Level 50 Zane, 15 Amara.
Minor spoilers ahead
-The worlds you travel to are impressively large even though they’re broken up into smaller sections; the term “smaller” is used very loosely. I may be wrong but these are by far the most areas and largest in the franchise and its kind of impressive. My favorite level is the Lectra City section of Promethea. It’s both organized and maze-like where a gunfight can break out literally around every corner. All the sections are noticeably big and feel unique to the planet or area they represent with that “if it’s on the map there’s probably something there” design that not enough games take advantage of.
-The color pallet is miles better than any previous game in the series. This game can be pretty but its even prettier when everything is blowing up and shit catching fire, particle effects are trying to fuck your eyeballs. The previous games were kind of bland color-wise, the pre-sequel did try and venture out more but this is way above that in my eyes.
-The combat is sublime. I have heard people complain that doesn’t feel much different but I think they are wrong and need to go back and play the less enthralling, less involved combat of the previous games. You didn’t have many options in the first games when firefights broke out and it was dated but distinctly Borderlands. Now that the slide and mantle have been implemented (it’s about time really), combat is faster and players can take advantage of high points and hit cover faster. The slide even has combat implications once you get to the later parts of the story. It’s all very well worked and thought out as opposed to being just thrown in because it’s what shooters do now.
-The guns and gunplay are on par with Destiny, they may even be a little better when you consider how deep the loot is and how the stats visibly and tactically affect the guns they’re applied to. You get one Duke in D2 and you’ve pretty much got them all. Here you can get the same gun to drop and actually see and feel the difference between the stats it rolled with. The distinct differences in the manufacturers have really been leaned into as well. They reworked some of the distinct hallmarks of the makers and improved them to help ramp up the combat. This is minor but I really like how manufacturers will mail you guns the more you use theirs.
-Vehicle controls are muddy as hell and will take a second to get used to. It’s definitely not the best possible setting even after messing with controls for a few minutes. The default kind of forces you to shoot where you’re looking unless you’re standing still, you may want a little more flexibility in your controls which is available. That said, the models and their functionality are varied and cool but I’m honestly surprised they haven’t perfected controls yet.
-The story is decent, wildly better than the actual writing and dialogue itself (which doesn’t say that much) but once you get to the end there are some connection’s made that are interesting and well thought out. Now that I’ve gotten the “good” out of the way. What the fuck is up with all the cutscenes not having our character in them. All events in cutscenes play out like our guy or girl isn’t in the room and can’t affect the events that play out in them. There will be so many times where you yell at the screen as to why your character is never seen/not doing anything in pivotal situations that could use a Vault Hunter. LIKE THE ONE THAT SHOULD BE STANDING RIGHT THERE.
-Troy (male villain) literally says “You were like, ‘My powers boo hoo’!!” which is a Handsome Jack reference. It would be nice and nostalgic if it wasn’t the very first thing that comes out of his mouth when the Twins intercept you at the Dry Dock. Instead, it just seems beyond lazy and proves just how lacking in identity they both are. Tyrene is arguably worse, she just says things and then follows it with “I don’t believe that,” or “ That’s just something people say”. That could show how little she cares and that would be fine if it wasn’t the only thing about her that stood out. They almost do something interesting later in the story where Troy takes center stage but that lasts literally a boss fight. Both of them are just, underwhelming in almost every single way. All seldom the connection they have and how Troy is capable of being a Siren and Tyrene’s seemingly completely unique and powerful abilities.
Co-op, Optimization, and Performance
– Co-op will go from fluid and fantastic to laggy and rubber banding at the drop of a mag and it’s as frustrating as it is thrilling as hell. It’s strange what situations will slow things down and what runs smooth as hell. We had four people on one internet connection and everything ran really well. One day my friend and I tried with just us on Promethea and the session was so fucked I actually couldn’t see or fire my guns at one point and I had to back out and come back to get them functioning again. There are definitely more patches coming but for a game boasting online co-op, it should be better. I will say though, level balancing is amazing and can even be quite useful if you want guns to drop at level no matter where you are in the game.
People have been complaining about the UI and I totally understand, I don’t mind the design, what I do mind is how obnoxious the input lag is. Oh and the weird glitch where as you scroll your inventory, the pictures of the items toward the bottom copy to rows above them. It’s easy to fix in-game but…why is it even a thing?
How have they not fixed that glitch where your FFYL timer just drops off despite still having time on the meter. It’s happened since borderlands 1 maybe there’s a certain amount of damage you can take before the timer doesn’t matter anymore? I genuinely don’t understand it and on boss fights, it’s infuriating to lose money when you could’ve gotten a kill for your second wind.
-Of course, the first patch they put out isn’t to fix the performance issues but to kill the Loot Tink farm on at the Jakob estates. A farm you can still do offline fyi 😉 A billion guns and you mad people getting a slightly higher chance at getting the guns they’re just gonna get anyway. WHY
-The trinkets are cute but useless, why not put a minor stat buff on them to actually give them reason? They’re so small they almost don’t exist to me.
-Also, that end credits song is absolutely terribly chosen. The end sequence, in general, is just strange and seemed a little forced. Not how they presented it but what exactly they showed because as perplexing as it was to see what I did, I was just more upset I didn’t get the development of those scenarios to see how we reached the outcome. I’m trying not to spoil things but it’s difficult so I’ll just be quiet. I’m not even sure of what I saw but I do know what it looked like. I just wish there was more background given since our character gets literally none.
-REALLY weird cameos. Like, really strange.
tl;dr BL3 is an 8.5 for me which flys in the face of my many criticisms but I can’t deny how fantastic the gameplay is on top of the absolute wealth of content delivered, all without the modern monetization bullshit. The story is meh, writing meh, but god damn if it isn’t rewarding in its gameplay. IF you like BL as a whole there’s no reason not to play unless you’re waiting for the Steam release. An Endgame post is in the works.