Borderlands 3 review

Borderlands 3 screenshots
Release Date
13 Sep 2019
Gearbox Software
2K Games
PC, Xbox One, PS4
Xbox One

Do you have a moment to talk about the twin gods?

In the power vacuum created after the fall of Hyperion (see Tales from the Borderlands), twin terrorists Tyreen and Troy Calypso have organised the remaining Pandoran bandit clans into a cannibalistic cult, known as the Children of the Vault, and they’re live-streaming their god-quest to claim all the Vaults as their own. As usual, there’s a fresh new batch of Vault Hunters ready to take them down, with all manner of gloriously violent and absurd methods of destruction at their disposal.

This is the couch co-op review of Borderlands 3, because, according to me, that’s the only true test of a Borderlands game. You get used to the constricted field of view and Borderlands 3 has vastly improved the experience while simultaneously making it worse than it’s ever been. More on that, later.

As Amara the Siren and Moze the Gunner, team Girl Power set off to wreak gratuitously gory havoc across the galaxy, with the fun really settling in around level 14. There’s now a “sharing is caring” game mode that gives everyone equal loot, which we shunned in favour of the traditional experience, because it’s not really Borderlands without 20-minute interludes of sulk-gaming after someone takes the super-rad purple that you totally called dibs on from across the map and WHY MUST YOU BE SO.

Borderlands 3 Vault Hunters

Gameplay is pretty much the same as previous installments (do quests, shoot things, collect loot, repeat), except now you also get to slide and mantle. Sliding never gets old, but mantling does, because first-person is not conducive to the kind of precision parkour required to reach some of the more hidden objectives.

Plotwise, all your surviving favourites are there, Sirens are (once again) a big deal, and the villainous twins, while pretty loathsome, never reach Handsome Jack levels of obnoxiousness, but that’s maybe asking too much.

Then there’s the guns (guns guns), and I don’t doubt that there are a bazillion of them, but you’ll probably only be interested in 10% of what you find while the rest are just slight variations on one another. I’m not even complaining, though, because that 10% should keep you amused for hours with the variety of lolworthy special features and secondary firing modes.

Borderlands 3 Eden 6

Borderlands 3 has a lot of quality of life improvements that impress, including a one-press, refill ammo option and revamped UI for menus and shops that is especially awesome for split-screen players. Shops, inventory, maps, and skill trees now make better use of the available horizontal space so everything actually fits on the screen. No more looking up and down to see clipped content – amazing. Quite a



amazing is what


when you are




Lag, guys, I’m talking about lag. Sorry for you if your co-op buddy decides to “quickly change a thing” while you’re in the middle of a fight, because you will experience very noticeable FPS dips, and potentially die, and it won’t have anything to do with how rubbish you are with Jakobs assault rifles (this time). This apparently isn’t even just a potato-standard Xbox One issue; people have reported similar lag problems for PC, Xbox One X, and both the standard and Pro versions of the PS4. The game also takes several long seconds to come fully into focus when you first start up, mission text and dialogue captions are tiny, and your characters look noticeably low res in the menus.

Borderlands 3 Menu Graphics

I’m never going to complain about having more Borderlands to play, which is exactly what you get with Borderlands 3, having provided some genuine entertainment, but the lag and graphics issues cannot be ignored. Borderlands has always been more fun playing with friends and one of the key appeals is couch co-op with a significant human of your choosing. While not a game-killer, it’s certainly disappointing.

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It's more Borderlands, what's not to love? Even the lag can't stop this stupidly fun, technicolour, joy-train from cutting an intergalactic path of murderous mayhem across the stars. It will cost it some points, though.
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