The hunters of the crypt are back, and they are more hungry for treasure than ever. Gearbox, after seven years from the publication of Borderlands 2, brings the saga back to life with Borderlands 3. Ok, maybe to say "seven years after publication" is a bit exaggerated as for years the DLC of the second chapter has been released, with the last one published just the 9 July of this year that served as a prequel to this third chapter. In any case, we can finally go back to Pandora to look for crypts, crush heads to the Skag and blow up as much stuff as possible. And this time we will also export our load of destruction around the universe. Bigger, more explosive, more mess.
The story starts on Pandora, years after the events of Borderlands 2. The Crimson Raiders are in serious trouble and our crypt hunter arrives to resolve the situation, under orders from the Siren Lilith. Twins Calypso, Troy e Tyreen, of which we will immediately get to know, I do not at all agree with what we are doing and do everything to put a spoke in the wheels and grab the keys to the crypts first so as to steal the mysterious "power" that lies behind the 'internal. And yes, this time we talk about crypts, in the plural. Whoever played Borderlands 2 will remember the ending well, the galactic map that appears and everyone's thought was just one: the hope that in the next title would be given the chance to travel from planet to planet. Well, yes it can, but not exactly as hoped. After a few hours of gameplay, the possibility of leaving Pandora's fluttering rock to reach the first planet, Promethea, is unlocked. That's when the story of Borderlands 3 opens, with one war among the famous arms manufacturers, Atlas e Maliwan, fomented by the Calypso themselves and their called followers Sons Of The Crypt, and the return of well-known characters as happened in the second game. The rhythm of the story, in its thirty / thirty-five hours necessary to complete it, is quite constant, with twists and turns, laughter and even some tears in some cases, both of happiness and sadness.
One thing that I personally did not appreciate very much are the trips between the planets. Be clear, the areas are extremely different from each other and in the time of an upload you can switch from brown hues of Pandora to ultra futuristic city of Promethea up to Himalayan-style landscapes of Athenas, who reminded me of those seen in Pandaria. Inside the game are present four different worlds, each with its characteristic characters and with every detail in the right place: the boxes change style depending on the planet in which they are located and there are also some different enemies, in addition to the ubiquitous Fanatics and Psychos. The problem is that totally lacking a sort of space exploration or even just the feeling that we are actually changing our planet because, ultimately, it all boils down to opening the map and choosing the area to go to, thanks also to the new possibility of take advantage of the quick journey from wherever we are. From this point of view they have added new possibilities, but without revolutionizing. It is clear however that this was not the goal of the software house as much improve and perfect an already excellent base of his own, and in this they have fully achieved the goal on several levels. Don't think of a Borderlands 2.5 because there's so much more here: it's definitely the biggest and fullest ever made (clearly) and we can't wait to see what they will be able to put in the future.
Moreover, compared to the old chapters, this time a greater characterization was given to the protagonist and he went beyond the inevitable catchphrase, with entire lines of dialogue written for every occasion and that we will hear reciting during dialogues with NPCs. A praise to the Italian dubbing, really well chosen for all the characters and that I personally loved for FL4K, the beastmaster, with a Riccardo Rovatti (Franky of One Piece and dozens of video game characters, anime and cartoons) just perfect. FL4K is one of the new hunters in the crypt, with a skill set never seen before and equipped with some cute little animals as companions, to which it can give commands. The progression of the protagonist has remained almost unchanged, with the classics three skill trees in which to spend points at the achievement of each level, up to a maximum of 50, the current level cap of the game that will surely (hopefully) be increased with future DLCs. Together with FL4K, the game allows you to choose between Amara the Siren, the Gunner Moze, whose special ability literally transforms you into Overwatch's D.Va and finally the henchman Zane who vaguely remembered me the Pre-Sequel Doppelganger but I have very little depth. I immediately jumped on FL4K and little Mister Morso (the Skag) and I finished the story with them. Even if with the third chapter there has been a change of writer, I have perceived very little change and have always maintained high standards. I must admit that, at first, I was a bit destabilized by the introduction of some characters unknown to me but friends with each other. I realized afterwards that they were all coming from Tales From The Borderlands, practically the only chapter I didn't put my hand to, not appreciating the genre to which it belongs. In short, there are just all of them this time, and alternate between continuous lines full of self-mockery and modern pop culture, first of all those related to the streamer by the Calypso twins, whose weight falters with the passing of hours of play. If at first glance they can be interesting, with the progress of the story it seems almost a general flattening of the two villains, assisted also by the repetition of some clichés and by the undeniable weight they carry on their shoulders. The twins have to face the enormous legacy left by Jack the Fair, perhaps one of the most charismatic and best-known villains in the history of video games, and they cannot even tarnish the epic.
Like any good self-respecting Borderlands (and I will also include the pre-sequel ill-treated), the real feeling of progression is given by weapons, not so much from the level. Even in Borderlands 3 much of the time spent in the (very slow, on Playstation 4 Pro) menu is spent checking the weapons found and seeing how much boost they give compared to the ones we equip at that time. There are all kinds, now also with double fire mode and a gunplay generally more satisfying than the second chapter, obviously always with a totally arcade mold. Not all of them offer this double possibility, but as they progress with the game, more and more are found. There are the classic ones, which allow to pass from the semi-automatic to the automatic focus, or those that change the elemental damage caused up to the more particular ones. One of the most used weapons, for example, is a gun that, in addition to normal fire, allows you to switch to the "taser" mode with which a bullet is fired that remains fixed on the ground (or on the enemy) and inflicts constant damage to anyone close. Or a shotgun that sticks the bullets to the enemies and makes them explode during the recharge phase. Or a machine gun that becomes a turret. Sure, sometimes it exaggerates a little with madness and you find yourself in your hand weapons so large as to obscure half the screen or with sights so strange as to be actually difficult to use them, but it remains all extremely fun and satisfying. In short, the variety never fails. And we have to use weapons well in the numerous fights against the bosses, very well diversified as I had not seen for some time, spectacular and above all challenging. Get out of your head that Borderlands 3 can be tackled easily because the challenge level is quite high. The structure of the game is divided into main missions e secondary and, in the event that only the main storyline is used, it often happens that the most demanding clashes occur at an unsuitable level. In short, it is not the right way to face the game, also because the secondary missions, as is typical of the series, are very amusing and offer a glimpse on the life of the inhabitants of the various planets, often lowered into the most strange and absurd situations and always written with originality.
Even in Borderlands 3, the campaign only leads the way to a postgame in which to spend several more hours of play. In addition to the classic mode True Hunter, which consists of a New Game + with increased difficulty, Gearbox has introduced a very pleasant novelty: i Chaos levels. Settable by Sanctuary, these levels consist of an increase in the general difficulty of the game. Enemies have more life but the funny thing is the imposition of random modifiers that affect the game. We can therefore have an increase in the damage of certain weapons, slowing down the movement of the character, immunity to the normal damage of the enemies that must therefore be dealt with elemental weapons and so on. To make a comparison, some may remember the Torment levels of Diablo 3. And with the setting chosen, it seems natural to think of a gradual introduction of new Chaos levels, with increasing difficulty. This is obviously accompanied by a substantial increase in the probability of finding good quality loot, thus reducing the chances of continuing to find sad white or green loot. In addition to being able to repeat the game campaign, there are two modes, called Massacre Campaign e Test Grounds. The first is a clash of hordes to be faced in coop, decidedly long and, in the stages with more enemies on the screen, almost unmanageable on consoles because of the enormous slowdowns. I have to admit that I couldn't complete it once because I got tired. But I have to try again as soon as I arrive at 50 level. Test Grounds are timed challenges to be dealt with as quickly as possible and without dying so as to obtain the best possible rewards. In short, Gearbox does not want to let us go away from the world of Borderlands 3 and the presence of different planets and varying difficulties can only leave us hopeful about the incoming DLCs. Borderlands 2, on the other hand, has lived a very long life thanks to the continuous additional contents published, all of good if not really excellent quality (the D&D game with Tiny Tina is unforgettable). Don't worry though, the postgame is not missing at all. At the moment, I can't tell you if there are any secret bosses. I searched around the worlds for a while but found nothing about it. I believe it is unlikely that no one is present but, at the moment, I cannot confirm it.
Too bad, however, that all this is accompanied by a simply outrageous technical department. I played Borderlands 3 on Playstation 4 Pro. On this console two different modes are offered, that one performance is that resolution. Choosing the first one favors (theoretically) framerate and stability, but never an affirmation has been further from reality. THE 60fps are a mirage and cali are on the agenda, with the liveliest shooter that become very difficult to manage, animations of the enemies that are reduced to very few frames, stuttering and almost continuous microfreeze. We lay a veil on the resolution mode, with a frame rate below the 27fps and a huge delay in the input of the commands. Simply unplayable, pretend it doesn't exist. Fortunately Gearbox is aware of these problems, but it seems clear that the title has been burned a little too much and the software house has had to sacrifice something without worrying about it, thanks also to the possibility of correcting everything while it is being patched. and updates.
With Borderlands 3, Gearbox did not dare, maintaining, as already mentioned, the form in which the players fell in love, refining it and expanding it. The fun is constant and goes hand in hand with the explosions caused by the crazy weapons we find and whose gigantic number offers always different games. It is almost impossible to find two equal weapons in two different games, beyond the fixed ones by history. The replay value is also guaranteed by new findings that I greatly appreciated (the Chaos levels), I only hope that they will soon be able to correct the big technical problems present. This third chapter is the biggest ever and has all the credentials to become the best looter shooter possible.