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Borderlands 3 has been met with unrelenting praise from fans, and yet, I still can’t figure out why. After putting a couple dozen hours into the game, I’ve realized that it’s the worst in the series.
The content itself, plus the graphics and characters make it chore to play. These are the reasons why I’m highly disappointed in Borderlands 3.
1. Dry, Humorless Script
I haven’t found myself laughing at Borderlands 3 like I did with the previous games in the series. Humor is a quintessential part of Borderlands, and the newest addition lacks it completely. The game makes an attempt at comedy that only appeals to teenagers, not veteran players.
The previous games contain a lot of dark humor and allusions to pop culture. Borderlands 3 does a complete 360 in this aspect. It turns more mature humor into something I’d find funny if I was in middle school.
In one mission, the lack of humor becomes obvious. You’re tasked with rescuing Balex (an AI stuck in a teddy bear) from his crazy AI ex-girlfriend, GENIVIV. Not only does this mission involve “horny” Jabbers that make the most annoying noises possible, but it also involves GENIVIV constantly calling Balex a “cutie idiot.”
You’re telling me that the writers couldn’t come up with an insult better than “cutie idiot?” It goes to show that the writing is poor, and the humor is extremely flat.
2. Bugs and a Laggy Menu
Despite Gearbox spending years on Borderlands 3, it’s still riddled with bugs. So far, I’ve encountered a bug on Xbox One that causes a character’s icon to disappear from the right corner of the screen when they’re talking. This makes it impossible to know who’s speaking.
Another bug prevents me from seeing my friend’s character while playing online. Instead, I’ll only see a floating weapon. Other players have been reporting bugs as well.
The menu system is also a source of huge frustration, as it takes forever to load. If you’re trying to equip a weapon in a pinch, forget about it. In the time it takes to open your menu, go to your inventory, and actually swap in the weapon, you’ll likely be killed by a group of Militants.
3. Overwhelming Colors
Borderlands 3 doesn’t look like a Borderlands game. The environments and colors are entirely different.
Instead of the iconic shades of browns, reds, and yellows present in other Borderlands games, Borderlands 3 has a futuristic vibe that makes it seem like it’s trying to be something that it’s not. It comes off as a science-fiction game, while the previous games are much more rugged.
The colors become overwhelming in some instances. Flashy shades of neon blue, pink, and green can quickly give you a headache. It becomes especially apparent when battling enemies—the colors produced by elemental effects and certain guns do a number on your eyes. Not to mention that some weapons come with a distracting, neon-colored shield that gets right in your line of sight.
4. It Looks Like Every Other Game
Have you noticed that Borderlands 3 looks a little familiar? Like I just mentioned, Borderlands 3 is trying to fit itself into a mold.
Borderlands 3 keeps the same sketch-like art style, but the way each character holds their weapons, along with background colors mimic other games. It’s a sign of a lack of originality—it’s as if Gearbox no longer wants to take the same risks it took before.
5. Claptrap’s New Voice
If you haven’t noticed already, Claptrap has a brand new voice. Claptrap’s original voice actor, David Eddings, was harassed by Gearbox’s CEO, and got fired in 2017.
Jim Foronda has since taken over as Claptrap. The change is obvious to fans who have played through Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2 countless times. Claptrap’s voice sounds significantly lower than in previous versions, and takes a bit of charm out of his character.
6. Hateable Villains
Villians can and should be likable. Otherwise, watching them gets tiresome and just plain annoying. Take Handsome Jack, for example, the antagonist in the first two Borderlands games. Although he’s undeniably a villain, he’s still entertaining. Sure, he does some pretty awful things, but he has a sick sense of humor that makes him somewhat likable (and funny).
In Borderlands 3, the villains are so obviously Millenial that it hurts. The Calypso Twins, Tyreen and Troy, gain their power from the videos and livestreams that they post online. As a result, they have a huge following.
The Calypso Twins deserve a better backstory—showing them as they film videos for their followers is cringeworthy. It feels like a forced attempt to “relate” to young people.
Hoping for a Better Borderlands 4
Borderlands 3 just doesn’t feel like a Borderlands game. Gearbox has successfully destroyed the game’s humor, the shining gem of the entire franchise. I’ll hope for a better Borderlands 4—but we’ll probably never get it.
I’m not surprised that Borderlands 3 isn’t as great as it used to be. With AAA games going down the tubes, I could only expect Borderlands to do the same.