The story and ending feel like a slap into fans' faces. /BL3 review

I’m writing this as someone who has put over 600hrs into BL2 and TPS.

  • Worst writing in franchise history. Yes, that includes TPS. I remember when everyone thought this one will be great because Anthony Burch is gone, but its honestly way worse. This game tries way too hard to be dramatic and crashes terribly. It also misses the ironic touch that made the others such great light entertainment.

  • Fan favorite Maya gets killed almost with a wave of the hand just to push Ava, a character literally nobody likes. And then Lilith kills herself in one of the most blatant “mcguffin” scenes I’ve EVER encountered in my life. She just flew up to the moon(through space…) to use her siren magic to close the moon’s vault key magic, because apparently that’s how it works, and then somehow also died as a result. But not before making a firehawk symbol on the moon… Seriously Gearbox? I know that BL never really made much sense and had lots of “its space magic, ain’t gotta explain ■■■■” moments, but at least the other games didn’t take themselves this seriously. And then Lilith tells Ava that she’s the head of the Raiders now. Really? Not Tannis who’s standing right there, not Ellie or any other adult , but this teenager who’s been with the group for a week?? The ■■■■?! This must be the most blatant case of “writers favorite” in ages.

  • Some other minor writing points: Remember when being a Siren was something special and not just passed around like a volleyball? Vaughn has become the worst and most obnoxious character in all of video games. Many new NPCs are supposed to be “cool”, like Lorelei and Clay, but tbh I prefer my BL NPCs weird and crazy. Leave the coolness to the Vault Hunters. Also, I miss the general silliness. Again, this game took itself way too serious.

  • Many characters are just missing from the game. Brick and Tina show up once, Mordecai only shows up in audio and for his character card intro and then is never seen again. Half of BL2’s cast is missing completely. Despite the game being big enough for all of them, especially as quest givers like 2 did. The cast itself is heavily underutilized

  • Buggiest AAA game I’ve played in ages. Elemental effects not disappearing from the screen, the last enemy in “defend/clean the room” objectives not spawning or spawning outside the map, game randomly switching between press and toggle run controls, etc.

  • Instead of each area having unique area specific challenges like finding and burning all Firehawk symbols, you now get a bunch of generic collectibles across all maps. Those are interesting, like Typhon’s logs, but they’re not the same as having unique things to look for. Ultimately a bad trade off.

  • Good enemy variety but why do Goliaths only show up in the late second half, and even then are heavily underutilized? The game has variety, but uses it rarely. Most fights are against the same three enemy types.

  • Speaking of enemies: where are they? In 2 you’d fight multiple buzzards as well as multiple enemy cars at the same time. In 3, despite having huge areas, you have to be lucky just to see 2 enemy vehicles driving around. And maybe its another bug, but many areas, despite having barrels and ammo pick ups were completely empty, outside of that 1 sidequest that would lead you there, as opposed to always spawning enemies at least.

  • Despite feeling much bigger than 2, and having some huge maps, BL3 base game has +30 missions less than BL2 base game. And it really shows. It often feels empty compared to 2 and many areas are underutilized and miss around two or more sidequests. Many main maps in 3 feel like side maps from 2, but it really comes down to how they’re used. And that is sub par in this one.

I know I’m late to the party. But while playing this I thought to myself “why is everyone shitting on this game? This is basically BL2-2 and its great!” But the more I played, the more it became clear why most fans dislike what GB has done with it. It’s still a great game, and I’d say its a solid 8/10. But some design decisions are baffling, and the story in it’s entirety is a slap into the fans’ faces. I don’t even know how they’re gonna redeem themselves in the next one, which most likely has Ava as central character. A character so bad she got an entry in the “loathsome characters” wiki.

The best move would be to pull a Bioware and outright change the ending. The only thing worse than this would be Siren force ghosts. Honestly, they need to bring back Anthony Burch, or at least fire the current team. You know things are bad when you want Anthony back.

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Agree that story sucks, but I stopped reading after this. TPS has great story and the best story telling :slight_smile:

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Agree that story sucks, but I stopped reading after this. TPS has great story and the best story telling

You confuse story with writing. I like TPS story too. Its the writing, including many side quests and side characters, that’s widely considered to be terrible. I mean it literally has Burch putting in a twitter rant of himself into the game, because he couldn’t handle criticism…
But this isnt about TPS anyway.

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well that s the life, bl3 could have been the best episode , but because all the stuff you listed it is ‘just’ a good game. It s not that bad all things considered except for the bugs which is the part that is really hard to forgive in my opinion.

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The game itself is really good and we enjoyed it. We literally finished our first playthrough lastnight. The story was one of the elephants in the room (along with all the coop glitches) near the end I said “this story is terrible” on a cut scene and my other half agreed. It was one of those moments you could just tell the other person was thinking the same thing but nobody was mentioning it.

You can sum it all up on those closing credits. When that song kicks in “this girl is on fire”, man the story is bad enough but that’s probably the biggest cheeseball endings I’ve ever seen on anything, film, TV, video game… My god that was bad we just both left the room laughing and left the credits rolling

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The game itself is decent, but the level designs and characters are all so…blah.

BL1, BL2, and TPS I finished on all difficulties numerous times on different characters. In BL2 I started numerous Kriegs and Mayas just to play through the story campaign again on N/T/UVHM, along with Zer0/Axton. Same with TPS.

BL3 literally has playing through Normal mode and then I have to FORCE myself to play it through TVHM and it is boring as hell. There are only 2 characters I enjoy and only 1 (Zane) I can listen to each time I play, otherwise I have to shut off the other characters talking lines as they are just…lame.

DLC1 helped a lot, but DLC2 took 5 steps back and is another DLC I will beat once just to farm some gear, but will never play again.

BL2 had an amazing first DLC, good second DLC, and Tiny Tinas DLC was like a whole new game and Gearbox did something amazing with it, only to announce here that they will never again do a DLC with as much scope as Tiny Tinas had.

To top it all off, they also announce they will “NEVER” add new characters.

Plz Gearbox…PLEASE rehire your original crew because this current crew made a nice mechanically sound game with nice loot, and filled it in with randomized maps and writing that makes no sense =(

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Play side missions in devils razors, the b team is in boomtown.

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Yes, as nat zero six above said.

There are a few side quests with Brick, Tina, and Mordecai.

I’m not sure what unlocks them all though. Some side quests are unlocked by doing a quest in one zone and another side quest will unlock. For example, (very light spoiler) you do one or two Boomtown quests and then get sent to Konrad’s Hold to do another quest.

You lose credibility when you score it that high, no offense <3 . What it does right in gameplay it loses in writing and character development. Hell I told my teammate just yesterday I’m learning more about Calypso twins from the hidden echo tapes scattered around the maps than the main story ever told us. But that in no way excuses them or their behaviour as two of the worst chosen antagonists in gaming history.

I totally agree with your intention here and so do many since september 2019.

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THIS! So much this. It’s as if the gaming journalist industry felt this same way yet no one had the balls to step up and tell it like it was EXCEPT for the few review sites who hardly get attention.

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That is INCORRECT. You clearly did NOT fully explore Boomtown, because if you HAD, you would have found Mordecai hanging out down on the ground when you first get there, with a sidequest for you, that he accompanies you on, which upon completion rewards you with one HONEY of a Legendary Jakobs Revolver!

After completion of his sidequest, he takes up residence in his Boomtown home, which is a “trailer home” way up high that you have to climb a couple ladders to get to. And frankly, that makes total sense for the character He’s a SNIPER with a pet BIRD OF PREY, so OF COURSE he’s going to want to be up high, where they both have a commanding view of the surrounding area!

Mordecai was my first Vault Hunter in the original game, so I paid close attention to him and his story in BL3. Just because you chose to ignore him, that doesn’t mean he isn’t there! :blattidude:

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I honestly cant stand story lines in games anyhow.

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Is Lilith’s death confirmed? All in-game characters seem to think she still exists somewhere. Ava says something like “vault hunter… I think Lilith still… Ugh forget it” and during the post credits there’s an image of Tannis looking at a bunch of theory papers reading “where is she” or something like that.

Also Nyriad’s echo logs mentioned a vault monster named “time keeper” so perhaps there’s a major plot twist coming if it’s a vault monster that can be controlled like the Warrior from Borderlands 2.

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I’m not sure you understand the definition of a “MacGuffin,” but you have a lot of similar complaints to a lot of people around here that I agree with.

Mordecai definitely makes more than one appearance, though. I think the idea is that each planet is supposed to have it’s own team of NPCs to hang out with, and the B-Team just happens to be on the last half of Pandora.

Thank you. I feel like people think that hating on TPS is the same as Liking BL2. TPS was really good. And it had some of the best designed vault hunters in borderlands.

Compare Athena to Maya. Maya is stronger, but Athena was a far better Character and player avatar.

And in TPS, the borderlands humour was there while still having a good script with characters that mostly acted like normal human beings.

TPS had really smart humour you rarely see in borderlands. Let alone Borderlands 3. I dont remember laughing honestly even once my whole playthrough.

A little in the DLC’s XD

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I have to agree with some of the points here. BL3 taught me to lower my expectations with later entries in the franchise if im gonna be honest :frowning:

ive seen some people say that BL2 and BL3 have equal stories, the only thing that made people “think it was better” was because of handsome jack. i have to disagree, BL2’s entire cast had depth: motivations, charisma, and were human enough to care about them. It also had hard-hitting story beats and set-pieces that surprised you, angered you, made you feel like a badass- because it got you to care. BL3 didnt achieve any of this because IMO it doesnt grab you at all.

The last thing I want tho is Gearbox to take a look at our feedback on the story and treat it as a “checklist”, because that’s how we ended up with base story. the writers are good, just let them focus on something and let them do it. a lot of it is forced/shoved in. The entire latter half of Pandora feels like it was all made JUST to show Tannis was a siren and to have Penn and Teller as story villains. Crimson Raiders/Calypsos dont have a presence because we jump from one character to the next. the game had so many ideas but it didnt have to put everything it. calm down with the scope.

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Yea I know I’m late to the party, and I’ve heard many of it before since the internet is full of it, but as someone being with the franchise since day 1 I just felt the need to at least say my piece. Regarding the score though, I did actually consider ranking it lower, since like I originally said, a lot of things werent as tight. But the core gamepaly is pretty good so I didn’t wanna sound too bitter here.

Which is a baffling decision, given that most of the DLC hunters are regarded as top tier. Gaige and Krieg are fan favorites, and Doppelganger was great too. Most characters in 3 feel uninspired in comparison. I mean Amara literally has Phaselock 2.0 with extra steps, and thats her most usefull skill.

The whole moon key is a macguffin and Lilith then using her mystical powers to counter the moon key powers is pretty macguffin too. Its not about the character its about devices. And ironically, Maya would’ve been WAY more suitable for that as well, because a) Troy used Maya’s ability to use the moon, and b) Phaselock in general seems more suitable to close the key mechanism. But of course, that would require this writing trio to actually think things through, instead of just throwing beloved characters under the bus…

I know, but I meant as main quest givers. In 2, all of the previous hunters were connected to the story and served as quest givers and integral parts of it. In 3, the group shows up once and then is shoved off the table. Theyre not even on the Sanctuary III as they should’ve been. With Tina only appearing once again per echo com towards the end and thats it. Like I said, its underutilization despite the game being big enough to pull them closer to the story. And I don’t know why they even bothered giving Hammerlock his own room, when he spends 90% of the game on Eden-6 anyway.

Agreed. There’s a post from an author explaining why Ava is terrible, that mirrors exactly what you said. The main issue is that previous stories, even when characters acted irrationally, they had enough motivation to them. But Ava doesn’t and is just motivated by being a brat, or simply shoved in by the writers. And then even gets rewarded for it.

Ninjaedit: found it - https://www.reddit.com/r/borderlands3/comments/d9o8az/as_an_author_i_can_explain_the_ava_hate_in_detail/

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It’s my understanding the a MacGuffin is something that sets the plot in motion but isn’t really important itself. Your examples feel more Deus Ex Machina to me.

But I get what you meant. It’s just semantics and pendantism on my part.

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I wish BL3 was not rushed to release on Epic and came out Last month proper (On all platforms). With a good story. The gameplay being a little off like at launch would not even have been a big deal. They can patch that, But you cant patch a bad story. BL has good gameplay in 3. But the story and characters is what made this series worth playing.

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I agree and just wanted to say I am pissed we didn’t get to see Zero and Maya team up one last time. I wish they would’ve killed Ellie instead of Scooter (he’s like 100× better than she is)and I am still pissed of very little mention of Sal, Axton, Athena and Krieg.

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