action skills) to choose from.
While the game has lots of positives, it has some negatives as well. Several graphical issues include missing textures, frame skips and lag. The most lag occurs while playing online and accessing the menus. The mechanics for vehicles is smoother than in previous games, which leaves more room for error while driving.
The game is still in the early works, and these issues will most likely be fixed in the future. Despite the issues, "Borderlands 3" is smart, wacky, bloody (which can be turned off if you prefer no gore,) hilarious, heartwarming and sticks to its core identity. The game is amazingly expansive, it and was well worth the wait.
The game is rated M for Mature (intended for audiences over the age of seventeen.)
Caitlin Scott is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Caitlin69123118