Published on August 15th, 2019 | by John Werner
Borderlands 3 Preview/Gameplay Impressions
During a recent Borderlands 3 event hosted by 2K Australia, I was fortunate enough to get in some quality playtime on the latest addition to Borderlands series. Developers Lorien Meggersee (Associate Animations and Cinematics Producer) and Matthew Higgins (Level Designer) were on hand to answer any questions and show off the newest addition to the vault hunter team: Fl4k!
Until this point, very little was known about this mysterious robotic beastmaster and I was rather sceptic about how well he’d play. In past Borderlands games, it was hard enough keeping up with the sheer number of bandits trying to kill you, now I had to worry about keeping my pets alive too. I will confess, my previous experience with animal handlers in other RPG games hasn’t been too crash hot. Normally, the character is quite squishy and needs to hide behind his/her pets as a shield. Fl4k, on the other hand, is the complete opposite! This guy can handle himself like a freaking boss!
I began my play of Borderlands 3 at the start of the game with a level 1 Fl4k. And of course, like every other Borderlands game, Claptrap is waiting for you. I’ve always like Claptrap as a character in the past games but in the following 20 min of bandit killing bliss, I was blown away by just how funny Claptraps antics where. I won’t give anything away but he’s really good at being stealthy!
Fl4k, on the other hand, was a pleasure to play. In combat, he’s strong and tough like a pack leader and as deadly as an apex predator. His pet Jabber was just as exceptional. Armed with a rad pair of shades and a pistol, this little guy was a force to be reckoned with and worked really well as a team player. During combat, the Jabber would pick up barrels and throw them at enemies, making them explode on impact. During the first boss fight, I was able to get second wind thanks to his kills and deal more damage to the boss while he looked after crowd control. My expectations for Fl4k have truly been blown out of the water!
Gameplay has been taken to a whole new level and I couldn’t fault it even if I tried. The added addition of the ability to slide along the ground is smooth and very satisfying. Armed with a shotgun, I would sprint towards enemies hiding behind cover, slide past them, and in the same fluid motion, spin 180 degrees, point my gun at their head and give them a haircut to remember! Combined with Fl4k’s stealth ability, this is a very deadly combo!
The other new addition to the gameplay is mantling. Basically, the ability to climb up over ledges. I’m not sure if players will notice this as much as the ability to slide along the ground but it does make a big difference in exploring the open world. It’s a good addition to the game and worth checking out.
After the lunch break, we got to try some more high-end gameplay with level 20+ characters. This time I opted for Moze and her mech, Iron Bear. She was the character I had been wanting to play the most prior to the event. While she didn’t disappoint, I felt that she was better suited to co-op play. Iron Bear is a giant mech that can really lay down the hurt but without someone to ride on his back and use the rear turrets, I felt that he wasn’t been utilized to his full potential. The other downside is that he can’t be summoned in small spaces. Thankfully most of the rooms you are in are large enough to summon him. In terms of gameplay, Moze is a lot of fun and a very powerful vault hunter. Armed with a mini-gun assault rifle, I equipped her with some perks that gave ammo regeneration and ran havoc on anything that moved. These perks are also available at lower levels, meaning Moze will be an unstoppable force even at the start of the game. Interestingly enough, I found myself picking guns that matched her abilities rather than whatever was the most powerful. She could do more damage with a low-level assault rifle than with a high-end shotgun or sniper rifle. This is definitely something to keep in mind for players who like to find that perfect gun at the start of the game and hang onto it for quite some time.
Finally, the guns are out of this world, like you wouldn’t believe! The secondary fire mode essentially means you’re carrying 8 guns instead of 4. While even though this is only available on some guns and not all, all guns have more than one use. One such gun that I obtained during my play as Fl4k was a submachine gun when reloading would be thrown at whatever you were aiming at. depending on what it would hit, it would do one of three things. 1, if it hit an enemy, it would explode like a grenade on impact. 2, if it landed on a wall, it would attach itself and act as an automatic turret. Or 3, if the gun landed on the ground, it would sprout legs and run around shooting anything that moved. This is but one example of the level of awesome craziness that Borderlands 3 brings to the table!
In conclusion, this game is amazingly awesome and is by far the best Borderlands game yet! I highly recommend getting your hands on this game by any means necessary because you will not be disappointed. I do recommend, as advised by the developers Matthew and Lorien to play the latest DLC for Borderlands 2; Commander Lilith and the fight for Sanctuary. Apparently this DLC bridges a few gaps between the several years that occur during the two games.