In a first for the franchise, Borderlands 3 leaves Pandora’s solar system and takes you to never-before-seen planets. Fairly early in the game’s campaign, you and the rest of the Crimson Raiders board the spaceship Sanctuary III and begin a treasure hunt for vaults scattered throughout the universe. Overall, you’ll visit five planets in Borderlands 3’s campaign–though you can travel to a few other interstellar locations that aren’t tied to planets, like a Maliwan station and Torgue’s Circle of Slaughter.
Your journey begins on Pandora, the planet that’s been the setting of Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and much of Tales of the Borderlands. You’ll next go to Promethea, the capital planet of Atlus. Unlike Pandora, Promethea does have civilization, with sprawling cities full of towering skyscrapers. Your main contact on Pandora is Tales from the Borderlands’ Vaughn, who’s now become a bandit leader, while your go-to person on Promethea is the coffee-addicted Lorelei.
You’ll also get to finally visit Athenas–which is first mentioned in Borderlands 2. Athenas is home to the pacifist monastic organization known as the Order of the Impending Storm, which used a young Maya’s reputation as a Siren to scare the rest of the planet into obeying them for years. Maya eventually killed the Order’s leader and traveled to Pandora to be a Vault Hunter in order to learn about the origin of the Sirens. In Borderlands 3, the Crimson Raiders turn to Maya to provide you with the information you need to know to make your way around Athenas.
Eden-6 is also on your itinerary, a lush jungle planet that acts as the planetary base for the Jakobs weapon manufacturer. Like Pandora, no actual civilization has been able to gain traction on Eden-6. This is largely thanks to the planet’s ecosystem–the most dangerous wildlife in Borderlands 3 is found on Eden-6, ranging from the semi-sentient monkey-like Jabbers to the fire-breathing dinosaur-like Saurians. Though many of your missions on Eden-6 come from Wainwright Jakobs, you’ll also turn to his boyfriend, Sir Hammerlock, and the mercenary-turned-rebel leader Clay for getting the lay of the land.
The final planet in Borderlands 3 is a bit of a spoiler, so click away now if you want to keep it a surprise. Again, minor story spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
The fifth planet you visit in Borderlands 3 is Nekrotafeyo, the former home of the long-dead race that created the Vaults, the Eridians. A planet that’s long believed to be a myth, Nekrotafeyo now contains the secrets of the Great Vault, a place that supposedly contains an immense power. The Great Vault can only be opened by acquiring the unique totems of four different vaults. You begin Borderlands 3 with one already in your possession–the map found in the vault at the end of Borderlands 2–so you’ll need to race to find three more before the Calypso twins can get their hands on the power found in the Great Vault.
In GameSpot’s Borderlands 3 review, I wrote, “Borderlands 3 has a few stumbling blocks when it comes to bosses, but these fights are overshadowed by the game’s rewarding gunplay and over-the-top humor. The game’s character-driven narrative acts as a satisfying finale for the loot-shooter franchise, and the new mechanics and features–especially the reworked skill trees and weapon manufacturer effects–give you plenty of agency in how you want to play through it.”