Battle of the Looter Shooters in 2021: Which one is for you?

Digital Extremes
Digital Extremes /
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Story – Borderlands 3

While Borderlands 3’s story might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and also not being able to live up to how Borderlands 2 was, it’s still decent nonetheless. Especially when you compare this to other current looter shooter titles, this game takes the cake by quite a lot. You have an already established story with new and returning faces to the franchise, with quirky and witty lines to help add that comic relief that is often found in this franchise.

On top of that, a majority of the characters are fleshed out enough to where they aren’t as easily forgotten. Yes, cue the memes about a certain character not being so liked, but the fact that people remember this character means that the story writers did something right in making them stick.

2. Destiny 2

This franchise had several memes early on about the Darkness and how many things weren’t in game. You had to go to Bungie’s website to read about the lore because “there is no time to explain why I don’t have time to explain”. But since then, Bungie and their team have really delivered an ongoing story even after the initial release of the second game in 2017. With such key events like the death of a fan favorite in the Forsaken to the return of other characters in Beyond Light, it has definitely shown that with time, it can prove to tell a decent story.

3. Outriders

Outriders has an interesting premise, given that it is much more relatable and time sensitive. It has a range of dynamic environments and a wide variety of enemies to take on. You, as a surviving Outrider, and with inhuman powers, team up with people to locate this “signal” and colonize an area safe from the anomalies which have made past expedition efforts unsuccessful. While the premise is interesting, the delivery of the lines and character interactions are mostly forgettable and feel unnecessarily edgy.

4. Warframe

Warframe’s story is interesting and only recently started to pick up, but only comes in small lore fragments and bite-sized cinematics from time to time. It has been six years at the time of writing this that The Second Dream has come out, kicking off an engaging storyline. However, it doesn’t seem like much has really moved the story forward since, other than revealing one grim truth about a prominent character. Though, there are other interesting bits and small quests that explain a new Warframe’s lore or help introduce a new mechanic or game mode.

In short, it does seem like a difficult task to create an enriched and engaging story in a looter shooter game where you, the protagonist, oftentimes are given more of an identity rather than a name. What has to stick more is the world building, the NPCs, the villains, and the conclusions to these stories. Sure, your character is what you make of them, and their lines are very limited. You’re almost always the glorified right-hand man of the bigger players of the stories that unfold.