It's Borderlands, I Suppose
Let me start this review off by giving some background. I've played probably 150 hours of Borderlands 2, and 60 of Borderlands 1. I did not bother playing the Pre-Sequel. I am statistically average in terms of fans of the franchise. I think it's fun, but dumb and immature, and I am unapologetic about my play time. That being said, the price of admission for Borderlands 3 is far too high, in multiple ways.
Borderlands 2 introduced the character Handsome Jack. He was absolutely not nuanced, was primarily a mechanism to delivered half-baked, 2-years-too-late memes, toilet humor, and general motivation for the story to move forward. That being said, compared to the villains present in this game, he feels like Walter White, or Season 3 Tyrion Lannister. The two villains in this game are completely tone-deaf, do not get the culture they're parodying (as shallow as it might be,) and offer very little in the way of humor or even the slightest amount of compulsion to complete the story. They're actively bad, and they never stop talking. I have a high pain tolerance, and I don't typically groan and grind my teeth in response to negative stimuli, but I turned the dialogue to minimum. Part of my brain's physiology changed to adapt to ignoring their incessant chattering, their mindless noodling and non-stop "Like, subscribe, and Obey," tag lines. It's oppressively stupid in a way that I wasn't aware something could be. And it's not just them. If, by the grace of all forces of the universe, you find a decent stretch of game where you aren't hearing their bullshit, other characters are happy to occupy your cerebral cortex with innane blabbering and constant badgering. On top of that, they gave one of the most chatterboxed characters the ability to put a large blob with her FMV face on your screen. There's an entire mission where I was convinced the game was trying to simulate retinal detachment because of the amount of time there was a fuzzy blob occupying the top third of the screen. Now, I know it's ironic that I've not exercised brevity while complaining about a games tendency to be overly verbose, but I digress. I needed to vent a little.
Moving beyond the abject stupidity of the game's story, it's more Borderlands. The levels are huge and sprawling, there is a ton of side content, and the game is long. There's a lot of guns, a lot of them are fun, and it's all fairly well designed. There are a number of quality-of-life improvements, like sliding, mantling, easy fast-travel, etc. There's greater variety in the areas, substituting a central hub on Pandora for a ship that can travel to several destinations, each with their own enemies, gimmicks, and story segments. It's pretty nice, if not for the pervasive threat of a mandatory vlog session with the world's two biggest idiots. The humor is not hit-or-miss, it's entirely miss. You know, it's a Borderlands game... but... that's not enough. It's 2019. Shouldn't we be better than this?
Yes. This game is not enough. It's a disappointment, with some merit.