Home Features The Last Number – How Borderlands 3 perfected the delicious grind of loot ‘n shoot fun

The Last Number – How Borderlands 3 perfected the delicious grind of loot ‘n shoot fun

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Seven years. Seven long stretches of solar revolutions around our star, that saw trends change, giants rise and titans fall in that time period. In an industry built upon turbulent change, it’s a miracle that Borderlands was still a franchise that fans couldn’t get enough of. Taking the bones of the original 2010 game and expanding upon them in a manner that had never been envisioned before, Borderlands and its first sequel kicked off a trend in video games that saw many an imitator rise but never saw a successor topple Gearbox’s glorious loot ‘n shoot from its throne.

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The only game that could stop Borderlands…was Borderlands. So how did Gearbox top a game whose very magpie-like obsession for collecting all things shiny and then running wild with them across a hostile planet, look to rewrite its own DNA? It’s simple: Borderlands 3 didn’t.

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if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it as the old adage goes. Faced with an industry that had grown bigger and bolder with its attempts to evolve the genre of first-person action with a system of live service fleecing that provided little value for money, Gearbox knew that Borderlands 3 needed to double down on what made it great.

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Some games had come along in the interim to poach a few ideas from Borderlands and its sequel, such as Destiny and its colourful library of guns or The Division and its habit of making enemies bleed pure maths, but only Borderlands could scratch a specific itch for challenging gameplay and the rewarding sound of rare loot dropping from an almighty foe.

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Its story may not have been much to write home about, but the meat on this resurrected frame of action was surprisingly beefy by design. The most delicious of cuts being reserved for a wide selection of quality of life improvements aimed at making the overall experience better in execution and action. Quicker under the trigger finger sheets and deadlier on the streets, Borderlands 3 took every criticism that the original game had and pretty much applied a fan request over the cracks.

If Borderlands 3 acted better, then its overall impression was one that also felt sublime to play. Here was where seven years of video game advancements truly shined: Guns rattled off rounds with a punchy sensation between each bullet being chambered, the sound design whistled with ricochets and shots finding their mark while the visuals blew up the screen with all manner of colours.

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So what’s the point of all this then? What does Borderlands 3 have to say that’s so important at the end of the day? If you look at its design, its construction, it stands tall as a triumph not only because of the sheer sense of joy it creates but because it’s the sum total of everything that came before it. It is the latest number personified, it is the digital equivalent of a Debonairs pizza: Delicious, packed to the gills with toppings and freely delivering its value through hotfixes that build on a legacy and reputation for excellence (Who also happen to be running a terrific Triple Decker promotion right now during the most fiscally dangerous time of the year for a mere R149.99 plus free delivery).

It’s those simple touches, that allowed Borderlands 3 to truly make its mark on the one thing that fans wanted more than ever: An arsenal of the most ridiculously powerful weapons to ever grace the galaxy. At the time of writing, Borderlands 3 is currently and generously allowing for fans to farm for those glorious weapons, damage-dealing juggernauts that tie into the various intricate systems that make the game sing with unbridled joy when you raise a bandit camp to the ground or turn a small army of Maliwan robots into scrap metal.

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And really, that’s what it’s all about: Value. Yes, with a capital “V”. Whether it’s an avalanche of digital loot or a pizza big enough to take you through Janu-Worry, value is the one thing we’re all hungry for when we get home and look to unwind. There’s a joy in sitting back, grabbing a fat slice of Italian cuisine and jamming the night away in cathartic bliss with a full stomach. Knowing that your decisions have netted you not only a solid investment in entertainment but, food as well.

Last Updated: January 28, 2020

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