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10 hours into Borderlands 3 (review)

Borderlands 3 does a good job of not punishing you for not having played Borderlands 2. There is a mandatory training tutorial with Claptrap, but it’s not too annoying because it allows you to do the thing you came to do, shoot things and get loot. There’s even a tutorial boss to get you acclimated to the mechanics of the fight. All the while Lilith is warping in and out of your mind saying that she’s coming, but she’s definitely taking her sweet time.

The goal of the tutorial is to establish a stronghold because the crimson raiders don’t have a base. Then you are tasked with preventing the bandits, who are now under one banner, from stealing a vault map.

By the time you reach the Holy Broadcast Center, Mouth Piece is your first actual boss fight and he’s not too complicated to figure out. His boss room is a disco club and the music almost made me want to dance rather than fight.

Almost.

There is a mission early in the game that makes you go into VR to rescue one of Vaughn’s clanmates. Nothing major changes. We just get a blue overlay that kind of makes the screen fuzzy, but overall there is no big change. I don’t know what I was expecting when they said you have to go into Virtual Reality to save her, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Eventually, Lilith gets caught by the Calypso’s and Tyreen steals her siren powers. Troy and Tyreen leave her for dead as they head to Prometheus in their quest to open to the vault. We end up saving her from preying bandits and then our goal switches to trying to stop the Calypso from opening the vault.

A lot of interesting things happen in the game lore-wise. I won’t spoil anything I’ve come across so far, just in case you want to play it yourself. But, I will say that I am enjoying the story so far. But I will say, Zero might be the best designed character in the game. And the space odyssey parts of the game are also pretty cool.

Comedy:

The comedy in this game is hit or miss. I find the more subtle remarks to be funnier than anything else. But, I mentioned that as one of my favorite aspects of this game during my Borderlands 2: Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary review (the DLC prequel to Borderlands 3).

There is a Mommy Dearest joke at the expense of a trash mob in this game. Vaughn pokes fun at reboots and remakes. And I don’t know why I think this is funny, but whenever Tyreen addresses us (as the player character) she calls us a super fan. I thought that was the funniest thing when I heard her say it the first time. It’s just one of those things I noticed that have nothing to do with the game-play itself, but it definitely adds to the entertainment factor as you get to know the villains.

Playing as Amara and Weapon Choice:

I really enjoy playing with Amara. I just like majestic characters with powers. Because of that, I chose to play a siren build. It just seemed like the easier way to make my play through as fantastical as possible.

I enjoy Amara’s Phaseslam, it’s a ground and pound that she uses with your siren hands. The area of effect and damage are very satisfying to me. It gets better as you build up your skill tree. Plus, it’s a very effective panic attack.

I tend to enjoy snipers in this game. They hit hard enough to allow you to make a difference while not being too close to the action. This allows me to just dip in and out of close-quarters combat with my Phaseslam.

There seem to be many different archetypes, so my inventory filled up pretty quickly in the beginning. I hesitated to get rid of anything at first because I’m not familiar with what’s best yet. That did change as I progressed in the game.

Side Missions, The Grind & Resources:

Some of the side missions can be completed as you work on toward other missions. But of course, grinding is the name of the game. I have to admit, traveling without fast travel is tedious. But it gets less yawning when you can fast travel. You can easily get sidetracked doing the side missions. But that is nothing to complain about, it just adds more depth to the game so you can spend more time in this world. Plus, the side missions allow you to get more loot, which will offer up more resources to sell later.

I mentioned earlier that I was hesitant to sell things at first. As I moved along in the campaign, I started to sell everything that I wasn’t using or didn’t enjoy playing with. It became more important to me to have the money in the game to get things I wanted and it helped with inventory management.

I by no means have probably even hit the apex of grinding for Borderlands 3, so I can’t speak to it very much. I’ve just been enjoying a leisurely pace. Especially since my first encounter with this game was the free DLC released this summer.

Playing with friends:

An interesting realization that may have been announced prior to the Borderlands 3 release is that enemies scale up. When I joined my lower-level friend, I still experienced enemies that met my level versus feeling overpowered while helping. That kept the challenge alive until we had the same XP level and could work together cooperatively to play the activities.

Overall, as a newbie to the Borderlands franchise, I am enjoying playing the game. I am playing on PS4 so I haven’t experienced any of the problems that have been reported on the PC format. Eventually, I will get to the endgame content and dig a little deeper into the game. I’m spending a lot of time grinding and leveling my character instead of racing o the endgame, but my first impressions are positive.

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