How Long Is Borderlands 3's Campaign?

There's a lot to loot and just as much to shoot.

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The release of Borderlands 3 is right around the corner: It arrives for Xbox One, PS4, and PC (on the Epic Games Store) on September 13, followed by releases for Google Stadia in late 2019 and other PC storefronts in 2020. If you're wondering how much of your life you'll need to dedicate to playing through the campaign, we've got you covered. Borderlands 3 is a fairly lengthy adventure, and it also packs in some new endgame activities of sorts to keep you busy once you're done; you won't be beating it in a single sitting. Here's how long it takes to finish Borderlands 3.

The fourth mainline installment in the loot shooter franchise acts as a sort of conclusion to the series, completing the narrative arc first put forth in 2009's Borderlands. That first game took just over 20 hours to beat, and its follow-ups Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel took about 30 and 17 hours respectively. Borderlands 3 takes a little over 30 hours to complete, putting it at about the same length as Borderlands 2. I finished my first playthrough in 33 hours.

On my first playthrough, I typically only stopped to complete side quests when I needed to level up more--as Borderlands 3's campaign missions are fairly punishing to tackle when you're below their recommended level. Upon finishing the campaign, I still had about 10 unfinished side quests in my mission log, and another dozen left undiscovered--marked with exclamation points on my map for me to go to and acquire.

It's difficult to discern just how much more time those side quests would add to the total runtime, as some of Borderlands 3's optional missions can be completed in as quickly as a few seconds while others can last upwards of 45 minutes. Some have multiple parts too, taking place across the universe on more than one planet. Finishing the campaign also unlocks a few pieces of endgame content, as well as Borderlands 3's new game plus, True Vault Hunter Mode. So it will take a lot longer than 33 hours to complete everything.

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. If you've never been a fan of the franchise, it's unlikely Borderlands 3 does enough things differently to change your mind, as the game best excels at continuing what the series has always done: deliver a humorous tall tale of misfits looting and shooting their way to heroism."

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