Developed By: Gearbox Software Published By: 2K Category: Action, First-Person Shooter Release Date: 10.06.23 Price: $59.99
Before the Switch version of Borderlands 3 came out, I had no experience with the franchise despite owning all the Switch games. That’s something that comes with being a Switch collector, first I grabbed the Legendary Collection and then I grabbed the Tales of the Borderlands duology, but never played them. When 3 was released last month, I wasn’t too interested in picking it up but after hearing people talk about the game, not only did I decide to get it, but to play it too.
I was hearing lots of people say that the game ran very well on the Switch and that it had all the DLC and expansion packs condensed into a small file size. After playing the game for a few hours, I was really impressed with not only it’s performance on the Switch but by the game itself. Normally I’m not a big fan of FPS games due to my terrible history of playing with other people, but the gameplay here was really fun and incredibly fluid.
In the starting area, I was fighting skags and I was able to accurately adjust my aim on the fly while they ran around. This isn’t something I thought I’d be able to do so well on a pair of Joycons. If you’re playing with a Switch Pro Controller, the feel and reaction times are even better and are very close to what you would experience with the PS4 version of the game. There’s also no shortage of enemies to fight, so if you’re ever bored and just want to fight something, you can go to an area and start shooting without focusing on the story. The only downside is that once you clear out an area the enemies don’t respawn until you reload the game.
In terms of combat and gameplay mechanics, it’s some of the most fun that I ever had with an action game and I would probably compare the levels of combat immersion and fluidity to games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Dying Light, or Insomniac’s first Spider-Man game. This was easily my most favorite aspect of the game because the action elements were constantly fun.
Another one of my favorite aspects of Borderlands 3 was the sheer number of customization options which stem from the insane weapons list. There’s no shortage of weapons either because you can find all sorts of weapons and ammo in crates all over the map or when you kill enemies. You can also buy and sell weapons at vending maxhines. I love games that have a lot of customization options and the game features more than 300 unique weapons with different stats. Weapons that are made by specific manufacturers can also have different variations of parts which will make each weapon unique from others of the same type.
I had so much fun with this mechanic. I loved unlocking, finding, and buying different weapons, hoping to get the best one possible. I rarely focused on things like grenades and shields as I focused on the excitement of always going on the offensive. These two aspects alone make the game amazing and worth the price, even though you can get it for much cheaper on another console.
The remaining aspects of Borderlands 3 are all really good but weren’t ones I was too heavily focused on since my main reason for playing was the gameplay. First we have the visuals, which could actually be an acquired taste for some people. The visuals were one of the reasons that it took me so long to play because whenever I would see video of screenshots of the games, the art style always seemed to mess with my eyes. After playing for a few hours I was able to adjust to how the game looked and I liked all the enemy and gun designs, but I’m still not a huge fan of the visuals as a whole. The game does look fantastic if you’re playing on the OLED Switch though.
When it comes to the sound, theres a lot to like between the music and sound design. I really liked how immersive the sound design was because there were many times where I would hear an enemy before I could see them and it would really freak me out for a second. The general ambiance of the game sounds amazing if you’re using an actual headset instead of earbuds or your Switch or TV speakers. The music and voice acting is pretty good as well.
Then you have the story but there’s too much to talk about coherently because you have the main story of becoming a new vault hunting recruit for the Crimson Raiders while also having a ton of extra story content that’s loaded into the DLC. It’s a decent story but it’s mostly tied to stuff that’s happened in previous games and as I mentioned before, I focused more on the gameplay.
Anyone who played the previous games would love Borderlands 3 but I find it hard to believe that most fans would not have already played the game on other consoles. Because of the capabilities of the OLED Switch and the inclusion of all DLC, I would say this is the best way to play Borderlands 3 but as of now it may only appeal to people who haven’t gotten the DLC on other consoles or to new and future fans of the series. The game runs incredibly well on the Switch, especially if you’re using a pro controller and has enough content to last you 100 hours or more.
One final thing that I want to point out is that it’s difficult to get the best experience. If you have an OLED and you’re playing in handheld for the best visual experience, then you will probably be playing with the generic joycons. If you’re playing with a Switch Pro Controller, the game will probably be docked and won’t get the same experience as the OLED screen. This is one of the rare switch games that performs its best when you have access to the best capabilities in each area. As a result, the following is the premiere way to play Borderlands 3 on the Switch of you have the resources to do so.
What you want is an OLED Switch connected to a Fixture Gaming S2 Mount with a Switch Pro Controller in the mount. This gives you the best of the OLED screen with the pro controller without having to compromise, but it’s a pricy combination. For a game that’s as trigger happy and as colorful of Borderlands 3, this will result on the best possible experience.