Borderlands 3 came out and the world didn’t change that much. And boy is that a disappointment. For a series that many fans love to play – and endlessly talk about – the third instalment is not getting the warmest reception from fans or critics. The main complaint seems to be that the game gives you more of the same but not more of the stuff that makes the previous games great and compelling. Is this a fair criticism and how does Borderlands 3 fall short of expectations? I’ll try to delve into the arguments in this article.
The first thing is that people are complaining about Borderlands 3 not innovating enough on the tried-and-true (but somewhat old) formula established by the first two games. Where it does change things, it is not for the better and results in a more stiled, confined experience than ever before. If you’ve played Borderlands, then you know why that second complaint is quite a big one.
To a large extent, Borderlands 3 feels the same as the previous two games in key ways. But the exploration element is hugely curtailed. Some points do feel like they are on rails and it is bizarre. In this regard, we get some of the same old good stuff – the combat – but lose a huge component that made Borderlands 3 unique – the exploration and loot collecting. Speaking of which, you start getting pretty epic gear really early on whereas the other games made you grind, explore, and level for it. Taking these two fundamental changes, Borderlands 3 feels like a step backwards and that’s never a good thing.
Nonetheless, core complaints centre around weird changes and lack of change in other areas. In an era where everyone complains about change no matter what form it takes, is Borderlands 3 making a fundamental error? Not at all, but there’s still something “off” about Borderlands 3 and that is hard to get over.
For example, when you’re lacking in exploration and self-directed adventure – such as grinding for gear, etc. – then the storyline and all that comes with it becomes much more central to everything. And here Borderlands 3 is a weird combination of serviceable, B-movie fare and immaturity on levels that will have you questioning whether or not your “overlooked” something with the other two games. No, you didn’t, it’s just not as artfully done here. Everything has a kind of rushed feeling that makes it less than appealing. That’s a shame, too.
But don’t take my word for it: Users are complaining about game-breaking bugs and many are speculating as to how this game could have made it through quality testing given some of the problems being reported. Stuff like that can change and be fixed in the end, but core gameplay issues tend to stick around unless the dev is really willing to push changes through updates and the like. Don’t get me wrong, Borderlands 3 is a fine game…it just doesn’t feel like Borderlands.