There is no game series that captures mad-fun quite like Borderlands. From its insane boss fights to its quirky sense of humour, the series has carved out its own niche that many other games have tried to emulate in the past few years. Borderlands 3 is the first numbered release since 2012’s Borderlands 2, and fans lined up in two-hour-plus lines all weekend of E3 2019 for a chance to play it. Thankfully, after playing a brief demo of the game, I can confidently say that Borderlands 3 is more than worth both the seven-year and two-hour wait alike.
In many ways, Borderlands 3 feels a lot like Borderlands 2, and that’s not a bad thing. The frantic enemies and interesting loot drops are as good as ever, and the gun-play feels satisfying as well. Thankfully, there are also many improvements in the upcoming game, and the visual style especially pops more than ever before. There is also an increase in the pace of the game. Borderlands has always been about fast and frantic content, and the demo managed to up that while also keeping it smooth and manageable.
It’s harder to lose yourself in a game when you’re playing it at a video game convention, versus sitting on your couch at home, but my ten minutes with Borderlands 3 drew me in deep. The portion that I played was one of the few games at E3 that left me wanting more. I was going up against a boss that used sound waves to try and defeat me, and I was able to get him down to only a sliver of health when the game time ran out.
I played as Moze “The Gunner”, who boasts some great style and moves. One of her special abilities is especially exciting for fans of the game Overwatch, as she can jump into a mech, ala D.vA, and wreak havoc on the various enemies. Speaking of enemies, there were a couple of varied ones in the demo. These ranged from short, aggressive grunts that deal big damage up close, to lanky mad max- style psychos and annoying long-range turrets. While the enemy variety isn’t all that vast, the game makes up for it by throwing them at you at a breakneck pace. I barely had any time to register who I was fighting against, and frankly, I didn’t care because the rush of combat was that good. The shotgun especially felt great, and I often chose to power-slide headfirst into enemies just so I could unleash my shotgun blasts at close range.
While charging headfirst is extremely satisfying, it’s also dangerous, and I found myself having to back-pedal to previous areas in order to stay alive. The enemies do a great job of attacking from a wide variety of angles which helps create the chaotic feeling that Borderlands 3 thrives on. I often found myself unsure of who to shoot first, and as a result, I resorted to putting my brain on autopilot and just taking out anyone and everyone that I saw.
Overall though, the best way to describe Borderlands 3 is that it feels like a Borderlands game. All the wonderful gunplay and quirky characters that have made the series so popular are here and they make for a great first (or third) impression. The dialled up speed and colours combined with the satisfying gunplay make it a standout game, and one that is more than worth buying when it releases on October 25th of this year.
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