Borderlands 3 reviews are in, but I still have questions

Borderlands 3 the Calypso Twins
Borderlands 3 the Calypso Twins

Borderlands 3 reviews went out today and you may be wondering where ours is. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for you. 2K gave out a very limited amount of early review codes (primarily set up through an Epic Games Store account on PC) and was selective of who received access, citing "security concerns," according to VG247. Windows Central was left off of this list despite being invited to multiple press events by 2K and Gearbox.

We will be receiving codes on September 12th, one day before Borderlands 3 releases to the public. I'll be working my way through the game on Thursday in an effort to bring our readers a timely review, but you'll need to bear with me since 2K has effectively kneecapped us here and Borderlands is no short game.

In the meantime, I've been reading through some reviews already out and have my own list of unanswered questions or concerns that I'll be looking to address in my own review. If you have any suggestions of something you want me to keep an eye out for while I'm playing through the game or would like something further explained, feel free to leave a comment. Barring any massive spoilers, I'll do my best to address these questions in my review.

Borderlands 3 zane clone

Borderlands 3 zane clone (Image credit: Gearbox)

One thing I found notably absent in many of the reviews I read from some of the biggest gaming websites like IGN, Game Informer, and GameSpot: Handsome Jack. The only publication to mention him at all, Polygon, did so once and in passing. I find it incredibly important to bring him up after Gearbox chose to move on and utilize a new set of villains considering how well-received Handsome Jack was. How do the Calypso Twins stand up compared to him? What makes them so "generic," as many reviewers put it, as opposed to Handsome Jack, who we all loved to hate.

Both IGN and PC Gamer notably criticize the Calypso Twins for being rather one-dimensional and at times downright annoying. And they aren't the only outlets to do so. Nearly across the board, the Calypso Twins are referred to as uncompelling. This can easily be chalked up to their status as livestreamer caricatures, but I want some more solid reasoning than that. I don't think it's spoiler territory to at least touch upon their motives and goals, but no one seems to do so, leaving me to believe that the twins are only thrown in for comedic effect.

On the flip side, I'm pleased to hear GameSpot say that Borderlands 3's campaign "satisfyingly wraps up the arcs of characters that fans have been following for 10 years." Most reviews tended to focus on gameplay — completely understandable given the series' nature — but that doesn't mean I don't care about its story. Still, I would have liked the further explanation on particular characters' story arcs and if their endings felt earned.

Every review mentioned the game taking roughly 30-hours to complete, but I never got a good sense of pacing from any of them. Only that you'd need to sometimes complete a few side quests so you weren't underleveled for some boss battles, according to Destructoid. I want to know if the game drags in the middle at any place or on a specific planet. Starting out slow doesn't tell me if I'll be rushing toward the end after a few hours or if there are areas that I have to slog through.

What everyone also seemed to cover in-depth was its boss battles and gunplay, the former of which is hit or miss — with many calling them needlessly frustrating bullet sponges — but the latter is almost universally praised for its variety and quality of life improvements.

Overall, Borderlands 3 is generally being well-received — aside from PC Gamer — which heavily criticized the game's use of outdated humor that attempts to be "edgy" and misses the mark more than not. For longtime fans, it appears to be more of the same, but as I mentioned in my first preview of Borderlands 3 back in May, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

What I want to know more about in Borderlands 3

  • The mission and level pacing
  • Vehicular combat
  • Character and weapon customization
  • Features in Sanctuary III like a gun bank
  • Tyreen and Troy's motives
  • Different gameplay mechanics between planets
  • Better explanation of Guardian Rank and how it affects gameplay
  • Diversity between two of the same Vault Hunters with different skill tree builds

If you have anything, in particular, you'd like to see us address, please let us know in the comments.

Jennifer Locke

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life, and is very happy Xbox is growing a stronger first-party portfolio. You can find her obsessing over Star Wars and other geeky things on Twitter @JenLocke95.