Borderlands 3 in many ways feels like a throwback. This was used as a pejorative by some reviewers, but I see it as a positive. The game is simple, dumb fun and the interface works fine for what it does even if it is a bit clunky.
But as much as things seem the same, Borderlands 3 has made some concessions to trimming out a few of the more tedious aspects that plagued previous games. Here are my favorites.
Borderlands 3: The Best Quality of Life Upgrades
Easier Fast Travel
In previous Borderlands titles, you needed to find fast travel stations (unlocked in each new area of the game) to hop around. This often worked fine, but in some notable locations (like Rust Commons in the first game) this leads to an outrageous amount of slow, tedious backtracking that could be kind of boring.
Thankfully, in Borderlands 3, you can fast travel from the map to any unlocked fast travel point.
That, however, is not my favorite part. This is pretty standard in games these days, so seeing it is more an expectation than a pleasant surprise.
No, the great part is that you can now fast travel to vehicles. This makes things easy by letting you instantly backtrack to the start of a dungeon area you drove a vehicle to. But more than that, it essentially lets you create custom fast travel waypoints. Anywhere you leave a vehicle is somewhere you can instantly zap back to on a whim, and that’s awesome. Technically you could always do this…if you were actually at a Catch-A-Ride station, which was a bit of a crapshoot on whether one was near enough to be useful.
You can even teleport to a friend’s vehicle!
Lost Loot Machine
Found in the lower decks of Sanctuary III (conveniently next to the fast travel point you appear at when traveling back to the ship) is the Lost Loot Machine. It dispenses any Rare (Blue quality) or better items you may have lost or not otherwise found (like for example if you and a friend split up to complete a mission and great loot drops near them) and they can be picked up or used to be sold.
This not only prevents my horrible flashbacks to my lost Pearlescent loot in the first Borderlands but makes looting, in general, less tedious, and makes Backpack SDUs feel more like a luxury than a necessity. This thing has already saved me from missing one Legendary item (even if it is a not very good one), so it’s already pulling its weight.
Storage Deck Upgrades
Speaking of SDUs, this is a short one: I love that they can be repurchased with cash. No Eridium or Moonstones, just cold hard dosh. Money felt pretty worthless in Borderlands 2 due to pretty much everything necessary needing Eridium to purchase it. I gambled away every red cent I made at the slot machines just because I didn’t have anything better to do with it.
Relegating Eridum purchases to cosmetics and guaranteed Epic items was a good call, and makes it feel worthwhile to loot and sell expensive stuff again.
Modular Action Skills
This is probably the biggest one in a minute to minute gameplay. Being able to swap the properties of your action skill at any time based on how deep you’re in a tree is amazing. It’s a game-changer in terms of allowing you to tinker with your most feature and tailor it to a given challenge. If you know, you’ll be facing off against enemies weak to a certain element, swap to it. If there are enemies, it’s bad to engage up close, swap to a longer-ranged version of your skill.
It’s all very fun and keeps the game fresh far longer while increasing tactical options.
Cooperation vs Coopetition
Last but not least, the easy toggle when starting up a lobby that lets you choose between how you want to play. I personally enjoy Cooperation while leveling initially, but Coopetition is a great option to have when hitting max level or when trying to “boost” a low level player. I love that there’s now an option to switch whenever you’re comfortable with switching (if ever).
Everything Gearbox has done to the game to make the experience better is much appreciated.