Borderlands 3 is free to play on all major platforms this weekend

Borderlands 3

Released last September, Borderlands 3 is the latest entry in Gearbox’s legendary looter shooter franchise. However, up until now there’s been a significant pay wall in the way preventing players from trying it out. Thankfully as of this weekend, anyone interested will be able to give it a go for free.

Borderlands 3 is free-to-play on every major platform it was released on this weekend. That includes PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and even Google Stadia. Unfortunately, Switch owners are out of luck as Borderlands 3 never found its way onto Nintendo’s hybrid console.

Is Borderlands 3 worth trying out?

Borderlands 3 music bossFor free? Most definitely. Even with its notable faults its still a very well made game with an interesting enough plot. It’s possible you’ll be able to power through the whole story in one weekend although that will require some serious dedication. If you’re just playing through the story normally, expect a full playthrough to take around 20 hours.

It would be best if you can find a friend or two to play along with as Borderlands 3 is designed primarily to be a co-op game. And thanks to this year’s new shared loot and level scaling systems, lower level friends will no longer have a rotten time getting killed over and over.

If you do enjoy your time with it and choose to pick it up, consider buying the DLC too. Currently there’s three released pieces of DLC: Moxxi’s Heist, Guns, Love, and Tentacles, and Bounty of Blood. The first two bring back classic Borderlands characters not featured in the regular story, like Gaige and Timothy Lawrence.

For further information be sure to check out our review of Borderlands 3. It provides an in-depth breakdown of the gameplay, narrative, and graphics. Otherwise, you can purchase the looter shooter on the PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Steam, and Epic Games.

Borderlands 3 is coming to Steam alongside Guns, Love, & Tentacles DLC

Borderlands 3

Gearbox has sure been spoiling us as of late. Just yesterday the publisher announced that Borderlands 3 will finally be coming to Steam. From March 13 onward, fans will have the choice to buy the looter-shooter on both the Epic Games Store and Steam.

Many gamers have an issue with the Epic Games Store so I’m sure they’ll be pleased to hear this news. Even though the Epic Store is attractive for many developers, it fails to appeal to its actual customers. Many of Steam’s core selling points such as game gifting, mod support, and customer reviews don’t feature on the Epic Store.

borderlands 3 dlc enemy

Borderlands 3: Guns, Love, & Tentacles DLC

Otherwise, Gearbox has also confirmed Borderlands 3’s second major expansion will be coming soon. Announced for a March 26 release, Guns, Love & Tentacles will focus on the relationship between Wainwright and Hammerlock. More to the point, they’ll be getting married. I’m not sure how a Pandoran marriage exactly works but it should be interesting.

Just to recap, in Borderlands 3’s main story you work alongside Wainwright and Hammerlock from chapters 11 through 16. Specifically, they help you find a vault key fragment and in return, you deal with Hammerlock’s psychotic sister.

GAIGE Borderlands 3

The hype is real for the new DLC as vault hunter Gaige makes her debut in Borderlands 3 at last. With the fan-favorite anarchist back, we now know where half of Borderlands 2’s cast ended up. The likes of Axton, Salvador, and Krieg are still missing in action.

We don’t know many specifics about the DLC yet, but we can make some fair assumptions. For one, expect plenty of new legendary weapons, gear, and cosmetics. Also, as per the Borderlands DLC tradition, there should be at least one more vault to hunt down. If you’re interested then you can pick up the Borderlands 3 Season Pass on the Epic Store for $49.99. Alternatively, you can wait for its Steam release next month.

Gearbox Forced Troy Baker Out Of Rhys Role

Rhys

Rhys

Troy Baker has finally revealed why he didn’t voice Rhys in Borderlands 3. The voice acting legend voiced Rhys in Tales From The Borderlands but was cut in Borderlands 3. Fans were confused about why Baker didn’t take the position. Instead, Rhys was voiced by Ray Chase, best known for portraying Final Fantasy XV protagonist Noctis Lucis Caelum.

It turns out Troy Baker did want the role, but Gearbox forced his hand. Supposedly, Gearbox refused to offer the position as a union role. In voice acting, a job can either be union or non-union. Union rules ensure voice actors get fair pay for their work and are not overworked. There are various other benefits of being in the union. The general consensus is it benefits the voice actors’ quality of life.

So, they came to me, and they were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’ Which I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And then they made it impossible for me to do the role. It had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with money. They just simply would not go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done.”

Troy Baker, VG247

Voice Actor’s Union

Voice Actor's UnionSo why wouldn’t Gearbox want to support Baker and the union? Likely due to Randy Pitchford’s development model. Large game companies prioritize time and money. Offering union rates can get in the way of these priorities. Unfortunately, many studios take voice actors for granted. They see them as replaceable assets rather than a key part of their characters.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. Two years ago, Erin Fitzgerald quit her role of Noire from Hyperdimension Neptunia for the same reason as Baker. Equally, Ashly Burch turned down her role as Chloe Price from Life Is Strange. It’s hard to blame them either. These voice actors aren’t getting the respect they deserve.

The Erin Fitzgerald case is a peculiar one. After all, the union gives indies special rights to work around steep costs. These previsions are put in place to make sure indies can get straight back to work once they join the union. For whatever reason, Neptunia developers Idea Factory opted to decline.

We can only hope that going forward developers and publishers alike step up their game. Supporting your employees is an expectation of companies. All things considered, I’m not sure the games industry is doing a good enough job of that. Be sure to let us know what you think about all this. Does Baker have a point or are the companies justified to turn down the union?

Borderlands 3 Review. Let’s Get Into It

Borderlands

Borderlands

Borderlands is Gearbox’s signature franchise. For many, Borderlands 2 became a cult classic FPS when it released in 2012. A great co-op experience in a time where co-op game development seemed to be drying up. A sequel felt inevitable. 2K Australia gave us Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel two years later. A decent game in its own right but not the for experience we truly wanted. At last, seven years after the release of Borderlands 2, it’s here. There’s some very good news too! Borderlands 3 does not disappoint.

The Story and Characters

The Story and Characters BorderlandsBorderlands 3 is set seven years after the fall of Handsome Jack. In his place, a new Pandoran superpower has risen on a quest for godly power. The Calypso Twins. Troy and Tyreen aspire to be the greatest stars in the universe. Their plan? Unlocking The Great Vault. Whilst it’s unclear what The Great Vault contains, the Calypso Twins are sure it’s a certified route to interstellar dominance.

As with any great antagonist, a greater protagonist must stand up to fight against them. Welcome our four vault hunters. Amara is Borderlands 3’s Siren. Her three major skills are Phasegrasp, Phaseslam, and Phasecast. FL4K is the Beastmaster. He commands various animal partners to help him hunt down enemies. Moze is the Gunner. Her skill trees are all about pulling out a bigger gun than the opposition. Minigun, Grenade Launcher or even a damn Railgun. Take your pick. Finally, there’s Zane the Operative. He’s the class I chose to play as. A classic soldier type who puts his trust into futuristic gadgets like Digi-Cloning, SNTNL Drones and a big ol’ damage amplifying barrier.

Fans should be happy to see a sizable group of returning characters. Of course, most of the past vault hunters show up at one point or another. ZERO, Maya, Brick, and Lilith all play significant roles. Other vault hunters such as Mordecai appear briefly. Disappointingly, Gaige, Axton, Salvador, and Krieg don’t appear in the main story. It’s possible they’re in a side mission or future DLC. Tales From the Borderlands boys Rhys and Vaughan make a comeback but not Fiona, Sasha, Gortys or Loaderbot. I get Borderlands 3 already has a lot of characters but the decision to cut this many doesn’t sit right with me. Hopefully, the DLC can amend this.

The Gameplay and Progression

The Gameplay and Progression of BorderlandsWell, it’s Borderlands, that’s for sure. The gunplay, the movement, the abilities. All of it feels like something you’d expect in a its game. Innovation isn’t the primary goal of Borderlands 3. Rather, it tries to deliver a marginally more refined version of Borderlands 2.

The positive side to this is that you already know if this is for you. Did you enjoy previous Borderlands titles? If so, you’ll probably love this one too. The downside is that there’s very little new outside of the story itself. Even the new abilities of Borderlands 3’s vault hunters often overlap with previous games. For example, Zane’s Brain Freeze acts very similarly to Aurelia’s Cryo Freeze. A big change is that gun specific abilities are largely gone. No more “20% damage with assault rifles.” This lets each class be more flexible than previous games.

However, not everything changed from Borderlands 2 is good. Borderlands 3 likes to lockout core content until you progress through the story. Perhaps the best example of this is Guardian Ranks. Guardian Ranks give you modest stat boosts based on how many challenges you complete. Challenges are generally pretty straightforward like killing 1000 enemies with snipers. In Borderlands 2, this was accessible from the beginning of any new character. In Borderlands 3, you can only begin this once the main story has been finished.

It’s the same deal with artifacts. Artifacts are an accessory that give miscellaneous bonuses like extra critical hit damage and increased experience. In Borderlands 2, you could get these at any time. In Borderlands 3, you have to acquire the Eridian Synchronizer to even equip them. Strangely, they actually started dropping for me at level 25, even though I couldn’t use them until around level 30. For reference, I finished the main story at level 35. Basically, artifacts and Guardian Ranks are only useful in True Vault Hunter Mode.

Visuals and Performance

Visuals and PerformanceFrom what I gather, the console version of Borderlands 3 hasn’t been received too well. For starters, local split-screen doesn’t work properly. Classic 2K Games. If it makes you console guys feel better, the PC versions hardly perfect either. Sometimes the menus just don’t quite function as expected. The mouse doesn’t line up properly and you have to double or even triple-click to get a response. My friend who I played along with had an infuriating bug where his cursor would appear on screen, but he couldn’t look around. This took half an hour to fix.

In its current state, Borderlands 3 is still playable but it’s a closer call than I’d like. Certainly, a patch or two is going to be needed. On the bright side, Borderlands 3 suffered from very few framerate issues. On medium, 1080p I managed to sustain a comfortable 100 FPS. When I switched everything up to high it still sat at a solid 70 FPS. My friend, who’s PC out-specs my own, managed 70 FPS on Ultra, 4K. Borderlands 3 is a taxing game and lower systems may struggle. This would likely explain the issues present on six-year-old consoles.

The trailers misled me into thinking Borderlands 3’s visuals weren’t all that. Make no mistake. This is a gorgeous video game. The cell-shaded art style has never looked this good before. Details on environments, texture quality, draw distance, anti-aliasing. It’s all interwoven into each other perfectly. Coming together in harmony to produce one of the best-looking games I’ve ever seen. Borderland’s visuals may be an acquired taste to some, but they strongly resonate with me. This looks like a game driven by passionate games artists. I love it.

Final Verdict On Borderlands

Final Verdict for Borderlands 3No doubt, there are issues. It’s disappointing to see how buggy Borderlands 3 can be. I imagine some game-breaking exploits will be found sooner than later. Although, sadly, that’s not new for Borderlands. I’m also somewhat let down by the absence of many characters I’ve grown to love in the Borderlands universe. However, these flaws are minor in comparison to the overwhelming positives. Borderlands 3 is a spectacular co-op looter shooter that looks and plays better than anything else on the market. Give me some quality DLC and a few patches and this could very well be yet another gaming cult classic.