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Borderlands 3 gunplay feels as good as ever, based on a demo I played at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), one of gaming’s most important trade shows.

Of course, I had pretty much forgotten what it was like. Borderlands 2 shipped in 2012, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel came out in 2014. But it’s been a long wait for fans who have bought 43 million copies of games in this series. But the new game will finally ship on September 13 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.

This level starts with a one-man assault on Ascension Bluffs. In my first playthrough, I fell off the bluff. And then I remembered the next time around that I should not keep running backward while fighting. After that, I kept switching between my assault gun and my shotgun. Occasionally, I pulled out my knife.

Don't mess with Lilith.

Above: Don’t mess with Lilith.

Image Credit: Gearbox Software

It was quite satisfying. But it reminded me that you sure have to pump a lot of bullets into some of these enemies before you bring them down. Or maybe you have to be a little better at shooting them in the head than I was.


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It took so many bullets to bring some of them down that it became clear to me that I had to get close to cover and take them on one or two at a time. The chatter reminded me of some of the wacko characters of Rage 2, which I just finished. And the combat was familiar. Shoot. Grab loot. Shoot again.

I was able to get about halfway through the level before I had to leave. GamesBeat’s Giancarlo Valdes made it all the way through, but I haven’t been able to upload his video, sadly.

Borderlands 3 is ambitious. The team switched engines and made the graphics better. Borderlands 2 was built on Unreal Engine 3, with heavy modifications by the Borderlands team. Borderlands 3 is being built on Unreal Engine 4. They worked on improving combat and co-op play. And they created a couple of new villains with the Calypso Twins.

Check out my gamplay session in the embedded video. And check out our interview with creative director Paul Sage and our interview with Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive.

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