Borderlands 3 Spoiler review

Finally, I have finished Borderlands 3. By finished, I mean completed all the main story missions and rolled credits. It honestly felt like a weight off my shoulders, right before the release of Ghost Recon. Now that it’s out of the way I can just focus on being incredibly excited to see Joker this weekend. I am going to go into the spoiler for the end of the game now so if you’ve not got there yet, don’t read on unless you don’t care for spoilers. To be honest, there isn’t much worth spoiling. 

Borderlands 3 ends how it starts, with loads of shooting.  The final battles and final levels are all just jump and shoot bullet sponge bosses, which is ordinarily fine, but being outshone by other bosses earlier in the game isn’t a great look for Tyreen and Troy Calypso. The twins who have been one step ahead of you and the Crimson Raiders all game finally confront you, but don’t use any of the powers we have seen them display through the games story cut scenes up to this point, its flabbergasting.

Finally found a reason to use the word flabbergasting.

Troy Calypso has become a powerful Siren in his own right and has been using an ability called “Phaselock” on an entire Moon to pull it towards a planet. Does he use this Phase lock on you, the one who has wiped out thousands of his minions and is now clearly the only obstacle in his way? of course not. It’s not even acknowledged as something he could do in the final battle with him.

Tyreen spends the game leeching peoples life away with ease, even stripping Crimson Raiders leader Lilith of her powers. You fight her and she has essentially become a god we are told. Well tell that to my machine gun. She is the final fight in the story mode, and it’s one of the easiest fights in the game, perhaps surpassed only by Troy. I didn’t come close to dying in either fight and all they involved was jumping over some sweeping attacks and running in circles and shooting them.

Perhaps I had overpowered weapons and a higher-level character? Well according to the game I was levels below both Troy and Tyreen, and my guns even lower than that. The guns are the only reason it was slightly enjoyable to play through, as I was continuously throwing my Tediore submachine guns around, so I had a mini army of turrets. The range of guns really is this game saving grace.

I must point out that I didn’t want to be pummelled Dark souls’ style in Borderlands 3, I just wanted to see something a bit different for the final few fights. There is a Vault monster earlier in the game where the attacks it has are wildly varied, and then it affects the actual battle area you are fighting in and you have to think about what you are doing and where you are positioned, as well as pumping him full of bullets, and fighting off minions. It’s a challengingly fun boss fight, and me and a mate played it and really enjoyed it. That high bar is never touched again, and it is a more intimidating presence than the “Destroyer” that is spoken about and then revealed at the end.

Mechanics aside, the story is quite good, and I found it entertaining and its attempts at an emotional twist at the end are well done. I am not entirely sure what or how Lilith does what she does, but it certainly looks cool. Borderlands has set up Siren’s to be this bad ass thing, but I have no idea what their powers are supposed to be. They all seem to be capable of whatever the story requires of them. The main issue I have with the story in Borderlands 3 is that the character you play as, the one doing all the work, is completely unimportant to the story. You’re referred to as Vault Hunter all game, not by the name of the character you chose, and you’re not in any of the cut scenes.

It’s so odd, you spend 20 minutes fighting a boss battle, only for your guy to be completely ignored in the scenes. Quite what the point in all the customisation was is beyond me, as you only ever see your character when you perform an Emote or get into a vehicle. I played as Zane, and early game I felt like there was a connection brewing between Zane and Ava, a parent daughter type thing, and perhaps that was intended. The final missions she comes along and maybe that was supposed to pay off there, but due to Zane being missing from every cut scene. I felt sort of detached from the main story. Sure, Tyreen and Troy did some awful stuff, but no character has ever shared a scene with my green haired bad ass, so why do I care. It feels like I was playing as a mercenary whose job was to do the shooting for Lilith.

I feel like I am being harsh on a game I did enjoy playing, but it’s because the potential for this game is sky high. Better writing more intelligently set up boss fights with some challenging mechanics in there and including your character in the story would have made this a 10/10 game of the year contender. As it is, it’s a solid game, and a good return to a really fun universe. I hope the next borderlands game takes what 3 has achieved and really builds on it. Perhaps giving us the chance to make a completely new character and make them have whatever abilities we choose. It would be something new, and the range of characters we already have is certainly one I want to see more of.

That’s it for Borderlands 3 for me, and therefore this will probably be the last post about the game for a while. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it!

‘Til tomorrow.

ChAzJS

 

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Comedians in armchairs and am I ruining Games for myself?

Comedians are great. They are people who have dedicated themselves to making people laugh. There aren’t many other professions where the key function is to make people feel great. There is also a huge range of comedians from the relatively wholesome Russell Howard to the dark humour of a Jimmy Carr or the one liners of Tim Vine.

Last night I went to a show in Southend performed by Rob Brydon, Lee Mack and David Mitchell. The trio have been taking the piss out of each other for years on Would I Lie to You? and I have watched countless hours of that show so to see them all together was a laugh. The format of the show is unusual, half a quiz with audience interaction, and then bringing the audience in even more in the second half. It’s a couple of hours of laughter and a strange insight into people’s thoughts on Southend in general.

The trio’s chemistry has been built over years on a show and they all bring their own comedic style to the show. Rob Brydon is the “Host” of sorts, and his showmanship suits that perfectly. David Mitchell and Lee Mack are middle class chalk and working-class cheese and they both play into the stereotypes they’re known for from the TV show. Essentially the show is all set up for the three of them to just show off their comedic skills, and it is a great vehicle for them. The speed they come up with jokes is impressive and with the audience I was in, they were not given the best material to work with. Drug Dealers, dating problems, Wedding cake and Dead cats all came up and none of those are particularly funny situations.

It reminded me a lot of several of the podcasts I listen to, like the Kinda Funny Podcast or Collider Live, where the bulk of the show is the interaction between the people on the podcast and the funny stories and conversations that come from that. The live stage show aspect allows Brydon Mack and Mitchell to include the audience a lot more, although email questions are used, and I know a lot of podcasts use that or twitter for audience interaction. I am hoping when I open my podcast app on my way to work soon, I will be able to find the three of them in podcast form as they have the kind of chemistry that serves that medium well.

Sunday Night Comedy aside, I finally picked up Borderlands 3 again yesterday after a weekend of FIFA and a week of not playing Borderlands. The game is in an odd place for me. Whenever I am playing it, I enjoy it a lot. The loot cycle is as satisfying as any I have played and the gun play is superb, but it doesn’t have me clamouring for more. It is suffering from the same problem The Division 2 gave me, and that doesn’t bode well.

The Division 2 is another game I thoroughly enjoy playing. Again, it does everything right when you’re fighting through the streets of Washington DC, and yet I haven’t had any desire to carry on. I played it solidly for a good 2 weeks in between work and other commitments and got quite a way through the main story. With the division, the story is almost unimportant, you’re in DC, here is a load of bad guys, go shoot them. It flirts with trying to present some motivations for the characters but there isn’t a single character I could name from the games world which is a bit of a damnation of the story in the game.

Borderlands 3 has a more interesting story, but for some reason I just don’t have the motivation to carry on. I will play it a little this week after work, and maybe even on Sunday again in a hungover state after the wedding of one of my best friends, but then Ghost Recon will be ready to go, and I can’t see Borderlands outlasting that.

I was so ready to dive into both The Division 2 and Borderlands 3 when they were releasing, that perhaps I over hyped the games without realising. I was convinced I would be all into smash borderlands continuously, and it didn’t happen. I listened to countless Division 2 previews and knew how I wanted to build my character before I even downloaded the game, but I never finished the main story.

Perhaps it is all my own doing, and I am setting the bar too high and the games are falling below it. Ghost Recon Wildlands was a worse game than both the games I have mentioned in this, and I played it to completion and unlocked nearly every gun and attachment in the game. It was a surprise to me though, I went in knowing nothing about the game and I think that added intrigue about what might be around the corner is what kept me coming back.

The hunger I have for information about games, movies, and TV shows has ruined a lot of surprises for me over the years – for example I knew Han Solo was dying in The Force Awakens long before the film’s release – but I can’t help myself. A huge part of the enjoyment of Marvel and Star Wars films for me is the anticipation. The guessing of what might happen. That translates to games in the form of knowing how the gameplay works before I have touched the game. I normally avoid story spoilers but quite frankly most video games have shoddy stories, especially the first-person shooter genre.

Maybe I will avoid all Ghost Recon Breakpoint previews and see if that game can get its hooks into me. It does have John Bernthal, so it’s got that going for it. I want to be able to say I beat the Punisher in a gunfight, so I guess I am already signed up to go all the way through the game.

I will put up my FIFA 20 full review tomorrow, I have played a lot of it and it’s really confusing. Until then, thanks for reading!

ChAzJS

 

 

The Autumn Video Game Budget

Borderlands 3 signalled the beginning of the period that hurts all gamers wallets. For some reason this 3-month run up to Christmas is when the decision makers at the big companies decide to release every game that people have been looking forward to. I get it, Christmas is coming, but surely some of them should have brought their releases forward or delayed them into 2020 to avoid the overload. 

Without using google, I can list off PES 2020, Borderlands 2, FIFA 20, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Destiny 2’s newest expansion Shadowkeep which is like a new game, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, The Outer Worlds, Death Stranding and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. If we optimistically say £50 per game, that’s £450 to keep up with the conversation and that’s assuming I haven’t missed any games.

Okay now I have googled it and I missed the new Pokémon and Doom Eternal. They round it off to a cool £550. So, there is ELEVEN games potentially fighting it out for your Christmas list just of the ones I would have any interest playing. If you want to keep up when you’ll need to have a fair amount of disposable income to do so, and that is without looking at all the types of games I wouldn’t play like 2D platformers and puzzle games.

I understand the need for Sports games to be released at the start of new seasons in their respective sports, so PES and FIFA, NHL and Madden all kind of have their set release windows and that’s just how it has always been. Those games sell millions and always will because they have people invested so deeply in them. Games such as Call of Duty or Ghost Recon though, make less sense to me.

Ghost Recon seems set to be one of the losers in this fight. The last game was a game I thoroughly enjoyed, and I am excited for the next one, but there is so much competition around at the time. For me, it means Destiny 2’s expansion will be put off until the Christmas break and I will probably not go for one or the other between Outer Worlds and Call of Duty. In general, though, Ghost Recon isn’t nearly as popular as a title like Call of Duty or Borderlands and doesn’t have the curiosity around it that a game like The Outer Worlds has going for it.

Surely releasing it back in august, when there was a huge gap for a meaty game like Ghost Recon to fill would have been a better move from a business sense and got more people interested in playing it. As it is the over saturation of the industry in the autumn months will probably mean the game gets cannibalised by its competition.

A similar thing happened a few years ago to a Tomb Raider game, which was a single player story driven action adventure game that released one week after Spiderman on the PS4. The result was that I didn’t pick it up until it was on the game pass on Xbox, meaning they missed out on the money I would have happily paid if they had released at a less busy time.

I know this post won’t change anything, but I would love to see these big games show a bit more common sense and move out of the way of each other rather than fight it out.

It’s a slow news day and last night I just carried on with Borderlands 3. I posted my review yesterday, but I am trying to convince myself to finish the entire game. That’s never a good sign, but I am now at that point where I am having to convince myself to boot it up. It’s not because it’s a bad game, it just hasn’t grabbed my attention the way some games do.

It’s only 10 days now until FIFA 19 releases, and the inevitable time vortex that game is for me will mean a load of FIFA related posts. As it is, I am avoiding that type of football because Arsenal persist with playing out from the back despite it clearly not working, and now I am a full time NFL fan.

So, if anyone ask’s how my team did at the weekend, they won 43-0 against the Miami Dolphins.

ChAzJS

 

Borderlands 3 Review

The wait for Borderlands 3 has been a long one. It’s been seven years since Borderlands 2 really popularised the looter shooter genre, and in that time, we have seen several games take a similar model and be successful. The main one that comes to mind is Destiny 2, a game I really enjoy and think has perfected that addictive cycle of wanting to keep playing to get that next weapon. 

One key difference between Borderlands 3 and Destiny 2, is that the multiplayer isn’t as prominent. The multiplayer side of Borderlands now is a bit laggy and I prefer playing solo which is unusual. I have played a couple of hours in some mate’s games, but my own campaign has been entirely solo. I have just beaten the first Vault, so I am not 100% through yet, but I’ve certainly played enough to know what this game is all about.

The story is driven by antagonist The Calypso Twins, a pair of powerful siblings who are using a twitch like streaming platform to gain followers to join their cause and fight for them. That gives them an army of varied types to blast away with the plethora of guns in the game as you, the Vault Hunter, are tasked with beating them to the vaults. The game brings back several old characters from previous games, all the main characters from Borderlands 1 and 2 are on the cover and there’s characters from side games like the Pre-sequel and even TellTale’s “Tales from the Borderlands” game which is a nice touch and brings everything together.

I won’t go into the story any more than that, but so far, it’s a fine story, and that is all it is. The twins are fun villains but they’re missing the magic that Handsome Jack brought with him. It’s a tough bar to reach, but that is the precedent set when you deliver one of the best video game villains ever. Of course, I am not all the way through the game yet, and they have done some nasty stuff so far, so maybe they will get up near that level by the end of the story.

The reason to play Borderlands isn’t really for the story though, that’s just the vehicle that delivers the enemies for you to shoot, punch, explode and splatter at your leisure. I played as Zane and found his duel abilities all combine quite well. The shield he drops is a mainstay for me, and I swap out his doppelganger and drone abilities as and when I get bored of playing one or the other. They all feel very useful though, and although he doesn’t have an ultimate akin to the others like a giant mech suit that drops down for another playable character, but he does have a more consistent effect on the battlefield. Playing solo his shield provides a very useful defensive option that has save my bacon countless times throughout my time with the game and the drone can pester enemies for you and keep things from getting out of hand.

Each of the abilities are linked to their own skill trees, and as you level up you invest points into the trees to unlock augments and effects that change the way you use your arsenal. Late game, these options become very customisable and will make for some great gameplay fun trying out the different load outs. These abilities all contribute to the core gameplay, but none of them are vital to the game as the incredible selection of guns.

Guns are what Borderlands 3 does best, and it does it by giving you absolutely hundreds of them within hours of the game. It’s rare to get two of the same gun, and if you do it will have two different sets of effects and stats, so there is an even smaller chance of ever getting the exact same gun two times besides from the legendary weapons that your friends might stumble upon too. Every gun has a twist, every gun is powerful in its own way, and they are all brilliantly brought to life with attention to detail you wouldn’t expect in a game with so many options on the guns. Firing pins pop in and out of guns as they fire, a lot of guns have clip counters on them that count down, there’s pipes and nozzles flashing all over the place, it’s the best part of the game and I am glad they got it right.

I don’t believe I have kept the same set of weapons for any two consecutive missions yet, which is testament to the games loot system which is balanced heavily towards giving you way too much. early game you will find yourself having to throw out guns and items in favour of storing more valuable loot in your backpack, but as you invest more into the storage upgrades you can really start making plenty of in game money to keep yourself stocked up on ammo. You can buy weapons but so far, I have not bought one, there just isn’t any need.

Borderlands 3 delivers almost exactly what I expected from it, which is Borderlands 2 with just more stuff. There are more guns with some new tricks and features, more enemies with some slightly different attributes, and some new planets to explore. The planets all kind of have the same desperate tone so far, even if the environment looks different. They all are being attacked by the same enemies and that means you’re having similar fights everywhere, just the scenery is different. The boss fights are varied and fun, offering twists on the normal game play beyond just being bullet sponges, which there are of course.

It’s More-derlands, with nothing ground-breaking being introduced to the formula. They know what works, and they’ve worked on perfecting it. If you enjoyed the previous games you will enjoy this one for sure, just don’t expect anything new. It feels a little like a game made with blinkers on, ignoring the outside gaming world and sticking to its Guns.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.

7/10 – More, More, More.  

 

 

 

Single Player Cinema

It’s been a slow news week so far in terms of entertainment, which means I have reverted to just sitting and waiting patiently for Borderlands 3 to arrive in 10 days’ time. There is a load of films in cinema’s I need to see but have missed the boat on a lot of them. I may have to start going alone which presents its own problems. 

It’s an odd experience, but essentially, you’re in a dark room watching a film, and whether or not someone you know is with you doesn’t change the actual viewing experience. It just changes the before and after. The only film I have ever been to see on my own is Mad Max Fury Road a few years ago and I really enjoyed it.

I am not sure why I feel a little uncomfortable going by myself, maybe if I go more it will normalise it for me and I can then fulfil my stupid dream of seeing every film that comes out. In fact, that is the only way I would ever be able to see every film. In fact, I might even go tonight by myself, just for the hell of it.

The lack of movie going recently has meant my main entertainment has come from streaming services, and re-watching Brooklyn 99 or my other love, gaming. Apex, Rocket League, Siege, FIFA, and to an extent, The Division 2 are all games I have been regularly jumping between. I am screaming out for a story based single player game though, the kind of which are not on the horizon anytime soon. The upcoming releases are Borderlands 3, FIFA 20, Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Not that one this is a new one.

All of those have some single player element to them, but there is no single player game until the 25th October when The Outer Worlds finally drops the same day as the previously mentioned COD:MW:NTO. I will no doubt play all these games but honestly there is a big problem that I think every game is going to have for me in the next 7 months until April 2020. That problem is that none of the games I just mentioned are Cyberpunk 2077.

I have never been this intrigued by a game on so many levels. The world that Witcher Developer CD Project Red is making looks so immersive and diverse I don’t think we have seen anything like it before. The same goes for everything from the graphics, the art style, the customisation options and the gameplay itself. It’s a weird time when this is the biggest game and the news about it dominates the zeitgeist when it hits, but so few people have played the game and know what it feels like. Everyone has just kind of agreed and accepted that this is the best game of the generation and honestly, I don’t know how anyone can argue from what we have seen. Maybe the game will come out and feel terrible, but I just don’t think that will happen.

Until then we must make do with what are hopefully some very good games starting with Borderlands 3 next week. I don’t know why but now my excitement for that has died down. It may be because every time Gearbox are in the news it’s a 50/50 chance it’s because their leader Randy Pitchford has done something moronic again and I am not pleased to be giving that man my money. I know people say vote with your wallets on these things and don’t buy the game he is associated with, but the issue is that Borderlands 3 isn’t made by him, it’s made by a brilliant team of developers who deserve the support.

A slow news day means a shorter blog today, but hopefully something big drops soon or I might revert to ranting about Arsenal and how Harry Kane is an Olympic class diver.

Thanks for reading!

ChAzJS

 

 

This Week In Gaming – 05.04.2019

This week Jason Schreier, the best journalist in the gaming industry drops a huge story about Anthem, Borderlands 3 gets a release date and the next Assassins Creed may have been leaked in The Division 2. All that plus the usual waffle this week in gaming. 

What I’ve been playing

I’ve had a busy week, so I have only really played more of the same. Apex and The Division 2 continue to dominate my gaming time, although I am getting the hankering for a single player experience. With Days Gone just weeks away I am trying to hold out for that, but some of my old favourites are calling me.

All the Borderlands news has made me tempted to jump into Borderlands 2, but on top of that my all time no.1 favourite game of all time Skyrim is sitting there on my Xbox and PS4 dashboards, tempting me to dive back in and replay through all of the stories I know back to front. I think I can hold out for another few weeks, with the satisfaction of those sweet sweet Apex Legends Wins and the satisfying grind of The Division sustaining me.

I look forward to updating you on my 500th Skyrim play through next week.

Kotaku Anthem Article

If you are reading this you probably have somewhat of an interest in the Gaming industry. If you do, I suggest you follow Jason Schreier on Twitter. He is the top journalist in the gaming industry in my opinion. His latest excellent story comes from Anthem developer BioWare, and 19(!) anonymous sources who detailed the troubled development of EA’s much maligned game.

I encourage you all to go over to Kotaku.com and read the article, but the general story is that the game suffered a very confusing production process, with several decisions not being made until as late as 12 months before the games release. These important creative decisions combined with the problem that EA’s game engine Frostbite brought with it made the game a development nightmare. The issues are plentiful, but not particularly new to the triple A game development world. The story sheds light on the conditions that people are working in within the games industry and that sometimes the heads of these companies need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

BioWare is a studio that has the potential to produce the very best games we see. They created the excellent Mass Effect series as well as the Star Wars epic Knights of the Old Republic. They then saw more success with Dragon Age Inquisition, which insiders cite as the worst thing that could have happened due to the incredible crunch the studio went through to produce the Dragon Age game.

Crunch, if you don’t know, is the name for the big push developers make to finish a game by a deadline. It’s been a part of the games development cycle for years, but over the last few years we have been seeing a swell of discontent towards this process, as it really does have an effect on the mental health and happiness of the people who make the games we love so much. It’s a huge issue, and I personally think games should be given as much time as they need to be complete. If stories like this lead to better decisions from the people in positions of power at the big companies than I am all for it!

Borderlands 3 Release Date & incredible box art unveiled

With last weeks PAX event confirming the existence of Borderlands 3, 4 days later Gearbox have revealed that the game will be in people’s hands on 13th September 2019. Just 5 months away. This is excellent news to me, and I am glad they are going with the unveil and quick release approach being my preferred method, against the “Tease a game for years” method adopted by games like Last of Us 2 and Death Stranding.

They dropped a new trailer online, which showed off the characters and the villains, along with more shots of the environments we will be seeing in the game. Borderlands 3 looks like it’s going  to be by far the biggest one yet, and Guns with Legs certainly does seem cool, but I am not sure we are getting anything really new aside from the planets and the characters. My only question is; Is that Enough?

I love the borderlands games, they’re great fun and at the time were groundbreaking for the Co-op RPG genre. However so far Borderlands 3 seems like they are just giving us another Borderlands 2, but with more guns and more locations. To me, that kind of update is DLC level content not enough for an entire game.

I am assuming there are going to be a lot of small touches that will make the game smoother and more diverse in terms of class choices and gameplay styles, but so far we haven’t seen anything that’s made me really think this is a PS4/Xbox One game rather than a PS3 or 360 one. There is a gameplay demo coming in a few weeks so lets hope we see something then that wows me a little.

Assassins Creed Ragnarok

What a name that would be. One of my personal favourite games of 2018 was Assassins Creed Odyssey, and I have been toying with going back to the game regularly to see whats ben updated. Ubisoft confirmed there wouldn’t be an immediate follow-up, as they were focused on supporting the world they’d built with that excellent game.

Eagle eyed gamers have spotted posters in The Division 2 picturing a Viking holding a globe like ornament. Nothing in that right? except when you zoom in you can see the ornament is the infamous Apple of Eden from the Assassins Creed franchise. This poster along with concept art leaks with the title “Assassins Creed Ragnarok” attached to them have led to the assumption that the next game in the time hopping series will be set in the norse world of the Vikings.

On paper, it all makes sense. They are some of the most famous sailors in history, so the boat mechanics perfected in the last few AC titles are easily implemented, and the norse mythology is some of the most epic and ripe for storytelling we have available to us. On top of that, they were famously savage fighters, meaning the hack and slash gameplay perfectly suits the style of that time period. Comparisons may be made to the masterpiece that was God of War, but I think they are to wildly different games. AC has evolved into a sprawling, multi layered, branching story role-playing game set in a huge world with a hundred of hours of gameplay there for the audience’s enjoyment. God Of War is a much smaller story and I expect the follow-up to be a similarly intimate in nature.

I really hope this turns out to be true, but time will tell. Ubisoft have a history of hinting at future games in their current releases, so I think this has a pretty good chance of coming true.

Until next week!

 

 

This Week In Gaming – 29.03.2019

Borderlands 3 was finally unveiled by Gearbox with a great trailer in a press conference littered with technical problems. On top of that we had Sony debuting their “State of Play” events, which was essentially a Nintendo Direct but for PlayStation, and Days Gone released a trailer that finally got me excited for the game. All that and the usual waffle this week in gaming!

What I’ve Been Playing

Today, thursday, I won 3 games of Apex Legends. Each win justifies the past hour of poor loot drops and quick deaths after deploying worth all the pain. I am absolutely hooked on this game and long may it continue. The new character has added a new dynamic to the game, and I think the community is ready for some map changes. The battle pass disappointment has fallen by the wayside, and now I am just chasing the sweet sweet nectar of victory.

I have been playing a bit of The Division 2 as well, teaming up with a mate really does make the game a lot more fun. Clearing rooms of enemies strategically covering one whilst the other moves into a new position to get a better angle is very satisfying. The game showed me the first signs of the loot cycle, something which I think could get me hooked given enough time. I am going to keep going back to this as there are no other games out soon that I am waiting for. The next big games out are late april when Mortal Kombat and PlayStation exclusive Days Gone hit the shelves, but more on Days Gone later.

What I have not played, nor had any real thought about in the last couple of weeks, is Anthem. A game that dominated the news in the build up and then dominated the news in all the wrong ways weeks later. The game is decent, and then you finish the story, and that’s it, it’s over. It was built to be a new, live service that gamers could keep coming back to. The problem is the loot is terrible, and being in the looter shooter genre that is a bit of a problem. I reckon the game will be better in 6 months, but it’s released in a really odd place in term of where the game is in its development, and it almost feels unfinished.

Borderlands 3 unveiled

I have written before about my appreciation for the Borderlands games. I saw a post on Reddit remarking that Borderlands 2 is a Desert Island game, and that is an excellent way to describe the franchise. They are huge games, giving players hours and hours of content. Gearbox knows it’s a popular franchise, as they have now remastered the original Borderlands game, and will be releasing an Ultra HD update for the Handsome Jack collection which has Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel, which is hundreds of hours of gameplay for people to enjoy while they wait for the main event.

Now, the Borderlands 3 trailer itself is excellent, showing off the game well, and even if the graphics don’t seem particularly different from 6 years ago, I reckon in-game we will be able to see the effects of a the generation jump. However the excellent trailer was the end cap on a bizarre press conference, with Gearbox chief Randy Pitchford using it to display his magic skills and seemingly promote himself as a celebrity. This weirdness was broken up by some laughable technical hitches, with the trailers faltering and at one point stopping completely. Right up until the Borderlands 3 trailer debuted in all its glory… At the second attempt, after the initial display seemed to be jumping as if it was lagging.

Technical issues aside, the audience in the room ate it up, because it was the return of a truly beloved Franchise. Cosplayers cheered and whooped at every reveal in the trailer, and laughed at every joke. The game is bringing back all of the characters we have grown to know over the last few games, and although it featured plenty of gameplay we didn’t get any definitive information of whether the game is a straight up sequel that plays just like Borderlands 2, or if this is going the Live Service route. My gut feeling from the trailer is that the game is going for a straight sequel, Co-op fun game, with more characters we can enjoy just like the previous games did. The villains look stylish and hopefully they can be half the villain Handsome Jack was, although even that is some task. The trailer ends with the promise of more news on April 3rd, so keep your eyes out for next week’s TWIG (This Week In Gaming, what a great acronym) as we will have all the news there.

Sony in a State of Play

PlayStation owners Sony have been slowly changing the way they do their announcements. From cancelling the annual PSX event, to pulling out of the mega-show that is E3, they have been moving towards a new way of delivering their news. This week they released their first “State of Play” video. I say that as that’s exactly what it was, a video, with games listed off with a little bit of info from the disembodied voice. This approach is somewhat impersonal compared to the friendly faces that brought us the PS4 years ago, with no Shuhei Yoshida or Shawn Layden present to talk through the developments.

Sony delivered the video, featuring announcements of several VR games including Iron Man VR and a Five Nights at Freddy’s VR title. Their focus on VR caught me a little off guard if I’m honest, but it has made me consider whether VR is a worthy investment. I have been intrigued by the prospect for years, and Beat Sabre very nearly tipped me over the edge, but the investment just never seemed worth the money. With games like Blood and Truth coming, something that looks like a real triple A title but only for VR, I might have to rethink that stance.

The showcase ended on a bit of an odd note, with a trailer for Mortal Kombat 11. Sure it looked excellent, but we already knew that and it wasn’t really a wow moment to go out on. What did wow me was the trailer they showed for Days Gone, Sony’s new exclusive.

Days Gone finally makes sense

I have loved just about every PS exclusive i have played on the PS4. The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spiderman and God Of War are all absolutely exquisite games. They represent the very best of what games can be. Days Gone is the next up to bat for Sony’s exclusive titles, and until now I have been underwhelmed by everything I have seen. The gameplay has always looked slick, and they world is beautiful. But that is not what makes any of the exclusives work for me.

This newest trailer finally showed us what has been missing from any gameplay demo we have seen so far. It showed us a story, and it showed us characters that we can get invested in. So far Days Gone has been Starkiller from the Force Unleashed games riding around on a motorbike killing zombies. For the first time in that trailer I saw Deacon, as he interacts with other characters and we get hints at a character behind the familiar face of actor Sam Witwer.

It’s still not top of my anticipated list, and I am not expecting it to challenge Horizon or God of War for the top of the Sony exclusive library, but I am actually now excited to play the game. The promise of an engaging story does more for me than any gameplay video could, as that is what I like most in video games.

Aside from those sweet sweet Apex W’s though. Obviously.