Borderlands 3: I’m just not feeling it.

Burned into the retina of my mind’s eye is the vivid memory of gambling my remaining blockbuster store credit on a new game I knew less about than how octopi have sex; that applies just as much today as it did when I was 17.

I’m talking about cephalopods raiding the clam bar, not the game.


(Spoiler alert: it’s like Johnny Sins doing a lobotomy….)

It’s all standard procedure.



On a snowbound day in early December, in an empty Blockbuster with an emaciated thirty-something staff member whom I think due to the withering of my previous visits was ready to wake up in the undead asylum, I had just traded in Modern Warfare for probably the 9th time along with a few other titles I couldn’t seem to boot up for long enough to stop my disk drive from screaming, it took a lot of disks in very short bursts.

Just put it in the corner for a minute, it’s fein.

What a champ.

Through his coarse ashen throat, he gives me the credit numbers and prepares to observe my gaumless expression for 45 minutes as I stare at the same row of games like a masturbating Psyduck. There it is, Borderlands.

Better get a safe backup too, Tekken 6.

Trudging home some two miles in snow up to my shins (whilst listening to James Blunt, yup.) I began to feel that nostalgic delight of picking up a hard copy of a video game and not knowing exactly what I was going to get, and it truly lived up to that delight.

This was the first time I had actually played a game that threw more sarcasm and self-scrutinizing content my way than any other, and better yet. It was actually funny.

Scooter repeatedly coercing me into ending his petty feuds for him or retrieving other questionable personal possessions, General Knoxx, a DLC boss pleading with me to end his miserable existence. 

This was a game that was well and truly aware of its own recycled and unoriginal tropes, and I love it so much for that.

I’ll skip ahead a bit to save you from reading about some random weirdos feelings over the internet towards a particular game trilogy; when the third installation was announced I think I was so excited that I went to the gym and sprinted on the treadmill for 30 minutes like a hamster that had received an adrenaline enema.

Then it dropped (BL3, not the enema) my partner bought me a copy as a surprise gift and my weekend was mapped out, endless microwaveable Chinese food, Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream & a good two crates of root beer. I think that combination would positively make me throw up a Willy Wonka factory now.

I think it was the Kung Pao

Moze was my main and I eagerly awaited those intercom jokes to catch me off guard during a generic bandit encounter, but they just weren’t coming.

Okay, maybe they’ve reserved it for the “main story events” or character introductions. A ragtag overly enthusiastic Jesus-looking dude emerges who looks like he missed the last bus home from Coachella. Nope, nothing.

Another player joins my game as FL4K, and some of his combat lines start to warm me up like sending his pet after a badass midget and exclaiming “That one was talking shit!” but it’s a fleeting amusement.

By the time I meet the main antagonists in the form of painfully caricatured and narcissistic streamers (top points for achieving the desired effect), I am praying to the old gods and the new that they make some laurel and hardy-styled blunders or convey some perceived evil genius discourse that is really a regurgitated social media reel of famous movie quotes instead of being culturally endowed.

This one just wasn’t catching me like the rest, of course, it’s difficult to keep the returning and usual cast of characters fresh. I’m not a complete snob. But none of the new characters were carrying the bar, In BL2 we had Handsome Jack to keep the endless shoot’n’sprint enjoyable. But the studio likely siphoned all life out of that character tank by the time the pre-sequel was done.

Maybe it is just another prime example of a good piece of entertainment decimated by contractual obligations to milk the cash cow, or I’m being overly critical of the humor element and ignored the obvious gameplay upgrades.

I enjoy the endless grind as much as the next irrational gamer, but that’s not the reason I loved these games. And that love is truly lost.



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