The Borderlands series is Gearbox Software’s best-selling franchise with 74 million copies sold. Now with the new Borderlands spinoff game Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands coming out on March 25, I want to revisit Borderlands 3 and see what it did right, what the looter shooter could have improved on, and why in the end it sold less copies than the second game.
Borderlands 2 in most people’s eyes is the best in the series as it built off the first game perfectly. The sequel not only gave us six playable characters instead of the usual four, it also brought us the best villain to come out of the franchise Handsome Jack and with his arrival troves of hidden and not so hidden plot twists in the game. The weapon system was improved too. Naturally, Borderlands 3 had some big shoes to fill.
In Borderlands 3 the world of building was completely overhauled. Instead of just one planet that you remain on like the past 2 games, Borderlands 3 introduces 7 planets/special areas you can visit with help from your spaceship. Each planet is unique both in the plants and animals that inhabit these planets being unique as well as all the different types of NPC’s that live on these planets. A person who lives on Promethea, a planet that was subject to a corporate war, will act and say things differently than someone who is from Pandora, a desert wasteland where bandits thrive. This is one of the best things about the game in my eyes. Each of these planets also introduced their own boss which made the game so much fun as each boss had their very own fighting style.
Borderlands is also known for the comedic relief and just sheer tomfoolery of some quests. For example, the task of delivering hamburgers in a war zone. The weapon system was also improved on even more unique and interesting tools for you to find such as a gun that has a brain growing on.
In Borderlands 2 we discovered a ton about Handsome Jack’s back story. His goals are well defined and makes you interested in the character as he sees himself as the savior for those who were screwed over by the corporate war aimed at eradicating bandits from the Pandora. The Calypso twins Tyreen and Troy didn’t have the same effect on the masses in Borderlands 3 that Handsome Jack did in the sequel. The Calypso’s were interesting antagonists and had an average back story, but their motives seemed a bit extreme.
So, in the end, the lower sales of Borderlands 3 was likely due to a weaker group of characters and a plot that didn’t engage players as much as the previous two games. Despite all of this, the game is still extremely enjoyable for those who just like seeing mass carnage with your friends.
Written by Hayden Wilson, Lethbridge College
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