Borderlands into new territory: Comical, colourful characters, scrambling for power

Borderlands into new territory: Comical, colourful characters, scrambling for power

Comical, colourful characters, fighting over borders, while scrambling for power.

No, it’s not Brexit, it’s ‘Borderlands 3,’ the long-awaited second sequel to the original co-op looter shooter.

But these borders are designed to bring people together.

Like Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, ‘Borderlands’ doesn’t need much of an introduction — you’ll likely hear it coming. It’s loud, aggressive and distracting, but far more charming than our global leaders.

Playing in a team of four (although you can play in smaller teams and solo, too), the goal of ‘Borderlands 3’ is simple: explore a wacky, dystopian wasteland, collect fantastic weapons, and shoot mindless enemies.

That summarises a number of games, but few do it so well as ‘Borderlands 3.’ This time around, the balance between classes, weapons, and locales appears better than ever.

You can play as Amara, a magic-based fighter; Moze, with a focus on vehicles and gunnery; Zane, a stealthy all-rounder, and FL4K, who can summon pets (very dangerous pets).

That selection of characters, which is certain to grow as downloadable content is added to the game, is refreshing.

We’ve become so accustomed to standard tanks, healers, and ranged characters that seeing four unique play-types out of the box is an immediate statement by Gearbox.

They’re catering to their own universe, rather than our own. Another nice touch will be the ability to customise your choice by renaming the character and modifying the colours and accessories.

Further down the line, we imagine cosmetics will become a big line of business for ‘Borderlands,’ but so long as pay-to-win stays out and cosmetics are earnable in-game, that’s probably a fair price for longevity.

‘Borderlands 3’ isn’t larger in scope than the previous games, but has a lot more variety in environment and weapon types. As you explore, you’ll need to seek out every nook and cranny for sidequests for special loot and the experience required to take on story missions and bosses.

In previous games, it could get tedious, grinding a smaller mission, but that’s always the case with RPGs of any kind.

Finally, while the original ‘Borderlands’ was plenty of fun in solo play, subsequent games have become less so. ‘Borderlands 3’ aims to fix that by making skill trees and loadouts more customisable — and, more importantly, by making online games level-neutral.

In other words, enemies and loot will scale to your level individually online, meaning you can play with people of different levels without affecting your respective challenges and rewards.

Overall, ‘Borderlands 3’ looks to improve on a well-established formula and is likely to be a guaranteed hit for fans of looter-shooters. Use it to escape real-world borderland issues, when it is released on Friday.

‘BLASPHEMOUS’ A GUILTY PLEASURE

It would be heresy to suggest that metroidvanias are too plentiful these days, so, instead, we’ll be ‘Blasphemous.’

This latest addition to the side-scrolling, non-linear platformer is a really weird, but compelling game. Yes, it may be another stick on the pyre of platformers we’ve played in recent years, but the flames burn as brightly as ever.

In ‘Blasphemous,’ you play a guy called The Penitent One, who levels up through Tears of Atonement, drinks bile flasks to heal, and goes to a Confessor to remove his guilt.

No, this isn’t a simulation of rural Ireland in the 1940s, but, instead, a beautifully designed, hack-and-slash platformer that takes cues from ‘Dark Souls’ (in its mood) and ‘Castlevania’ (what else?) in its structure.

‘Blasphemous’ doesn’t do anything new with its combat or gameplay, but the lore of the world and the secrets are a real treat to behold, if they get their hooks into you.

A real, guilty pleasure.

RESIDENT EVIL ‘SEQUEL’

Finally, Capcom might also feel a little guilty for teasing a new ‘Resident Evil’ game — and then revealing a multi-player title at the Tokyo Game Show.

Called ‘Project Resistance,’ the game is officially a Resident Evil entry, but geared towards online play and not a main entry in the series.

From the trailer and information released at the show, it looks very much like a ‘Left 4 Dead’-inspired experience, which is certainly not a bad thing.

It shows four players working together against enemies, including the popular Tyrant’ from the ‘Resident Evil 2’ remake. While there’s no release date yet, a beta will take place in Japan in October. We’re tentatively excited.

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