Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel came out in 2014. It was the third mainline game in a series that had been running pretty steady every two to three years. However, after that one, the series went quiet for some time. In 2019 the franchise that ushered in the modern era of loot n’ shoots will return with Borderlands 3. Does it bring enough new and refreshed ideas to the table to survive in a landscape that now has the likes of Destiny 2, Division 2, Anthem, and more? Certainly, early impressions are guiding us towards a yes.
A New Generation Of Vault Hunters
Borderlands 3 has all the style of its predecessors. You take on the role of one of several Vault Hunters, each with their own skills, talents, and specialties with weaponry. For instance, Zane is a tech-heavy gunslinger with the ability to call in a battle drone to fly around firing at enemies, or he spawns a digital clone of himself to fire at and distract the opposition. Meanwhile, Amara is a strong-armed Siren with some powerhouse skills, such as the Phase Slam ability to jump and slam an area with her fists or use Phase Grasp to hold enemies in place, damaging them while held.
One of the more interesting aspects of Borderlands 3 is the ability to switch between various action skills. Where in previous games you were confined to one, it appears that in Borderlands 3, you can swap between a few pretty easily, applying them as you need to a variety of situations. Of course, the skill trees are also returning, filled with all sorts of wonderful upgrades to build a character in various directions and make them yours. The versatility of multiple active abilities nonetheless means that much more variety when it comes to deciding how you’ll approach combat.
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The Corporations & Psychos Are At It Again
Speaking of combat, Borderlands 3 is bristling with all sorts of new baddies that you will want you to go ahead and murderize. Familiar corporate entities are at each other’s throats again as they vie for the power of the vaults and the cosmic horrors and powers they contain. At the very least, we know that Maliwan is after Atlas, and as you go searching for those precious Vault keys, you’ll inevitably find yourself on the wrong end of one or both of them.
That’s not the only threat you have to worry about however. The bandits of Pandora have all come together as one unified force, and at the head of the traditionally bloodthirsty pack are the Calypso twins, Tyreen and Troy. These leaders are every stereotype of the worst live streaming Internet trolls you know about, combined with Siren powers to make them deadly and domineering in addition to their massive bandit armies. Between corporations and dealing with the Calypsos, you’re going to have a lot on your hands.
With so much going on, that’s a lot for Pandora to handle, right? Well, the good news is that it’s not confined to one place this time. Vaults are scattered throughout different planets, and you’ll travel between them, chasing and being chased by the corporations and Calypsos trying to stay one step ahead of the hunt. To take on that hunt, you’re going to need a good arsenal, and that’s where Borderland 3’s firepower comes in.
Guns, Gunss, GUNSSS
Borderlands has always been a series punctuated by a super massive arsenal of weaponry that makes every armament unique and interesting. The count on possible discoverable guns has continued to rise exponentially, but there’s a new wrinkle to weapons this time in Borderlands 3. For this new outing, every weapon in the game has a second firing mode, and the firing modes are vastly varied. One of the pistols we saw is capable of regular fire, as well as explosive rounds in its alternate mode. Another, when switched to alternate mode and thrown, becomes a mobile turret that runs after enemies while shooting at them.
Borderlands 3 seems to have no intention of forcing you to fight over the goods, either. Gearbox has crafted some neat systems to help everyone get their share of a good arsenal. First, the game features a loot instancing option for players. What that means is that each player will see their own weapons and be able to take them regardless of what other players do. If you’re both looking at the same chest, each player will see a different weapon that only they can take in the same spot. Moreover, these weapons adjust to fit player levels, ensuring that not only are players not competing for the same stockpile of loot, but it will be rewarding regardless of their progress in the game.
Not only is Borderlands 3 throwing loot at you in game, its also tossing it at you in real life. Via the ECHOcast Twitch extension, anytime you watch your favorite streamer playing the game get loot, you have a chance to nab some as well for your game. Not able to play the game, but want to grind out some gear? Well if you watch some streams you can still score some of those guns and be ready for the big time when you do log in!
Borderlands 3 isn’t just coming back with the wacky over-the-top loot n’ shoot antics we’ve come to expect. It looks like Gearbox has seen what the landscape has to offer and they’re ready to compete with it. Everything looks cranked up and evolved thoughtfully so far, and while there’s still so much more to see, we’re already excited to get back to some Vault Hunting fun.
Gearbox is throwing everything you’ve ever loved in previous Borderlands games (yes, that includes Tales From The Borderlands), plus a ton of new diverse environments and characters. And lots of guns. Over a billion of them, allegedly, into the next entry of the series. What else do they have planned?