A few days ago I was gifted a copy of Borderlands 3, the latest entry in a long running loot driven shooter series I’ve always been lukewarm on at the best of times. There are a lot of reasons that I didn’t rush out to purchase the game when it released last year, but a friend of mine displayed his overwhelming generosity by purchasing me a copy in our latest attempt at finding a game that we could play together. At the time of writing this we haven’t actually been able to synchronize our schedules and play together, but I have put a little bit of time into Borderlands 3 regardless.
I initially didn’t intend to ever play this game considering that the idea of supporting Gearbox Software CEO and magician, Randy Pitchford, a colossal tool that’s no stranger to controversy, was just not something I felt comfortable with. But despite my feelings about the man at the top, I know there are genuinely good people who work on these games that wish their boss would just shut up and stop stealing focus away from the product they’ve worked on for years.
The first thing I ended up doing in Borderlands 3 was turning the volume down to the point where I don’t have to hear any of the dialogue. I’ve never thought the narrative in Borderlands games were anything worth a damn, but I know some people would disagree. The real reason I silenced the game however, is solely because I generally find these games deeply unfunny. Sure there are a few jokes that land, but for the most part I just find a lot of the dialogue to be grating. Often times the humor tries trade on this concept of everything be over the top and wacky in a way that just feels desperate. Like they’re begging you to chuckle at something to the point where literal shit is flying out of toilets when you open them, something I’m sure someone finds deeply funny.
From the little bits of story I’ve reluctantly picked up during my playtime, it seems like the whole plot revolves around two twins who are post-apocalyptic Twitch streamers, which is one hell of a premise to bank on. I’m genuinely terrified of how many times I’ll hear a phrase like, “and don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe, or else I’ll blow your brains out.” I’d love to be proven wrong, but the series doesn’t exactly have a great track record in that regard.
But once you mute the dialogue and just follow the quest markers towards the next group of things to shoot, Borderlands 3 is a mechanically sound and fun experience. In my opinion, the Borderlands franchise has never excelled at much outside of being a really fun cooperative game that gives you a lot of ways to dispatch your enemies. The variety of powers, guns and grenades at your disposal are seemingly infinite, and you’ll get so many of them that you’ll find yourself drowning in what I imagine a Second Amendment themed wet dream might look like.
Ultimately I can’t really see myself playing much of Borderlands 3 on my own, but when I’m finally able to sync up with my pals I’m sure I’ll have a much better time. From what I’ve played, Borderlands 3 isn’t a bad game by any metric, it just doesn’t seem like something I would want to experience on my own. I’d rather talk to my friends and make actually funny jokes over what I can only assume are the in-game characters making old meme references. And I don’t need a game to do that for me when I can do it just fine by myself.