Borderlands 3 will never need to be more than what the first game was. Gearbox hasn’t reinvented the looter shooter formula that they pioneered in 2009 with the third entry in the series, but with more worlds, new heroes, and of course, more guns, Borderlands 3 seems like it’s shaping up to be the best in the trilogy.
While I can’t speak on the new worlds, cooperative PVE, storyline, and “billions” of guns that’ll be included in Borderlands 3, I can talk about my impressions on the gunplay which basically acts as the most important component in the series as a whole. In short, it’s still one of the best game’s around when it comes to taking down hordes of enemies in quick succession. It’s immediately clear that Gearbox has grouped together everything they’ve learned from the previous games and added even more to that successful formula.
The creativity behind every gun and tool at your disposal is a dream come true if you can’t get enough of the looter shooter genre. Whereas games that have stemmed from the original Borderlands can feel repetitive at times, offering loot that’s rarer yet similar to guns you might have acquired before, Borderlands 3 meticulously crafts a wide array of weapons and tools that feel unlike anything I’ve seen in a shooter before. The entire team should be commended on this glorious feat.
Grenades in particular come in a variety of options. They can stick to enemies, let out flurries of bullets, explode, and do just about anything and everything you wouldn’t expect. Whereas grenades have always been an explosive damaging tool with some strategy behind them in other games, Borderlands 3 takes the dial and goes beyond that as you can really develop your overall play style with things outside of weaponry. It’s something a couple of games have done before, but if Borderlands 3 delivers on the promise of having as much weapon variety as Gearbox promises, fans are certainly in for a treat.
My demo had me using a standard machine gun and shotgun, both of which felt as satisfying as they should. I picked up other guns that felt different but ultimately opted for the two powerful weapons I was given at the start. The short dungeon itself was a literal blast to get through, I only wished the demo allowed me to play with three other players at my booth. Obviously, the Borderlands series is renowned for offering some great cooperative gameplay and even though I didn’t get the chance to experience it firsthand, I’m pretty confident that Gearbox won’t drop the ball now.
Everything I saw was reminiscent of Borderlands 2, the last Borderlands game I played, and that’s totally okay. As I mentioned before, sequels do not always need to reinvent the wheel for something that already seems damn near perfect. Borderlands 3 isn’t a graphical powerhouse but still has the charming visuals you’re used to. The game also expands upon its deeper RPG mechanics that players will be familiar with and four unique character classes that’ll surely be satisfying to explore and modify.
I decided to play this demo as the Gunner Vault Hunter, Moze. Whose ability revolves around a giant mech she calls the Iron Bear. The Iron Bear can be modified as you’d expect to be equipped with flamethrowers, miniguns, and other tools that’ll enhance your capability in combat. I was given some skill points right off the bat to experiment with the mech, and I opted for a flamethrower minigun combo.
Moze could be the main tank in the game with her mech ability. It offers a chance to take a short breather and gun down as many enemies as possible before she ultimately has to exit Iron Bear. Based on the presentation I watched before my demo, it seems Gearbox’s goal with the Iron Bear is to simply allow players the chance to shoot the hell out of as many enemies as possible before being thrown back into the heat of battle. Additionally, you can incorporate Moze’s ability with your teammates as there’s a specific skill that allows one of your fellow Vault Hunters to latch onto the Iron Bear and fire from behind it. Having a team of four unique Hunters is definitely going to provide some cool moments once all of their abilities become one focused squad.
The short dungeon area I was infiltrating ended with a relatively simple boss battle. In this case, the boss’ abilities were more RPG-like as opposed to what you may usually expect from a first-person shooter. It was fun, but I’m really itching to get into the more hardcore content Borderlands 3 will offer. With various planets to explore for the first time, billions of weapons, four new Vault Hunters, a new set of antagonists, and tons of quests to take on, I’m pretty confident at this point that Borderlands 3 will not disappoint the most seasoned fans of first-person shooter mayhem. While I’ve never considered myself a huge fan of the series, I’m more excited about it than ever before.
Borderlands 3 will launch for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 13. A port for the Google Stadia will follow at a later date.