2K and Gearbox had a fun booth at E3 this year, going all in with Borderlands 3. There were statues of several key characters, cool swag for fans, and best yet, a chance to play the game before its September release date. During the reveal, Gearbox took the opportunity to showcase two playable characters: Zane the Operative and Amara the Siren. At E3, Gearbox formally introduced Moze, the Gunner of Borderlands 3.
Taking Moze for a spin myself, I dove into the mission for the E3 demo. A cultist hideout run by a raver going by Mouthpiece was about to get a rude awakening. The main antagonists, the Calypso twins, are leaders of the Children of the Vault. With such a large following, there are sure to be various psychos and fanatics to blow up. This mission is no different, moving through the front entrance of the hideout, regardless of the many guards.
Moze being the Gunner class, she’s equipped to go in guns blazing for this very situation. The demo starts us out with some skill points, and with that, I immediately specced out by Iron Bear. With three skill trees to choose from, players will have a lot of freedom to customize their character. With Moze especially, they can equip two skill trees to her mech at a time. This is pretty valuable, giving players a lot to work with when they want to get technical. The Demolition skill tree focuses on rockets and grenade attacks, the Shield of Retribution emphasizes on punches and grabs, not to mention a sweet railgun, and the Bottomless Mags skill tree prioritizes miniguns and flamethrowers.
Being able to equip two different skill trees is pretty awesome, so I ended up using both Demolition and Bottomless Mags for maximum firepower. Granted, this is primarily only effective when the Iron Bear is called out, Moze’s special ability. Like in previous Borderlands games, this runs on a cooldown and should be used when players are in a real pinch. The Iron Bear mech is pretty powerful, able to launch grenades, tank damage, and most importantly, eliminate the opposition. Of course, the more you do, the sooner the mech goes away, so players shouldn’t rely on it too much.
Overall gunplay in Borderlands 3 is as tight as ever, giving players plenty of guns to work with. Environmental hazards are still useful, giving poison, fire, ice, or even electric damage to enemies too close to a special barrel. Auto-turrets will need to be taken out quickly, as they’re one of the more dangerous obstacles. Players need to be careful too, as Tinks can run in an fix the turrets, so it’s best to take them out quickly too. Working through waves of enemies, I finally made my way to the hideout and entered.
Inside, there were plenty of chests, lockers, and cans to loot for cash. Enemies inside don’t seem as aware of your presence, so it allows players to get a few free shots in. That isn’t to say the hideout isn’t fortified. Mouthpiece seems to be a fan of loud music, so there are several rooms with a giant subwoofer set to go off. These giant speakers will damage your shields, and I couldn’t find an easy way to avoid them. Either way, they were a minor inconvenience as I worked through more enemies, finally making it to the boss.
Mouthpiece will be seen playing a pipe organ before pulling up a shield and challenging the player. The room is filled with more of those powerful speakers, though luckily they’re easier to avoid. Mouthpiece himself isn’t too much of a problem, as he just takes a lot of damage to defeat. It’s really just avoiding the little minions that come up to attack and staying out of the range of the speakers. Luckily, there are several healing items scattered throughout the room. Even if you end up getting taken down, the second wind option is still there to bring you back in a pinch. Defeating Mouthpiece ends the demo, taking roughly 15 minutes to finish.
Playing the same demo, our writer Daniel Ladiano also had a chance to try out Amara, the Siren. Here’s what he had to say about her specific abilities. “Playing with Amara was a unique experience. Unlike previous Siren characters that often focus on gunplay, Amara is mainly a brawler. One of the trailers showcased her summoning constructs of multiple hands to bash opponents with. Unfortunately, while I didn’t have a chance to try said ability, there was one available in the demo. Amara can summon a sphere from the ground that traps the enemy in a zero gravity void. This allows them to be safely dispatched without any interference.”
Overall, we both had fun with our Borderlands 3 demo. So much so that it was nominated as one of our “Best of E3 2019” games. I think Moze is a lot of fun to play as and she may be my top pick for when the game launches. I really can’t wait to play the multiplayer as well. New social features like bounty sharing and buying friend weapons will make for a more interesting experience. Gearbox is shaping Borderlands 3 up to be their best game yet, and our E3 demo seems to back that up. Borderlands 3 will be available on September 13th, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia.