Borderlands 3 was, for Looter Shooter fans, a godsend. A shooter intense and effective, amused and fun, capable of mixing the classic tone of the saga with a gameplay that is finally more trotting, varied and dynamic. While including RPG dynamics related to the enhancement of the characters and the recovery of progressively more powerful weapons, Gearbox has bravely decided to reject the canon of “Live Game”, to embrace instead a more traditional system of publishing content, made of full-bodied DLC and extra activities distributed on a regular basis (to learn more about the latest DLC, please refer to our preview of Borderlands 3 Designer’s Cut). Thanks to this post-launch support – classic in the structure but very rich and continuous – many players have never completely abandoned the role of the Hunters of the Crypt, returning on a regular basis to plunder chests and treasures.
If, on the other hand, you have yet to explore the post-launch content of Borderlands 3, or if you have never yet set foot on Pandora and Sanctuary III, know that there is a great “excuse” to (re) discover the title published by 2K: with the arrival of PlayStation 5 and Series X / S, in fact, the development team has launched an update to make the most of the potential of the new consoles.
Borderlands 3’s Next-Gen update, as is the case with many other products, mainly works on the framerate front, maximizing the fluidity and responsiveness of the Gearbox shooter (here the review of Borderlands 3). Before even taking action, however, we already notice another improvement, guaranteed by the SSDs of the new generation consoles. We are obviously talking about loading times, which fortunately are drastically reduced. From the start of the game to the moment you land on Sanctuary III a few seconds pass, and navigation within the system menus is finally more immediate. Not only that: access to the screens in which to manage the basic functions is also faster, so that consulting the map or changing equipment are essentially instant operations. Coming to the actual update, Borderlands 3 allows di choose between two rendering modes, which prioritize graphics or performance respectively. In the first case, the game effortlessly reaches 60fps while keeping the output at 4K. This is clearly a clear step forward, considering that the First Person Shooter genre itself benefits massively from the increased fluidity: the pace of the action is the same, but the feeling of control is far more rewarding.
Even the general glance, in any case, it improves: the refinements on the texture filtering and the resolution pushed to the maximum return a sharp and clean video stream. The immediately recognizable look of Borderlands 3, with its cartoon-style textures and the details of an excellent toon shading, is in short, made proud by the update.
The big surprise of this update, however, is another: by setting the Borderlands 3 performance mode it manages, in televisions that support this refresh rate, to reach 120fps by setting the native resolution to 1080p.
Another novelty related to PS5 and Xbox Series X: on the next generation consoles it will also be possible to play in local co-op with 3 or 4 playersi (the previous version stops at 2 users), and even the split-screen mode is anchored to 60fps (also in this case, of course, the resolution drops to 1080p). Thanks to an excellent management of the local cooperative, which allows the two players to independently set the Field of View, Borderlands 3 is in short an excellent multiplayer title to accompany the launch of the next-gen.
To infinity and beyond
The technical update of Borderlands 3 therefore marks the beginning of a second life for the Gearbox looter shooter, which presents itself to the appointment with the next-gen in excellent shape and ready to offer fans dozens of hours of fun and tons of loot, right after the debut of the second Season Pass of the title.
The landing of the Crypt Hunters on the next generation platforms can offer the public a good reason to come back aboard the Sanctuary and embark on a new adventure among the stars, experimenting with new lethal solutions thanks to the skillstree of the Designer’s Cut. Whether it’s blasting enemies to mush with Zane’s MNTIS Cannon, or blasting them with an avalanche of lead by deploying Moze’s Iron Pup, the new skill trees are able to give Crimson Raider diehards a wide range of incentives to unleash your murderous flair. The publication of the update for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S also represents an excellent opportunity to visit for the first time the crazy universe modeled by the Texan team, which in the last fourteen months has enriched its offer with four well-made narrative DLCs, capable of significantly increasing the overall longevity of production.
Additional content characterized by an irresistible stylistic verve, which from time to time have added new intriguing pieces to the lore of Boderlands 3, in a storm of citations and improbable thematic variations.
With Moxxi alla conquers dell’Handsome Jackpot, for example, the developers had fun reinterpreting the typical canons of American “heist movies”, bringing players to the halls of a casino on the edge of the galaxy, yet another perverse legacy of Handsome Jack, the despot corporative par excellence (here the review of the Moxxi DLC at the Conquest of the Handsome Jackpot). Led by the Junoesque Moxxi, we then found ourselves sowing bullets between the frames of a version forbidden to minors of Ocean’s Eleven, side by side with a host of “professionals” as deranged as they are memorable.
In the next Weapons, love and tentacles, we visited the inhospitable Xylourgos to attend the wedding of Alistair Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs, threatened by an ancient horror lurking beneath the planet’s frozen surface. In a kaleidoscope of gothic overtones and homages to the master of dimensional terror, His Majesty HP Lovecraft, our darlings have made their way through macabre cults, dark entities and abominations of all kinds, to save marriage and preserve the sanity of a wedding exceptional planner: the former Mechromancer Gaige. In Blood Bounty, the third DLC of the title, the “space western” style typical of the Borderlands imaginary has taken on even more pulp traits, leading us to cross arms with a gang of trigger-happy samurai-gunslingers: in practice the wet dream of a Tarantino in full creative delirium. Although it is the most “serious” content among those of the first Season Pass, also in this case there is no shortage of saloon jokes and you find hilarious, among the jerseys of an adventure that tries to insert some interesting news on the gameplay front.
The last stage of the seasonal journey finally took us far beyond the confines of deep space, beyond the threshold of that mass of insanity and superviolence known to most as “the mind of Krieg”. In Psycho Krieg and the fantastic upheaval (for more details, here is the review of Psycho Krieg and the fantastic upheaval) we in fact ventured into the inner universe of our favorite psychopath, to discover – finally – the root cause of his constant raving. A short but intense journey, punctuated by some of the most evocative scenarios ever seen in the saga, a reflection of the bloody (and unexpectedly romantic) fantasies of the good Krieg.
Closed the first act of the post-launch path of Borderlands 3, Gearbox is now intent on further enriching the playful offer of the title, respecting its exaggerated identity and proudly over the top. After adding the Barrel and Loot mode (a sort of “Battle Royale” PvE), we expect the studio to come back to offer more classic and narrative content, which will necessarily have to support the next-gen “new life” of Borderlands 3 with additions that can keep interest high of users.
For our part, we would love if the new DLCs break a bit ‘the traditional screens of the title, refreshing the formula with some intriguing variations on the gameplay front, accompanied by increasingly hilarious and crazy stories. Ah, and a few more gazillions of weapons would be handy too, in case our Vault Hunters run out of arguments.