PAX West 2019 - Borderlands 3 Preview

PAX West 2019 - Borderlands 3 Preview

Even though Borderlands 3 comes out in less than two weeks, Gearbox and 2K wanted to show the fans that this hype train is on the rails, and it is running hard.

One of the best parts about Borderlands is that it's easy to jump into without needing to play all of its games. It's not like jumping right into Kingdom Hearts 3 where you'd be completely lost and confused. 

I played the new demo at PAX West. Here are some things you should know before hopping into Borderlands 3, so you're a little more informed going in:


Some Story Background

Long before events in any of the games took place, an ancient alien race, known as Eridians, flourished across the galaxy. Then, they mysteriously disappeared.

They left behind ruins and vaults containing untold riches (and threats). Their advanced technology was eventually discovered, which led powerful corporations to Pandora (a mostly desolate planet).

After years of corporations fighting for resources and exploiting their workers, they also took off, leaving the planet full of hostile factions trying to make Pandora their new home.

Let’s also quickly mention the Sirens because they're also very important to the story. Sirens are women infused with mystical powers in the Borderlands universe. Only six Sirens exist within the universe at a time.

While little is known about Sirens' history, it's speculated that they are connected to Eridians in some way. Their lore will be further explained in Borderlands 3.

bl3 sirens


First Impressions

Now that we have some background out of the way, let’s talk about the actual game.

This game is irrefutably Borderlands game. Fans can look forward to that wonderful sense of humor, the amazing and bountiful weaponry collection, and play mechanics we have loved for years. Some new, subtle, additions bring it kicking and screaming up to today’s standards.

The demo, however, kept us in Pandora in what looks like a church set up with giant speakers throughout the hallways. As you fight your way to the boss, Mouthpiece, the speakers go off as trap.

Also, they will give you the experience of learning to dodge them because, spoiler alert: the boss has a whole room full of them.

BL3 mouthpieceBorderlands


The Characters In Play

We were able to pick from all four of the new characters. Each feels different as night and day, and yet all seem familiar to you. Each have their own interesting, special abilities that you can customize to your play style both alone and when playing with friends. 

I played with Zane the Operative. Zane has a feel to him like The Technomancer from Borderlands 2 because he can send an autonomous, heavily-armed drone to take out designated targets. He can also throw down a time-limited shield from bullets.

Another option of Zane's abilities is to create a clone of himself that can fire at enemies and draw their shots while you sneak around to their flank. Zane is unique from the other characters because he can have two abilities active in his load-out at the same time.

bl3 Zane Borderlands

The other three characters are Fl4k, Moze, and Amara the Siren.

Fl4k (who will most likely be the most played), the robotic vault hunter, comes with a choice of three different pets. They are all different in certain ways, and they can be hot-swapped throughout the game. They are AI-controlled, will attack enemies in unique ways, and can also be ordered to perform specific powers themselves.

Then, of course, there is Moze. She can call in a big mech. This exosuit that will give you extra protection and glorious firepower. The mech itself will also be customizable through the skill tree. One of the best parts of Moze’s mech is that another player can climb into the turret on top and mow down enemies.

By just tweaking your skill trees, you can create a character that suits you perfectly, and from our experience, helps you get immersed in the game quickly.

If you're a numbers person and like to see all the percentages climb as you level up your character, you can do that. Maybe you're in it for whatever sounds fun. Either way, you're bound to find what works for you.

bl3 charactersBorderlands

Overall Experience

I had a lot of fun playing the demo for Borderlands 3. The game seems to be well executed. The graphics look amazing and yet familiar for fans. The gameplay is smooth. And there's an exuberant amount of loot.

Borderlands 3 somehow manages to take everything that made its predecessors spectacular and amp it up. The little tweaks and additions are carefully deliberate. For example, adding the running slide came in handy while playing. 

The lifeblood that makes up Borderlands 3, its tongue-in-cheek humor, wasn’t lost at all. As fans, we know it walks the line between dark satire and utter silliness with its self-deprecating jokes and burger launchers.

This may not work in many games and could easily grow old, but that's not the case with Borderlands. I found it funnier than ever.

BL3 ClaptrapBorderlands

I can't wait to play the full release, to see what's beyond the point where the demo stopped. Thankfully, that won't be long.

Borderlands 3 will be released on September 13, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with a Google Stadia version touted for later down the line.

Are you excited for the third installment of Borderlands?

Tell us in the comment section below!


Top photo via Borderlands

This article was written by John D. (AKA SomeBeardy2Love). John has been gaming for 30 years, has a bowtie tattoo, and watches nothing but Bob’s Burgers. He co-hosts a mostly weekly podcast and has a sponsored beard.