So what is wrong with it? You ask.
From a technical standpoint, nothing. The gameplay is decent. The AI is reasonably bright in single-player campaign. The game engine itself is a little problematic. I have an excellent graphics card and it was frequently straining even after I had lowered all of the settings. That is usually a reliable indication of bad design work. It might run better on consoles, I have no way to know if that is the case.
The artwork is excellent.
Nope, the problem with Borderlands 3 is story and the characters.
The OG Borderlands was decent enough shooter. I remember enjoying the fact that it let me wander around and explore a bit rather than keeping me on rails like every other shooter was doing back then. The story was minimal and non-intrusive. The NPCs were weird and interesting.
Borderlands 2 on the other hand had a pretty decent story. That game started with Clap-Trap finding you and then he ran you through the tutorial giving you a little background, with a lot pretty good jokes along the way. In fact all of the comedy writing was good and entertaining in BL2.
But the most interesting aspect for me was the evolution of the player character’s relationship with Handsome Jack, (a villain that would offer to pay you if you killed yourself and then pay-up if you did). At first you are nothing but a source of grim amusement for Handsome Jack. He makes a lot of jokes at your expense and clearly views you as a lightweight that he can polish off before lunch. He begins to get more angry with you as the game progresses, frustrated by his inability to finish off a guy who should be lightest of light work. By the middle of the game he is begging and pleading with you not to kill his daughter Angel, (even though she is begging you to do so). After you deliver the mercy killing, you have your first in-person meeting with Handsome Jack as he brutally murders Roland from the first game right in front of you. The tone is different after that. Jack doesn’t just want to kill you, he wants to take revenge on you. And interestingly you start to get to know Jack after that. You find out about his abusive upbringing and his “problematic” family life. He takes it pretty hard when you kill his girlfriend. When he dies at the end, he does so insisting that he was the hero of the story, not you. And he makes a decent case for it.
In Borderlands the Pre-Sequel, you meet a younger Jack who hasn’t climbed to the top yet. Here he is shown as a genuine hero. But one who has to make brutal choices. The kind of decisions where there really isn’t a good choice to make, just less bad ones. When Jack offers his trust, that trust is betrayed every time. At the end of that journey, he is Handsome Jack but you know how he got there.
Borderlands 3 starts the same way or rather tries to start the same way. You are found by Clap-Trap who runs you through the tutorial but then begins uttering a stream of non-funny jokes. Seriously, the corners of my mouth were never tugged at once. The humor which was such a strong aspect of the last game is non-existent in this one. There is an attempt at humor but it always fails.
The change to Pandora this time abound is that, there is now a cult that has taken over the whole planet. A brother and sister pair of Sirens.
Now if you are familiar at all with Borderlands you know that rule one is that there are only six sirens at any given time and they are all female. After a short while we are introduced to Ava who is going to be a Siren. And she is one of the most loathsome characters that I was supposed to like, that I’ve ever seen.
Ava is a complete and total Mary-Sue. She is obnoxious and you are meant to think she has a right to be. She blames other characters for the deaths that her actions have caused and they accept the blame. Everything out of her little mouth grates on you and you are left wondering how the hell the company that came up with Tiny Tina produced this wretched little troll.
But what really made me hate this game is the complete and total disregard for the Borderlands canon. All the rules that were long-established got thrown out the window. And for what? I’m telling you right now that whoever is writing this didn’t make a better story for chucking the canon. It was much worse for it.
Finally, I was left with the big question of the day, why?
The answer for once isn’t strictly SJWism because Borderlands has always been an SJW shitfest. Even when I liked the stories, I was hardly unaware that they were hitting every checkbox on the social justice paint by numbers writing list. Borderlands was always a product of the Left.
So why the sudden rush to burn it down then? Why retcon the backstories and burn the canon to the ground?
I have been asking myself the same thing about Doctor Who and Star Trek: Picard.
Doctor Who is no longer a Timelord. No longer from Gallifrey and after fifty years that one is up there with Superman was never from Krypton and he was also born a black woman. The Timelords used to be unmeasurably old, infinitely powerful and limitlessly wise. Now, they are colonizers who stole their power from a diverse child they tortured and killed repeatedly.
Jean-Luc Picard demi-adopts a Romulan boy in the new series, despite the fact that one of Picard’s biggest defining traits is his hatred of children. He was closest to Beverly Crusher in TNG but now it turns out that Data was like unto his brother. Oh and the Federation is now a bunch of Republicans who want to build a wall with the Romulan Empire.
The creators of Avatar: the Last Airbender were the same people that utterly destroyed their own canon just to make Korra an extra, super-special Mary-Sue.
It’s a head-scratcher for me because Borderlands, Star Trek, Avatar and Doctor Who all have solid Lefty credentials. Why are they burning their own phanes and temples?
The answer is this: “your facts are not my Truth.” That has been their battle cry for a while. That if there is a problem between their world view and the world as is, then it’s reality that has got it wrong. Having, in their mind’s eye, disposed of inconvenient and Safespace threatening facts, non-facts are going to have to go now. Anything that doesn’t fit the paradigm of Diversity as envisioned in the year 2020 must be destroyed. “The wonderful thing about history is, that it’s adjustable.”
In summary: Cataline Does Not Recommend Borderlands 3. The story is shit.