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Borderlands 3 Anniversary brings new reasons to replay the game

Borderlands 3 is crazy, frenetic, bombastic, goofy, and all over the place. Whereas it’s not as inventive as its predecessors (Borderlands 2 & Borderlands 1), it still thrives on what makes the original games so good: the sheer amount of guns, the RPG elements, the cartoonish-style, and the excessive humor.

Is not a reinvention of the franchise, by any means. No Borderlands game has changed too much from the last. And after a five-year absence, it comes back with stunning graphics, precise gameplay, and lots of guns, and an almost open-world narrative. It’s like playing Borderlands 2, but bigger, better. Not exactly anything new, but yes exactly what we fans were waiting for.

With a stubborn desire to be any different, Borderlands 3 instead brings perfected mechanics. Movement is refined, challenges are enjoyable, enemies are varied, and weapons are crazy. It has the largest arsenal of dramatically distinct weapons in the video game industry. It also has the widest amount of different enemies I’ve seen in any video game.

It’s challenging enough for pros, easy enough for beginners, and massively fun for both. A year after its release, Borderlands 3 has turned into the best modern co-op shooter.

Borderlands 3 has turned into one of the best co-op shooters

Borderlands 3 celebrates its anniversary

It’s been a year since the hit & miss debut of Borderlands 3. Its September 2019 debut was full of bugs, glitches, frame drops, and other performance issues. Its partly disastrous premiere is the reason why so many players have already ditched this game.

But a year has passed and Gearbox Software has put a lot of love into the title. Now, Borderlands 3 is as flawless as it is insane.

Borderlands 3 is celebrating its anniversary from July 30 to September 10 with 6 mini-game events to showcase its first birthday. If you’ve been a loyal fan since launch, some of the events are going to feel familiar whilst still delivering something new to keep you interested.

On top of that, Gearbox Software just released its new DLC, Bounty of Blood, as part of its season pass. More reasons to return to Borderlands 3 or to play it for the first time.

Borderlands 3 anniversary events

Here are all of the Borderland 3 anniversary free mini-events. You can participate as long as you have your original Borderlands 3 copy.  The events are included in every version of the game, DLC, and add-on. It includes the Season Pass as well.

ECHOCast Overload July 30  – August 6 Increased chance of getting Legendary Loot during Rare Chest Events (Echocast Twitch)
Bonus Boss Loot August 6 -August 13 Bosses have increased chance to grant Legendary loot
Loot Monster Mayhem August 13 – August 20 Better spawn rates for loot from
Show me the Eridium August 20 .- August 27 Increased Eridium loot and Eridium item special discounts
Mayhem Made Mild August 27 – September 3 Free access to all Easy modifiers in Mayhem game mode.
Making It Rain September 3  – September 10 Enemies drop more in-game money.

 

At the same time, Gearbox Software launched Borderlands 3’s third DLC, Bounty of Blood, which is included on the Season Pass or on in the Super Deluxe Edition. Let’s see what this is all about.

I haven’t played the Bounty of Blood DLC as it only came out. All I know is that it’s set in a wild-wild-west world as you have to go to an old-school town and follow an old-school narrator whilst riding a heavily armed vehicle you’ll be using al lot.

Here’s a video showcasing the new DLC. It looks…a bit lame. However, the other two DLCs are great.

Borderlands 3 Anniversary Review

Borderlands 3 sets the return to the game’s psychotic meat-rider universe to kill a bunch of things, pick a bunch of loot, sort through your inventory, and follow the secondary plot. Over and over.

The title introduces a new cast of Vault Hunters. You can select between 4 different heroes at the start of your journey to enter a futuristic, absurd wasteland that’s there to make you laugh. The world is expansive, much more than it has ever been on the franchise. Now, instead of a single planet, there’re 4 very different and rich planets you can explore, each one with hundreds of enemies, thousands of randomly-generated weapons, and hundreds of challenges.

It does so with the same stylized art, insane dialogues, on-the-nose humor, and self-aware characters. The booze-fueled storyline is amusing an all, but it’s not what makes Borderlands 3 such an excellent game. In fact, if you pay too much attention to the plot, you’re not going to like it.

What you’re here to like is a world that’s 2 times better than what we saw on the prior entries of the franchise. You’re here to enjoy the addictive loot chase that unfolds over 40 hours of frenetic shooting,  insane side quests, and a lovingly crafted main quest. Then, you’re going to do it again with a New Game +, or you’re going to do it again simply to try out a different build or a different character.

As a first-person-shooter RPG, Borderlands 3 succeeds with its perfected gameplay and unique graphical style.

Borderlands 3 is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

More explosions and less plot

The crazy part is how you can invest yourself so much into a quest about how good is coffee but then feel bored about the main plot that involves two cartoonish villains. That’s a major set -back for the franchise: the prior main villain, Handsome Jack, has been an absolute highlight in the prior entries (including the infamous Pre-Sequel).

Then again, this is the kind of game that makes you walk by poop, makes a joke about it, and then use it as an explosive ingredient. So…is the plot all that important? Probably not.

The game starts when you arrive at the planet Pandora once again, and it’s overrun by drugged bandits…once again. This time around, though, you venture across several beautiful planets, from the cherry-blossom peaks of Athenas to the neo-Tokyo-Esque metropolis of Promethea. Each planet stands with its visual concept, enemies, and missions.

You, as a Vault Hunter, are set to open treasure-filled vaults all across the stars. However, the new big bads in town, the Calypso Twins, swore to open the same vaults as your heroes, and….and that’s all there is to it. They are just gritty and shitty, so that’s the plot. No worries, though, as there’s a lot to do besides dealing with the twins.

The good stuff is the side quests. Filled with in-your-face humor and non-sensical dialogues, you get help Claptrap to build a new robot “friend” for his private purposes. You also get to plant a massive poppy explosive to save a farm. There’s one mission where you help a guy open a burger joint while he keeps yelling “BURGERS!” at you…it’s borderline deranged, and that’s the whole point.

It all feels like a retro shooter rather than a present game filled with modern pop culture. And I love it for that. I love games (or any kind of art) that does its own thing. And whilst doing its own thing, the mechanics and gameplay found in Borderlands 3 are some of the best in the market, especially when playing co-op with friends and family.

It’s all about the explosions and the guns and less about the actual plot. Or, as Claptrap says…

“On Pandora, it’s actually super-wierd when something’s not exploding” – General Claptrap

Gamer’s experience

This FPS RPG excels for its weapon generating system. It spits new guns left and right, and most of them feature unique mods and functionalities that include, for example, exploding worms.

It’s a Diablo-like game with hordes of bugs, goons, monsters, soldiers, bosses, elemental particles, explosions, and increasing damage numbers. It brings everything that made the prior two games great, only in bigger numbers. It’s both the best and the worst parts of the game, depending on how you see it.

Combat is always a fun experience on Borderlands 3, even if it’s just a small mutated roach. Everything looks so cool, skills are so smooth, and skill threes are so exciting that you’re going to be repeating pointless tasks many times simply for the combat experience and the combat XP.

On top of that, you get new movement mechanics like gliding and sliding, which makes dodging an important element in this game, unlike its predecessors.

Bosses, though, are not always a fun experience as they might be harder than necessary. Lucky for you, most of them come with a set of abilities you can dodge plus a set of weak points you need to exploit. Some are quite the hack, so prepare yourself for a couple of frustrating moments.

Ultimately, you decide how much you’re going to enjoy Borderlands 3. You get to decide how many times you’re going to kill, loot, and find new side quests. It’s all a matter of how many hours per day you’re going to play this game.

The Vault Hunters

As per usual, there’re for characters you can take, each one with its skill and set of passive skills. The characters are Moze the Gunner, Amara the SirenZane the Operative, and FLK the Beastmaster.

I find Moze the best as he constantly pulls mid-combat references from sources like John Wick and Ariana Grande. Otherwise, these are fairly standard for a Borderlands game. They build possibilities are wide, fun, and challenging nonetheless.

There’s also a great cast of supporting characters bringing side quests, backstories, and emotive moments. The list includes major characters from the original games, like Lilith the Siren shining as the leader of the Crimson RaidersThe somehow amusing Calypso Twins come out generic when its time to deliver a compelling story, though.

There’re four different Vault Hunters available. Gearbox Software might increase the number of characters on a future DLC. Source: Borderlands.

The side missions are the good part

The ECHO 3 mission log doesn’t categorize side quests as such, so you’re going to have a hard time distinguishing the main plot from the rest of the stuff. That’s a good thing: optional tasks across Pandora and the other planets are creative, varied, and fun. They are rarely formulaic, rarely fetch quests or repetitive chores.

“This is the ECHO 3, slightly better than the last but twice as expensive” – General ClapTrap

Even the “fetch and kill” kind of quests got an extra ingredient to make them feel unique.

Believe me, you’re going to play everything, and there’s nothing useless here. Plus, Borderlands 3’s self-aware humor is going to give you a light experience and make good company during every situation.

Gimme more

The arsenal is what sets apart this game from other shooters. There’s a great emphasis on “weapon manufacturers.” For example, all Vladof weapons can alternative between two firing modes. Or all Children of the Vault weapons can overheat but don’t need to reload.

Equally impressive is how the weapons look different from each other. You have red-smoking guns, electrified assault rifles, venom-breathing shotguns, and everything the creators imagined.

At the same time, most weapons feel fantastic either on your mouse and keyboard or on your controller because of its crisp sound mixes.

So, overall, gunplay is just perfect, and it gets better when you start finding that sweat Legendary loot. As a celebration of how far Borderlands 3 decided to go, each mod on the Legendary weapons was handcrafted by the team. That gives you fan favorites as the Laser-Sploder that spits lasers and rockets at the same time; or the Hellwalker, which looks like Doom Eternal‘s Super Shotgun.

Most weapons are so fun to keep around that you’re going to have a good time changing them, even when the new one is twice as powerful. And there’s plenty of guns and plenty of opportunities to shot!

Borderlands 3 Weaponry
There’re probably infinite guns on Borderlands 3 as there’s a system that generates random weaponry per every loot pile.

Playing cooperatives campaigns is the best experience

With all of that said, Borderlands 3 presents a great cooperative experience, either online or offline with your friends sitting next to you.

There’s a special system that makes it particularly good. It’s a system you can use on enemies, items, or the environment to clarify who you think should shoot what, even if your teammates don’t have a headset or a mic.

Another great system is the ability to share weapons and accessories you’ve already used as nothing is bind to your character. That turns Borderlands 3 into a friendly experience.

You could play the campaign in cooperative mode, which increases the enemies’ health bar by tenfold, as well as the loot and the rewards. This Cooperation Mode has various options regarding loot pickups, which includes “the fastest guy picks it up” ala Borderlands 2.

The Co-op mode can handle teams of four players. Your friends can drop-in and drop-out your match with their characters regardless of story progression. PC Gamers can only enjoy online or LAN-connected co-opt, but not local split-screen campaigns.

The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 also support local co-opt up to two players with a split-screen. Luckily, the game will work on both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X because of backward compatibility.

It’s all about the campaign

There’re no extra modes other than joining the campaign, however, you can go raid whatever you feel like as Borderlands 3 has open-world features. That also includes entering the “pits” where you get to fight hordes of enemies and swarms of monsters.

The game also stores all of your data locally unlike games like Destiny 2 or The Division 2, which means you can continue playing your co-op campaign offline.

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In Summary

If this was a 2020 game, I’d choose it as the best co-opt shooter of the year. But it’s a late 2019 edition that suffered from a rushed release date. Even so, thigs that made it great were there already: massive amounts of love,  a lot of insane enemies, and endless unique weapons.

But, as I said, a year has passed, and now Borderlands 3 is flawless unless you don’t like its kind of humor or don’t want to follow this kind of plot. Otherwise, it feels fresh, fine-tuned, fun. Most of all, though, Borderlands 3 is an amazing co-op FPS RPG, a must-play experience.

Borderland fans, in particular, will love the third installment. Its energic and replayable 45 hour plus campaign (counting the 3 DLCs) is what makes Borderlands 3 such a high-point in the franchise. It takes what makes the original games good up to eleven to elevate the shooter genre as a whole, even with its shortcomings.

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