A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Borderlands 3 is a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi themed first-person shooter game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Google Stadia, and Windows-based PCs. The game continues over-the-top violence and mature humor that has become a signature style for the series. Players use a variety of different guns and abilities to kill humans, robots, and creatures that inhabit the worlds the player visits on their quest to track down and recover loot from mythical "Vaults" scattered around the galaxy. It doesn't shy away from extreme and graphic violence, as well as frequent use of strong swearing including "f--k" and "s--t." Parents should also take note that the game includes and online cooperative component, which could potentially expose younger gamers to other offensive behavior/language while in party chat with other players. There are mentions of drinking, along with frequent sexual innuendo or characters presented in a sexual manner. On the plus side, characters of different sexual orientations and identities are presented without stigma in the game.
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What's it about?
Greeting, Vault Hunter recruits, and welcome to the worlds of BORDERLANDS 3! As a new recruit to the Crimson Raiders on the planet Pandora, your job is to help uncover the secrets of the Vaults, hidden caches of artifacts and technology from an ancient alien race with power beyond anything imaginable. For a time, it was assumed that Pandora was the only planet these aliens left their treasures on, but it's recently been discovered that there are Vaults scattered on other planets throughout the galaxy. Unfortunately, you're not the only ones trying to recover what lies beyond the Vaults' walls. The celebrity cult leaders, the Calypso Twins, and their Children of the Vault followers have decided to take the secrets of the Vaults for themselves, cementing their status as gods while ruling the universe … something sure to increase their ratings and influence. The race is on to save humanity (and earn a little extra profit in the process). You'll need to fight for your life and collect what's yours. So get out there, Vault Hunter, and show 'em what you've got. After all, this is the Borderlands, where you become a legend … or die trying.
Is it any good?
This action adventure game, is the reigning king of the "loot shooters," and its latest installment doesn't look like the franchise will be giving up the throne anytime soon. Borderlands 3 generally stays true to the formula that made it such a success to begin with. There's just a lot more of it. Pandora (and its moon in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel) was already a pretty big sandbox to play in, but the addition of multiple new planets to explore makes for a massive new playground. And the arsenal of weapons and items available to find has grown exponentially in scale. This is a double-edged sword, though, as you'll never really find yourself getting attached to any one piece of equipment for long before it becomes obsolete. And trying to find a similar item is such a slim matter of chance that you're better off constantly trying out whatever new gear is tossed your way.
Once again, the franchise introduces gamers to a new team of Vault Hunters. Each plays in a completely unique way from the others, but still manages to feel familiar in a lot of ways to fans. The characters' skill system got a major overhaul this time around though, opening up even more ways to customize the heroes to fit your particular style. Players get to add new moves to their arsenals as well, such as a power slide and climbing mechanic, but for the most part, the controls feel like slipping back into a comfortable pair of shoes. Make no mistake about it, this is still the same ol' Borderlands that fans have grown to know and love. Unfortunately, that's also its biggest drawback. Sometimes it suffers under its own weight, particularly in its story. Borderlands 3 tries to make room for every imaginable character that's ever shown up throughout the series to make an appearance. This might seem like great fan service, but can feel forced, muddying the waters and confusing newcomers unfamiliar with every facet of the franchise. It also can frustrate Borderlands fans looking for more depth out of the new characters and events. But look past this, and the fast-paced action will keep you blasting for hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Borderlands 3 affected by the over-the-top, exaggerated combat? How does it compare to the more realistic violence of other shooter games? Does the art style and humor of the game make the violence more tolerable, lessening its potential impact on younger gamers?
What are some of the types of humor used in media? How do certain types of humor target specific audiences? How might certain jokes aim for and reach an older audience? When might a joke cross the line and go "too far?"
- Platforms: Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 2K Games
- Release date: September 13, 2019
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
- Last updated: August 23, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.