Co-op gameplay is at the core of Borderlands 3 just as it was in past games, and like before, there's more than one way to play with a fellow Vault Hunter. You can either team up with someone online or engage in some couch co-op using the game's split-screen feature, but the latter option isn't providing the full experience currently due to noticeable lag during key moments. Players have voiced their frustrations with these issues now that the game's fully available as of Friday, and a statement from a 2K representative confirmed that the game's creators are aware of the problems.
Problems with the game's split-screen mode first became evident when navigating menus and during the frequent firefights that included large groups of enemies. Lag sets in to affect both players, and it happens most noticeably when highlighting different skills and weapons in their respective menus. The problem was consistently reproduceable when playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro set to "performance" mode, and it became prevalent enough to the point my co-op partner and I would warn each other when we had to go into a menu.
Other players have experienced similar issues and voiced their frustrations on social media and forums like Reddit whether their problems stemmed from lag or the lack of a vertical split-screen option. When reached for comment about the split-screen situation, a 2K representative said the Borderlands 3 team is aware of the issues and offered advice for dealing with them as optimizations are worked on.
"We are aware that in some cases during split-screen couch co-op play, players can experience lag while in heavy combat and one of the players goes into their ECHOdevice and tries to navigate the skill trees and menus," a 2K representative said in a statement. "While we will continue to work to optimize the Borderlands 3 experience, we'd advise split-screen players to prep for combat ahead of big encounters, and not leave a teammate to fight solo mid-firefight!"
There's currently only one split-screen option in place on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and that's to have the screen split horizontally. When asked if there was a chance a vertical split option would be added, the 2K representative said "there are no plans to add vertical split-screen at this time." The PC version of the game does not have a split-screen option.
These split-screen frustrations aren't exclusive to Borderlands 3 and have been felt with other modern games balancing co-op and high performance, but playing solo or in online co-op seems to be the way to go until optimizations are released. Our initial impressions on Borderlands 3 from months ago were largely positive, and the start of the game now that it's released is yielding similarly enjoyable results. We'll have a full review on the game after more time is invested.
Borderlands 3 is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC platforms.