3 Thoughts From Borderlands 3

With a wild E3 schedule we all tackled Borderlands 3 at different times. Here’s three different takes on the Borderlands 3 demo experience in LA.

John, Nathan, and Thomas are 3 of the co-hosts on the Splash Damage Bros. Podcast, despite how they argue, they are actually real life good friends. They can be found on twitter @splashdamagebro @thenatejc @john_lipari and @tbuzzworthy

The booth design was made to grab attention from across the entire convention hall, and it did.


The BL3 set up at E3 this year was one of the highlights for the venue. The gigantic screens and statues that filled the showroom floor greeted attendees as they entered through the double doors, setting the tone for the event. Take-Two made a huge statement about their confidence in BL3 with their presence and, after getting my hands on it, I can see why. BL3 isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel; it features many of the fan favorite elements found in previous installments. The humor, gunplay, and tone are all excellent, giving players the opportunity to kick ass and laugh while doing it.

The real game changer is a robust new social system designed to help players share their BL3 experience with each other as seamlessly as possible. This includes being able to easily jump in and out of Co-Op gameplay no matter the level difference between players as well the ability to send and receive loot! BL3 looks to build and expand on what had made the series so successful already and I can’t wait.

Psycho is a religion


In a surprise to no one ever, Fortnite came to E3 and wanted to make their booth area a literal party. There were dancers, live events, and all sorts of lights, sounds, and lasers. It was such a constant party the Fortnite area even had its own schedule of events.

Borderlands 3 was set up right next door and if any booth experience came close to Fortnite it was certainly BL3. The artwork in and around the booth actually surpassed Fortnite in my opinion. The queue was kept high-energy and BL3 booth reps were constantly rounding the area making sure everyone was hype as possible. They fit the booth atmosphere with the game perfectly. The game is a party, the booth was a party.

During the demo one of the points pushed by Gearbox was that they wanted to “gently encourage online play without shoving it in players faces.” That’s a great line to walk if you can find it. The weapon gifting mechanic John mentioned is a great example of this initiative. Any gamer can put a weapon they no longer want into a vending machine and gift it to anyone. It’s a simple little nudge to remind players that there’s an online world if and when they want it. The fact is, the BL series still has a massive amount of offline gamers, and Gearbox wants to invite them online without making them feel coerced.

Even downtown LA was feeling the BL3 hype.

But the REAL HYPE of the entire demo was the new character Moze. She’s the soldier class of the game and she’s gonna steal the hearts and souls of anyone who comes near BL3. Moze has a giant mech that she “digistructs” and can then hop into. The mech can be highly customized and a co-op player can even hop on the top and control a turret. It’s wild fun.

With Moze I would say I got to shift to mech mode every few minutes, and her mech lasts probably around 2 minutes. I’m sure this is modified as you advance.

The Iron Bear mech can be outfitted with huge melee fists, or just extra guns. In fact the skill tree can be mixed and matched and players aren’t locked into one path once they go down it.

After playing the demo I did walk away hoping that more of the player base will eventually jump online. This game reaches another level of enjoyment when you’re running and gunning with friends. I can’t wait to play the full release. COLLIER OUT.

The demo bay itself.


Confession time: I have never really played Borderlands. I was gifted Borderlands several years back and enjoyed it for 5 hours before moving on to something else. Bouncing off of games isn’t uncommon for me. Even more common is saying I will get back to them never to return. That was the story around Borderlands for me.

Having a proclivity towards single player experiences, the idea of Borderlands never clicked. Then, when looter shooters took off shortly thereafter with games like Destiny and The Division, I decided that whole genre wasn’t for me. Why play a continual grind when I can enjoy some great single player stories? 

My ability to oversimplify is strong, and over the years recognized my error, coming to appreciate the looter shooter. I still don’t play them much, but with more robust story telling maturing with the game mechanics, I can see myself jumping in.

I was thinking Borderlands might have matured a great deal since 2009 too, so when the opportunity came to check it out at E3, I dove in. I was expecting a fun FPS with some interesting mechanics and a lively comic book aesthetic. What I found was game full of confidence in everything. Gunplay, character design, encounter design, and sound design all impressed.

Borderlands 3 is thoughtful in its gameplay, moment to moment progression. The encounter I played was attacking a hideout in a full frontal assault. Enemies mixed things up, some staying behind cover and others rushing me as I approached. I found myself having to think with both sides of my FPS brain; my years of DOOM and Call of Duty both came in handy. 
The weird sounds of enemies and the technologically, rummaged together environs of the apocalyptic landscape gave uniqueness to the sound design too. This is a loud game, both in its sound and aesthetic. I found myself connecting with the player character, trying to keep my wits about me as my opponents threw everything they had at me. Of particular note was the boss. In an arena surrounded by floor to ceiling speakers that send out shockwaves, the level of quick thinking and moving required to best my opponent invigorated to no end. 

If this was what they showed off, I can only imagine the surprises they have in store! Borderlands 3 will be here before we know it, and based on what I played, it’s going to make a big splash, sending out ripples for quite some time. 

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