Borderlands 3 - A very silly game

I haven’t seen much if any discussion of Borderlands 3 around these parts. Borderlands has always been a problematic fave for me, so here we go.

Gearbox, specifically Randy Pitchford, has a bit of a shady reputation when it comes to employee and labour relations. This is not ideal and it is good to go into this with eyes open. As the Waypoint crew has discussed there are many ways to approach this and if you are a person who sees this and full stop can’t get on board with the game that is totally cool. On the other hand the Waypoint gang has discussed that the many folks who work on these games still deserve to get paid even if their bosses or the companies themselves aren’t ideal. So there’s also that.

Ok, on to Humour. The humour has not aged well. I have not stumbled across anything particularly distasteful yet but it is definitely more of the same. I’ve had a few chuckles but I really haven’t found anything actually funny yet either. It’s borderlands you know what you’re getting and it’s definitely poop jokes. It’s really turned up.

With those discussions out of the way I have to say that this game really offers me something that I missed quite a bit. It’s a diablo-esque shooter looter that has not gone full in on live-service style gaming a la Division and Destiny. You grind, there are many ways to grind, and the game is happy to let you do it however you want. You want spawn points right beside grindable bosses? You got em. You want to fight a “raid boss” over and over again without waiting a week? You got it. It’s just very honest about what it is and that is refreshing to me. It doesn’t offer the same depth of mission type or story as Destiny or the Division, but it is also lacking a lot of the things that make those games frustrating.

In 2019 it’s nice to have a game that just let’s me jump in, watch some numbers go up, and jump out again without asking too much of me.

Is anyone else here playing Borderlands 3? What are your feelings on it over all?

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I’m trying to pitch my friends on a drinking game if we get it. Drink every time you groan.

Most of them feel this will lead to too many deaths in our discord.

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EVERYONE IN THE WORLD: Borderlands has memes and that angers me for some reason

ME: heh, zero had to do it to em

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Borderlands is weird because it has a very special place in my heart. When the first one came out, it was, among other things, what inspired me to get into game development, because in a climate of grimdark, grey-brown shooters, it was silly and colorful.

A lot of the comedy hasn’t aged well, even in the newest one, but I dunno. It feels weird to me how much people in lefty spaces like to shit on it by picking out the cringiest parts. Yeah a lot of quest names and the like are very eye-roll-worthy, but RPGs have been doing that stuff forever. WoW and FFXIV for example are just full of punny names for stuff, but for some reason people seem to hate it the most when it’s Borderlands.

Despite the bad parts, it has a lot of charm in its character design and dialogue. And thinking about it in the context of “one of those” RPGs meant for grinding, looting, etc., it feels… appropriate? I’d take Borderlands wackiness over Diablo 3’s story and tone when I’m in the mood for an action-RPG.

Also, despite some occasional missteps, its politics are relatively good compared to… anything else in its genre that I can think of?

Anyway lots of rambling but I decided that in the hellscape of 2019, I’m just going to unapologetically enjoy Borderlands. But most of the people I follow on Twitter and such are bumming me out about it.

EDIT: Thinking about it a little more, I guess the best way I can describe Borderlands’ writing in this context is… it’s pretty harmless? And it makes me sad to see people get mean about pretty harmless silliness. I think there’s a difference between trying to be laugh-out-loud funny and trying to be silly, and I think Borderlands knows what it’s trying to be. But people are treating it as if it doesn’t.

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I’m amazed people are angry about Borderlands’ writing in the year of our lord 2019.

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Everyone is wrong, I want more games having characters in the had to do em pose.

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I don’t think I’ve seen anyone angry about Borderlands 3’s writing. The comments that I have seen are that it is just dry and not clever and maybe a touch puerile. I think that’s probably true. It’s just a certain type of humour and it is not for everyone. I actually think that the reviews that are out right now cover this pretty well. Everyone agrees that the game is at least pretty decent, some reviewers enjoyed the gags, others didn’t.

I think Gearbox did the right thing however. They saw that there was still a place for a game like Borderlands and they just made another one with a lot of quality of life improvements. I am absolutely here for it. I played BL2 to death over a period of about 3 years and I expect I will probably do the same with BL3. Also, couch co-op for all you console goers. I wish more shooters still did that.

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I have good memories of playing the first two coop with my friends. And i think Tales is, no caveats, incredibly written, and a real favorite of mine.

I’ll probably have fun with 3 if i play it? I’m sure a friend of mine is gonna pick it up, and i’ll borrow it from whoever after everyone’s moved on. But Randy Pitchford has been such a garbage can, i just can’t justify paying money to support the guy in any way.

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I’m gonna take a firm stance and say that memes are not funny when replicated verbatim in other mediums. The mechanic is the message and the medium is the meme, y’all.

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Guacamélee’s use of memes is charming, I don’t care what none of y’all say.

ZERO DOES THE HAD TO DO EM POSE.

If that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right.

On a serious note: Borderlands doesn’t actually have nearly as many meme references as people keep saying. I have played through 1, 2, and the Pre-Sequel myself, doing every single side quest, in the last year, and the ratio is more like 60% actual jokes, 35% dramatic writing, and 5% meme references. They’re usually blink and you miss it or hidden jokes as well (there is a really bad double rainbow reference in 2 I had no idea existed until I played with a friend and he brought me to a part of one map nobody would ever logically go to).

They also fit in this universe, since it’s an ultra-late capitalist hellscape where people try to find dark humor in the horrible situations they live in, AND THAT IS THE SINGLE MOST REALISTIC THING ANY VIDEO GAME HAS EVER DONE. Borderlands predicted what my queer populated Twitter timeline would be like years before it shaped.

Borderlands has just the right tone for stupid meme references, a world where almost everyone is one bad day away from becoming murderous cartoon characters and violent egomaniacs, and they’re used just enough that I rarely come across a groaner.

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My wife and I have been playing through the Definitive Edition and Handsome Collection, so I can’t speak to BL3 since I probably won’t get to it for another week or two, but I agree with this 100%. It’s not just endless memes and pop culture references, and even when they are included, they’re incorporated into the world. My wife is not a Very Online person, so to her most of this stuff is just in-world jokes. Maybe a reference slips past her here or there, but not enough to keep it from being one of her favorite series ever.

Somewhat related note: in BL1, there’s a trophy called “I’m on a boat!” and she was stunned that The Lonely Island predates Borderlands. It’s weird how a decade-old video game feels ancient in a way movies, music, etc don’t.

So I spent most of my free time this weekend playing through the campaign. I’d say I’m about 3/4 of the way through the meat of the story and I haven’t actually done any of the side missions for reasons.

I really enjoy this game. Some of the new characters are quite funny and some of the missions really stand out. There are lots of turd jokes that start to fall flat very quickly though. I look forward to pressing through the rest of the campaign and jumping in to the end game.

One of the “throw to reload” guns turns into a little spider-bot that seeks out and explodes on enemies, while saying stuff like “I fight for the user” and “here comes dat boy”. I don’t think past games were as full of memes as people claimed, but this one is much closer to that than ever before.

Also, without someone like Anthony Burch to punch up the script, I don’t think they should have tried going as hard into jokey-jokes as 2 did, and instead go for something closer to the first game’s dark comedy tone. My friend and I were just sort of scratching our heads at a quest like “Proof of Wife” where the gag is stretched out too far, and you can’t tell what tone they’re going for.

On a moment-to-moment basis with the combat though, I think it’s a huge improvement, and I would still go for this series’ messy and chaotic combat over something more rigid and “clean” like Destiny.

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I agree with you re the messy combat. It can be incredibly goofy fun. I found a grenade mod that spawns money every time it damages an enemy. It is now several levels below me but I just spam it constantly when I am in combat and I am now amassing quite a bank account.

I also agree with you on the jokes. Some of them land but many of them really out stay their welcome. That being said, I definitely had a few laughs when (spoiler for mid-game character ahead) Ice-T shows up as an AI and eventual crew member later on in the campaign.

The thing that I really like about Borderlands compared to something like Destiny is that there is an expectation that you will eventually “break” the game. You can farm ad infinitum if you like and a well tuned level 50 character can take down an endgame boss in seconds. That’s kind of the point. There is nothing there to artificially draw out combat. You’re not going to find anything that requires the precision or strategy of Vault of Glass but the trade-off is freedom to just mess around with the systems at your own pace.

The “throw to reload” Tediore guns are some of my favorites. I have used them to just demolish a few bosses. They do more damage the more ammo there is in the clip. Just get up close and personal and fire off one round then immediately reload and watch those health bars go down.

That’s the greatest thing I have ever heard of.

Still, I’ve heard people who liked BL2 finding BL3 unfunny, and knowing Burch wasn’t around is starting to make me worry (that and they actually included a reference to Randy’s cam girl controversy). Without a balance between character based comedy and the wacky nonsense, BL has a habit of falling flat (my few low moments in 2 were related to giving too much time to Tina, who didn’t really work for me until they made a ton of changes to her in her DLC campaign).

I love a lot of the dumb shit, but if the dumb shit is becoming the majority, that is not good.

Haven’t played Borderlands 3 yet but the series, for all its reportedly silly tone has always felt super dull to me, its environments and enemies are usually drab and generic and all the characters and jokes fall flat for me in a very inoffensive and banal way that surprises me when people bounce back with very strong feelings one way or another.

The months since BL3’s announcement being a PR nightmare couldn’t have helped, with shady allegations against Randy and the mistreatments of employees, namely one of the series most front-and-center voice actors, made it hard to stay on-board for anything the studio does.

Then again on reflection I don’t think I’ve truly liked a Gearbox game so in the end it could simply just not be in my wheelhouse, while Destiny satiated that shlooter itch for years.
Despite all this I’m curious on what critics end up thinking of it, morbidly curious I suppose.

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BL2 had that quest where you help Scooter track down a woman who he kept making unwanted advances on, and when she rejects him again, he gets you to kill her.

So… maybe Burch “punching up” any writing isn’t exactly a good thing?

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There’s some context missing there: she ended up becoming a cannibal who now hated pizza because pizza wasn’t human flesh.