Loot shooters have modified lots since Borderlands first launched us to the thought of working round a battlefield like a trigger-happy magpie. The likes of Destiny and The Division have taken the straightforward act of robbing a corpse blind and added new layers of complexity, gear and painstakingly micro-managed weapon mods.
In this courageous new world of brokers, engrams and unlockable emotes, you may effectively ask whether or not the tried and examined Borderlands system can actually seize gamers’ imaginations with out being considerably reworked. To put it one other approach, will Borderlands 3 stick with its personal format or will it cannibalise its newer contemporaries with the intention to match a modified panorama?
This was the primary query on my thoughts as I sat down for a 90-minute chunk of hands-on time at a preview occasion in Los Angeles, and I can confidently say that Borderlands hasn’t moved an inch – in a great way.
Instead of chasing after Destiny, Borderlands 3 has resolutely doubled down on its open-world, quest-based format in an try and remind you what made it good within the first place, and it completely works. Instead of introducing all-new mechanics or transforming its gear system, it is apparent that Gearbox has thrown nearly all of its efforts behind tightening up the fight. Mantling and an Apex Legends-style bum slide have made nipping across the battlefield really feel extra fluid and attention-grabbing, whereas the weapons themselves give an amazing sense of suggestions and sound completely sensible.
Player characters now have three class expertise to unlock versus one, providing far larger selection by way of character construct – though it’s a must to decide one ability to equip from the stock menu. Operative Zane, for instance, can throw down a protect, ship out a drone to assault close by enemies or ping out a decoy of himself as a approach of drawing fireplace. He also can swap locations with that decoy, organising some good alternatives for a flank or getting you out of hurt’s approach in a pinch. Zane is exclusive in that he can have two expertise geared up quite than the same old one (although selecting to play this manner means you may’t use grenades), and the sense of versatility is absolutely compelling.
The recreation’s weapons have additionally been reworked, with alternate fireplace modes now part of the sport’s signature procedural weapon era. You may stumble throughout a rifle with a grenade launcher connected, for instance, otherwise you may end up wielding a gun with auto-homing bullets, successfully the online game model of that gun from The Fifth Element.
If there are any concessions to different loot shooters in Borderlands 3, these come within the type of easy high quality of life enhancements quite than a large overhaul. The recreation’s loot now cases individually for every participant, stopping others from pinching gear from underneath your nostril. There’s a misplaced and located bin again at Sanctuary (your property base in Borderlands, which takes the type of a large spaceship this time spherical) for any loot you failed to choose up within the area, which means you will by no means miss a gear drop. Nothing groundbreaking to say the least, however a positive signal Gearbox has been watching its rivals and taking notes.
With that in thoughts, it is heartening to see that Borderlands 3 has caught so resolutely to the issues that made the franchise nice within the first place, and that the system has, certainly, stood the take a look at of time. When the presentation first began – displaying us the tutorial, which was barely weird – I discovered Claptrap so intensely irritating I puzzled whether or not Borderlands’ ersatz model of in-your-face, obnoxious wholesomeness may lastly have performed itself out. Playing the sport for myself, nonetheless, I discovered that there is nonetheless loads of appeal to the bizarre and deliberately edgy characters. Going on a espresso run for sweary new NPC Lorelei ought to have felt like a drained clich – you spend a lot of the mission coping with a painfully pretentious hipster robotic, digital handlebar moustache and all – however the writing and voice appearing managed to make even this well-worn comedic floor enjoyable and attention-grabbing.
To say that Borderlands 3’s format hasn’t modified a bit will not be, nonetheless, to say that it lacks ambition. Indeed, whereas I solely bought to play a small chunk, I used to be left with the impression that it may be a fairly sizeable recreation. For the primary time within the collection’ historical past, the motion is not confined to only one planet – piloting Sanctuary round, you will bounce between a number of completely different worlds; there is no phrase on precisely what number of simply but, however from the temporary trailer we noticed on the finish of the presentation, it seems to be like there will be no scarcity of environments to discover.
Borderlands 3 seems to be to be in impolite well being, then, regardless of – or presumably due to – the very fact it is outright refused to maneuver with the occasions. It performs effectively, it seems to be nice, and if its unashamed sameness is an try and remind one how good the collection was to start with, it is labored.
Oh, however emotes are coming to Borderlands 3. Maybe there’s room for a little bit change in spite of everything.
This article is predicated on a preview occasion in Los Angeles. 2K paid for flights and lodging.