Borderlands 3 E3 Preview: Bigger, Badder, Crazier

by David Sanchez June 15, 2019 @ 9:04 am

I never expected, nor did I need, a new Borderlands game to attempt to revolutionize the franchise. I just wanted one of my favorite shooter series to deliver everything I love about it in a tighter, more refined package. Also, it needs to make with the funny. After spending 15 minutes with Borderlands 3 at this year’s E3, I can say I’m stoked about the game’s future as it feels right on track to deliver everything fans know and love about Borderlands with the proper quality-of-life enhancements necessary in a loot shooter in 2019.


While Borderlands 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s obvious that Gearbox Software is working on making this a top tier FPS RPG. That’s most evident in the game’s shooting mechanics, which feel the tightest they’ve ever been. I’ve always loved the Borderlands games because of the sheer fun they offer, but compared to something like Destiny or Titanfall, the shooting has always been a bit floaty. That’s not the case in Borderlands 3, which features precise aiming controls and a noticeably heftier weight to the guns.

Shooting aside, character movement is also more fluid. On top of that, you can now slide when you hit the crouch button while sprinting, as well as climb up ledges. These are minor additions, but they’ll afford you a new level of mobility on the maps during crazy gun fights, allowing for all new strategies to be employed when you’re taking on a dozen psychos.

I was surrounded by I-don’t-know-how-many enemies at multiple points during the demo, but the accuracy of the guns and the increased mobility ensured that I was a difficult target to hit. I ran behind cover, crept around psychotic villains, and blasted fools left and right. It was that familiar brand of Borderlands pandemonium cranked all the way up, and it felt better than ever!

You burn through tons of ammo in Borderlands 3. Thankfully, there are guns everywhere. I started out with an SMG and assault rifle, but I then traded those out for a shotgun and rail gun. The rail gun was especially satisfying to use as it had a buildup before it unleashed its full fury — think the Devotion in Apex Legends, only way more accurate.

The Gunner Ain’t No Joke!

I played as the Gunner class during my time with the demo. Moze is pretty badass, and she can summon a big ol’ mech to hop into and wreak all kinds of havoc and destruction. The mech, adorably named Iron Bear, shoots heavy firepower that will destroy weaker enemies and makes you force to be reckoned with.

I deployed Iron Bear during the boss battle at the end of the demo. This evened out the playing field nicely, and I was able to go head-to-head against the big bad in his grungy, grimy underground discotheque. When the boss wasn’t shooting at me, he was making his giant speakers and light-up floor panels release powerful blasts in my direction. This forced me to constantly be on the move while getting in shots with either Iron Bear’s guns or the rail gun I snagged earlier.

The boss encounter wasn’t overly difficult — I died once — but it was a lot of fun, and it kept me guessing what the baddie’s next big move would be.

Bigger, Bolder, Brighter, Sharper

I’ve always loved the comic book aesthetic of Borderlands, and Borderlands 3 remains faithful to that look while offering an even cooler-looking experience. Current tech is clearly being used to about as close as we can get to its full potential. Yes, The Handsome Collection looked nice, but Borderlands 3 is a brand new game built from the ground up in 2019, so it had to look even better, and it does.

If you’re a fan of the series, you’re probably already stoked about the next entry in Gearbox’s shoot-n-loot series. I know I was. Taking into consideration the tiny chunk of the game I’ve played, I’m somehow even more hyped. That’s because in the little time I got to enjoy the upcoming adventure, all of my hopes were reaffirmed and my concerns were shut down. It looks like Borderlands 3 is going to be a wild ride when it launches, so grab some friends and prepare for mayhem, madness, and, well, this is Borderlands, so comedy, too.

Borderlands 3 is due out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and on Stadia when that platform launches. September 13 couldn’t come soon enough!

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