Borderlands 3 Could Be The Year's Best Looter-Shooter

Borderlands 3 Could Be The Year's Best Looter-Shooter

Dean Abdou

Borderlands 3 will be instantly familiar to fans of the series as it’s a very similar game, albeit one boasting a plethora of new features and a fresh coat of modern digital paint to bring the series to life on current-gen systems. On paper, that might not sound like it’s not quite enough to get excited about, but Borderlands 3 could be the most fun iteration in the series to date, and already comfortably sits up there as potentially one of the best looter-shooters this year. Big words, perhaps, but bear with me here.

When it comes to ensuring Borderlands 3 feels fresh, Gearbox has completely revamped the skill trees and how abilities work for each character class. In previous games, each class had only one action skill, but in Borderlands 3 players can pick from three different action skills. With the exception of Zane, who can equip two action skills - although one of these replaces the grenade slot.

Not only that, but you can enhance each action skill with augments unlocked through the skill tree. During our hands-on demo, we were able to play as both new Siren Amara and Zane the Operative, and despite not having the time to progressing too far in terms of levelling up, we did have the chance to test out the new action skills and augment one of Amara’s to produce a radiation field, which was effective when taking on crowds of enemies.

For our this first or two hands-on demo sessions, we played as Zane, equipping Sentinel and Digiclone action skills that when combined proved incredibly effective in taking down multiple baddies. The second demo saw us testing out Amara’s Phasegrasp ability, great for taking on heavy foes by conjuring a huge ethereal green fist to grab and hold them in place, allowing you to focus on some of the easier enemies for a bit. For the most part, however, we used Amara’s Phaseslam action skill augmented with an acid effect to modify its standard electric elemental effect.

Gearbox is also shaking things up a little by giving players the ability to hop from planet to planet with new hub location Sanctuary 3, which is a big ol’ spaceship equipped with a hyperdrive with which to facilitate all of your interplanetary travel. On Sanctuary 3 you’ll get your own quarters, which you can decorate by mounting your favourite guns on the wall. Elsewhere on the vessel you can interact with a number of familiar faces like Marcus Kincaid of Marcus Munitions and Moxxi of Moxxi's Red Light. On top of that, if you ever forget to pick up or miss any loot during your missions, when you return to Sanctuary 3 you’ll find a little vending machine that delivers it all straight to you. Happy days.

During our hands-on time with Borderlands 3, we got to explore the planet of Promethea, and its neon-soaked city of Meridian. Everything from enemies to chest designs is different here, highlighting that players can expect to see a unique palette for each planet in the full game. We also meet one of the new characters here named Lorelei, who’s attempting to prevent the Maliwan Corporation from taking over the planet. We got a chance to play through one of the main story missions, one that clearly demonstrates that Borderlands 3 will have a very clear and defined campaign unlike the first Borderlands, which arguably had a pretty forgettable story. Additionally, we had time to sample a few of the game’s side-missions, which are happily chock-full of classic, mischievous Borderlands humour.

As for the guns in Borderlands 3, we only got to grips with a very small fraction of the billions of shooters that will be available in the game. As Zane, we were equipped with the Rare Vladof Assault Rifle spitting bullets that deal electric damage. Some guns - like this one - will feature an alternate fire mode, which in this case meant being able to fire both bullets and grenades. Switching between firing modes during combat is super seamless and when timed correctly, after using a few rounds, instead of reloading you can switch straight to the grenade launcher and keep combat flowing without missing a beat.

We were also equipped with a rare Tediore SMG that you can throw when reloading and see it become a little turret with legs (the one from the announcement trailer) that runs around shooting enemies until it runs out of ammo. These kinds of weapons inject even more comical, freewheeling fun into Borderlands 3, as well as being rather effective for taking on swarms of enemies, especially when combined with Zane’s action skills.

This was only a taster of the unrelenting gun-laden action that Borderlands 3 will have to offer when it launches this September. The feel of each gun is as meaty and satisfying as you’d hope, with each varying in what it has to offer for differing combat scenarios. Not only was going hands-on with Borderlands 3 a joyful experience, then, but also remarkably gratifying, especially when you can finish off an enemy by blowing their head off with a pistol or completely blasting off their legs with a shotgun. What’s not to like?

  • There's no way that BL3 isn't going to not only beat the crap out of the previous BL games but also put a major hole in all other, similar games :). Roll on September 13th!
  • Shlooter
  • Too bad it will be littered with microtransactions and locked to 30FPS in 4k on PS4 and PS4 Pro. Only way to reach 60FPS will be to play in 1080p.
  • @3 That's great news for my vanilla PS4!
  • @3 You know, for someone who apparently shelled out thousands of dollars for a 4K TV and PS4 Pro, you seem awfully whiny about COSMETIC-ONLY microtransactions.
  • @5 can ya blame them, or anyone? Announce cosmetic dlc (which IS a type of Microtransaction) 4 months before the game comes out. Most will say 'cut content', which i agree with heavily unfortunately, because day 1 dlc, in whatever form is 'cut for $$$' Tbh the power of both 4 and pro are just 1080 PCs, so no wonder on frame stuff etc.
  • Considering this series put looter shooters on the map, and the last best one typically always has "Borderlands" in its title, it's a fair assumption this one is gonna both be amazing and stomp the competition ...if you can even call it that. They're staying true to the formula and what fans want. I @3 and 5 let's ignore the fact that all previous BL games had content well worth it's price, alongside skins that only cost 99 cents - so called MTXs - meanwhile the games had hundreds of skins that were free, given out for events and earned in game thru missions and challenges.
  • Should be good
  • Cant believe people are crying about micro transactions when it is cosmetic only. NOTHING will help you be better in the game except your own still and the loot you find. Some people just want to complain and be handed free stuff.
  • If The Division 2 is considered a looter-shooter, then this has some competition! TD2 is gr8.
  • @#3 & #6 At least they're being upfront about cosmetic DLC months in advance. Which is more that I can say for MOST companies. You two are just the typical entitled gamers who aren't happy unless they have something to complain about. Also, the Pro is more like a mid range 1440p capable PC. As most games end up running at around 1440 natively on the Pro, then upscaled using checker-board rendering. Which brings me to my final point: seeing as how there was a "performance mode" on the test build at the reveal event; it will likely end up running at 1440p 60fps in perfomance mode on console. Which is fine by me, because it still looks fantastic in 1440.
  • @7 & @9 sure it's only cosmetic, but announed way early before releases bad bit, shows it cut for extra $$$, they make enough profit from selling game and its normal (but awesome) dlc campaigns. @11, upfront this early makes ya wonder how many skins sure it's cosmetic, but i've seen cosmetic be game changing in Destiny 1, a gun's 'ornament' (skin) would light up if next bullet have its buff, but only on that skin, so there's a way to make it 'gameplay'
  • @#12 Who cares? There's going to be plenty on free customization outside of the DLC that it'll render it a non issue. You can cry "cut content" all you want, but it doesn't actually make it so. You're not entitled to EXTRA skins. The main purpose of selling a product is to make money. If thwy want to sell a few extra skins, so be it. That's their prerogative. Not your entitlement.
  • Why arent the 4 dlcs free? Boohoo
  • Im sick of all these microtransaction crybabies @12 yes they announced cosmetic items you can buy after launch but did they show them no which means the dlc cosmetics still have to be made which take time and designers which cost money. On a side note cant wait for September 13th already have mine preordered with season pass.
  • Nice to see that proof-reading an article before allowing it to be published is a thing of the past. A few real abominations in this one.
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