With its comic-book-style graphics, wacky characters and gun-blazing action, the Borderlands series has always managed to connect with gamers like no other first-person shooter. And it remains popular among teenagers despite the violent content.

The latest in the series, Borderlands 3, is a sequel to the 2012 game Borderlands 2, which now feels dated and slow.

It retains the sci-fi Western look from Borderlands 2, with slight upgrades in the graphics department. What really lifts the gaming experience is the game engine. The game’s developers, Gearbox Software, have relied on Unreal Engine 4 which, when compared to the Unreal Engine 3 used in Borderlands 2, offers better graphics and textures, more character customization and flexible in-game controls. As a result, player movement and actions in Borderlands 3 are a lot more intuitive, making gamers feel more confident and in control of their characters during combat. While sprinting, for example, players can dash towards or retreat faster from an enemy.

All about Borderlands 3
All about Borderlands 3

In the new game, players can control and switch between four main characters known as the “vault hunters". Each character comes with a unique skill set. Moze is a gunner and can be destructive with her high-velocity projectile shots, while Amara, a “Siren", can use her “ethereal fists" to smash enemies with just one blow. FL4K, the “beastmaster", is a wandering robot with three pet animals that can assist in combat, while Zane is a former black ops operative who can create a clone of himself during combat to confuse the enemy.

Some other vault hunters such as Maya, another Siren, from the previous game return as the supporting cast and make cameo appearances. The single-wheeled robot, Claptrap, who has been a part of every Borderlands title so far, is a great sidekick with an exuberant personality. Claptrap can also analyse a combat situation and provide insights to a user.

Guns have always been a huge attraction in this series and the developers have been more creative with them in Borderlands 3. Not only are there more options to choose from, there are firearms with self-propelling shields, shotguns that can fire grenades and modular guns that can, believe it or not, grow legs, chase an enemy and shoot them down. With boxes containing ammunition scattered all over the map, players can now switch to more destructive options more frequently.

Borderlands 3 is an open world game that allows players to explore their surroundings at will. Players can explore life beyond planet Pandora, where the game is originally set, and travel to other planets, worlds infested with strange-looking two- and four-legged creatures. The gameplay is fast; the guns, loud and destructive. The trick is to move and aim quickly while dodging enemy shots.

There is no element of stealth in Borderlands 3, for the enemy can detect vault hunters from a distance. Players can travel between planets using a new giant spaceship: the Sanctuary III, which also serves as a ground base for the vault hunters. Players can review their loot, customize the appearance of their vault hunters and acquire rare weapons.

The missions in Borderlands 3 are short but challenging. With more vaults to hunt and newer worlds to explore, there is ample gameplay to keep players engrossed for hours. In all, Borderlands 3 is a sequel that manages to stick to its roots and yet offer the quality gameplay one expects from a modern-day first-person shooter.