It's been almost seven years since the last Borderlands game, and the world is ready to return to the Claptrap railroad. If you've played previous entries, you know to expect gonzo co-op action with an emphasis on outlandish weapons. While Borderlands 3 delivers the first-person, looter-shooter goodness you expect, it also includes a host of formula improvements. More cathartic weapons, diverse character classes, drastic changes in quality of life, and more. These are the bad ass details that impressed me from a recent hands-on session.
Weapons feel incredible
The Borderlands is all about scoring consistently stronger weapons and throwing trash at your enemies. These tools of destruction feel more fun and impactful than ever before. In addition to the damage numbers surpassing the enemies' heads, the weapons have convincing effect and feedback. A damned bandit can fly across the map from a blast of gunfire before clinging to his feet for more punishment. The clear, punctuated sound design of each connected gun or average-tat-tat drives a home-friendly feel. Put a submachine gun that turns into a mini-turret when you reload. A weapon that needs to be doused with water when it overheats. Hold the trigger to charge an elemental incendiary or guarded gunfire. These amazing toys have a personality and different spades.
Vault Hunter's colorful classes feel unique
I have no problem deciding which character to run in a Borderlands game – they are all appealing. Moze summoned the mech, Iron Bear, providing his beefier weapon, shield, and artillery with shoulder-shopping. FL4K can put on his own and send his trusted Skagg or Rakk pets to snatch goons for him. Amara – the Mermaid – summoned stunning weapons to trap and kill fools. Zane's dark secret agent background allows him to release drones and pop up disruptive clones (which he can teleport) I can't wait to see how these Vault Hunters will complement one's not in the long run.
Second fire option adds gunplay options
Many guns in Borderlands 3 feature an alternate fire (press down directional button) spice fight. A scanned mini-gun clicks on a powerful sniper rifle. Swap between the element elements to freeze after the opposition fires. Unleash a barrage of explosive rockets with your pistol. Every time I snag a firearm, I get excited because it's essentially two guns in one.
Weapons, grenades, and shields have many statistics, and comparing robbery can be a process. Obsessive min-maxers can still lose themselves in the details, but all can refer to a handy Item Score. This go-to distilled number gives players a good idea of whether the new loot they get is an upgrade. I love this new quality of life feature because it allows me to equip new gear and get back to action quickly. There is no time wasted on these unpleasant sidegrades! Lusting feels like ledges to liberating, and Gearbox uses it with thoughtful environmental puzzles. Sliding is also making a dramatic debut series. At one point I burst into a blasting barrel, slid to the ground, and sent it to an enemy – all in a neat, enjoyable sequence.
Humor is ridiculous in the brand
Okay, so not gameplay per se, but Borderlands 3 is a mess. An unforgettable mission in the green of Eden-6 features Balex, a centrist AI revealed by the inevitable Ice-T. The foul Balex loses access to his main "body" in some mishap and temporarily resides in a slippery, melting Teddy bear. His mission will take you deep into a massive facility filled with nasty creatures called the Ratch. Slimy parasites are … recognizable … and the AI that runs the facility is a disgruntled lover in Balex's deal. I'm not going to waste the twists and turns, but this fun mission goes places. -6 really shake the scene. For example, the Eden-6's destinations range from lethal forests, to tree-lined villages, to liberating high-tech facilities. Gearbox has also tempted exciting futuristic cities, treacherous swamps, and more.
The loot's crazy shoot of Borderlands 3 is almost here. Start recruiting your co-op buddies today (four players online, two-player splitscreen), as the explosion of bandits and feral dinosaurs of the galaxy is always better with friends. Gearbox's next adventure hits the PS4 of September 13.