What do you think when you hear the name "Borderlands"? Presumably of cel-shading graphics, the permanently chattering claptrap and of course a lot of hum. With "Borderlands 3" Developer Gearbox wants to finally put his shooter shooter series on the genre throne. If it works? We already played the game and tell you our first impressions!
I could make it easy now and write something like "'Borderlands 3' is like" Borderlands 2 "- only better". But that would not do justice to the crazy ball spectacle, because with Part 3, the makers have also turned to the last set screws of the predecessor and incorporated sensible improvements. I suspect: We are expecting a very bad time-eater here.
"Well, sweetie, do you have any plans for September 13 …?"
Humans are important! But not the most important thing …
A "Borderlands" without abstruse many weapons is simply unimaginable. The Gearbox Software and Publisher 2K know this as well and do not fail to point out "a billion buzz" each time, which you are supposed to find in the game. Sure, that's part of the series, but for me personally, "Borderlands 3" is something completely different: almost perfect accessibility and player friendliness. "Borderlands 3" wants to be played at any cost – and the developers have thought of just about anything to make it as easy and straightforward as possible.
- You like to play alone? Then play "Borderlands 3" solo.
- You want to shoot with your buddies online in the team of four? No thing, of course, goes.
- You're in the mood for a co-op, but can you relax with four of you on the sofa? 4-player split screen is included (in the console sockets).
But wait, what if you're way ahead of your friends and you're running around with a level 42 character while the others have just completed the tutorial? Again, this is no problem thanks to the brand new option of looting instantiation and level scaling. Meaning: Upon request, each player gets his own loot, which is tailored to his level.
The message is clear: In whatever combination – Thou shalt play "Borderlands 3"!
Otherwise this guy has to have a serious conversation with you.
Okay, but now: What about the weapons?
Once you have "Borderlands 3" on the hook, it will be damn hard to put the controller down again. And of course that's because of the weapons already mentioned. There is probably no other shooter series with so many completely different, bizarre and simply crazy characters. I mean, let's face it, the story of "Borderlands 3" may be so great – what we really want is to find any ultra-secret superweapon, right?
As you might expect, the developers have turned the controller up again. As usual, the brand of the manufacturer specifies the characteristics of the gunpowder, the available models range from the revolver over juicy shotguns to assault rifles and Sniper Rifles. Now you can turn on an alternative fire mode for each weapon. From single shots to make continuous fire or shoot with the shotgun suddenly mini rockets – this is now with just a push of a button.
Mad Wummen against wooly Wer-Biester. It wins: the player!
To experiment with the countless different weapon types is not only allowed, but explicitly desired. Fine move: Each weapon now has its own numerical weapon value. So if you find a new Wumme, this number tells you at a glance how high quality (or not) it is. However, this value is just that: a guideline. To finally decide if you should give her a chance, it's best to check out the exact features, such as the damage dealt, and give a few test shots.
Four wins! No wonder, with such skills …
In "Borderlands 3" four brand-new chamber hunters perform: Gunner Moze, Beastmaster FL4K, Operative Zane and the siren Amara. All four protagonists have three different action skills to choose from, which you unlock when you reach level 3, and only one of them can ever be active. The exception is Zane – who can even activate a second action skill if he does without grenades.
During my audition I decided on Amara and got to know her three special abilities: With the phase slam you crash out of air on the ground and injure surrounding enemies with a shockwave, the Phase-Cast fires an energy attack on your enemies and the phase Grasp immobilizes the rags for a few seconds. Of course, you can always switch between the activated skills, even in the middle of a fight – but unfortunately not with just the push of a button. Instead, you have to go to the menu every time. That's not terribly bad, but not as comfortable and comfortable as changing the fire modes of your weapons.
Goatee and Augenklappe leave no doubt: We are dealing here with a gross Badass!
Because customization is a big issue at Borderlands 3, you unlock additional augmentation and passive abilities for every action skill. So you can customize your favorite hunter to your personal baller preferences. And since you have even more options this time to personalize your figure visually, the identification with her should be even easier – in "Borderlands 3" you should really let off steam in this regard.
The space, endless spaces
So more weapons, more customization options, more to do – it would almost be a waste if "Borderlands 3" would lead us back to Pandora, right? That's what the developers thought as well, and this time we are flying across space. As a passenger of the spaceship Sanctuary 3 you explore new planets such as Promethea, the headquarters of the Atlas Corporation. I like the variance of the locales, even though I found the industrial-looking Promethea a little boring – more NPCs on the long-haul roads would have made my interstellar outing feel livelier.
Beastmaster FL4K hurls his tamed beasts on the opponents.
Speaking of Sanctuary 3: The space glider serves you not only as a means of transport, but also as a mobile base, which you – of course – can discreetly adapt to your wishes. In your private room, hang your favorite weapons to the wall, open up valuable gold boxes, dice with important minor characters like Moxxi or Sir Hammerlock, cover up with supplies, or get back looted weapons you've lost somewhere or just forgotten – extremely practical!
Conclusion: Almost too much of a good thing
Even this long text just scratches the surface of "Borderlands 3" – the third installment of the popular shooter series is Gearbox Software's most lavish project so far, you'll notice at every turn. Almost every criticism of the predecessor is now fixed, the operation runs fantastically fluid, the comical look is still a feast for the eyes and the typical series humor has brought me more than once to smile.
And of course, the iconic psychos must not be missing!
But, and we all know that, "Borderlands 3" will be a big timekeeper again. Even if the makers indicate the pure playing time with about 30 hours, there are of course not yet counted the numerous side quests and other bonus content. If you really want to see everything, complete every task and collect every legendary weapon, you should expect a mammoth task – and we do not want to talk about upcoming DLCs.
That's the only thing that makes me think: Will Borderlands 3 be too big? Will the game eat all my annual leave after its release on September 13th? Or should not I just start with it, because I'll never see the end?
Maybe I just need a cheatcode for more lifetime.