Borderlands 3: Review Reactions

Just like many of you, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Borderlands. I managed to pick up my copy last night, though I haven’t been able to put much time into yet. I will say quickly that what I have experienced is a ton of fun. Those small, quality of life changes like sliding, mantling, and the improved gunplay feel excellent.

Today I wanted to take a quick moment to discuss the reviews that this game received. Even though I was all in on this game, I was curious to see what other outlets were saying about it. I started with IGN who’s review was just glowing. Like seriously, it was massively positive and really set my expectations for everything else.

borderlands 3 vault hunters

I was surprised and sometimes shocked to see some less than enthusiastic reviews on other outlets. A lot of things I read felt like the reviewer was disappointed that Borderlands 3 didn’t push the franchise forward or evolve it into something else.

I know it’s been seven years since BL2, but did our expectations really get that far out of control? I don’t know about you, but I really expected a better looking Borderlands. I’m more than happy with getting a prettier looking version. The quality of life updates, the new spaceship hub world, vault hunters, and the more outrageous weapons are enough for me.

But why is that? Personally, I feel like this “old school” way of thinking actually works better in this day and age. Most games are heading towards either the live service or massive open world model. While those are all well and good, I really think I needed a change of pace, a palette cleanser if you will. That’s what Borderlands 3 represents to me. A break from the current gaming trend.

Now that the franchise is back, we’ll see where Gearbox takes it going forward.

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Now Arriving: Games of September 2019

Buckle up folks! September is the start of the Fall/Holiday release madness. Apologies for being a little late putting this together this month, but hey, better late than never right?

There’s way too many big names to mention up here, so I implore you to jump below to see the full list of games coming this month. One of the biggest names comes from Gearbox Software as they prepare to launch Borderlands 3. I’ll be the first to admit that it feels great to be getting this franchise back, built on current gen tech. The quality of life updates and improved visuals really help push this franchise forward. Now the biggest issue for me is to pick which vault hunter to start with…

Not into looter shooters? Well then, September still has plenty to go around. Gears 5 is now available for Ultimate edition owners (Out on Tuesday for everyone else), Capcom has added a continent worth of new monsters to hunt with the Iceborne expansion for Monster Hunter: World, and Nintendo is planning to keep you quite busy with a bunch of new Switch releases this month (*cough*Zelda*cough*).

I hope you’ve been saving up because September begins the slippery slide into financial ruin. As I hinted at above, hit the jump to see the complete list of September 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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There’s No Marketing Like Nintendo Marketing

Well, that was some Nintendo Direct, wasn’t it?

the nearly 40 minute video presentation was stuffed to the gills with new information about all the games coming out the rest of 2019 and even a few launching next year. Luigi’s Mansion 3 continues to surprise with the amount of content is has, Animal Crossing was in there, Smash Ultimate had more than a few surprises, a new “free-to start” Kirby game, Game Freak’s non-Pokemon game, and so much more.

Seriously, if you missed it, check it out. It’s worth your time:

Nintendo has become the master of shadow dropping content (though EA got in on the fun this week with the new Plants vs Zombies game) and they didn’t disappoint here either. They released a lot of stuff either that day or within 24 hours including a new co-op Kirby game, Banjo-Kazooie Smash content, and the highly requested Super Nintendo Online service.

While all of that was really exciting, this marketing method that Nintendo chooses to do is a double edged sword. It’s incredibly fun when it happens, but you also have long gaps of time that fans are left hanging for information. I think the last major news drop outside of small trailers or whatnot for Nintendo was basically E3.

I’ve written about it in the past, but there’s definitely value to announcing things this way. On the other hand, it can hurt games as well. Take Game Freak’s new and non-Pokemon game, Little Town Hero. I think the last time we saw it, it didn’t have an official name yet. The Direct gave us the first real look at the game and the surprising revelation that it launches BEFORE Pokemon Sword/Shield in October. Considering that’s next month, there’s still a ton of details we don’t know about this game. It looks interesting, but outside of the combat, how is the game going to play? Nintendo now has a very tiny window to explain what it actually is. To me, it’s an uphill battle especially when you factor in that October is traditionally a very busy month for game releases. With limited tiny and money, how many people would reasonably pre-order this on blind faith alone?

I also want to give a special mention to the second presentation Nintendo featured right after its Direct. This one was entirely devoted to Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Banjo-Kazooie’s introduction.

What I absolutely loved about this presentation is that it didn’t feel corporate or restrained. Instead, it felt like we were watching a bunch of friends playing the game. One of the hardest working developers int he industry, Masahiro Sakurai, was once again on hand to guide us through everything Banjo and what’s next.

What I wasn’t expecting were the jokes, laughter from the crowd, and just the jubilent time everyone was having. Like I hinted at above, it struck me more as if I was watching a stream or YouTuber playing. Sakurai even mentioned Microsoft and hilariously told people to go play Banjo-Kazooie on the Xbox which caused more than a few people to chuckle in the crowd.

Such an innocuous comment really shows you the power and influence Sakurai has because soon after ‘Xbox’ was trending on Twitter Japan.

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Destiny 2: Thoughts on Solstice of Heroes and the Future

So as you all may have known, Destiny 2 has completely sucked me back in and legitimately won’t let me go. While I’ve caught up on all of the Annual Pass content, the annual Solstice of Heroes event arrived just in time to keep me busy with things to do over the past month or so. With Solstice of Heroes now officially over, I have some thoughts on how it went.

So this year was a little different than what we experienced last year. While the outcome was basically the same (bad ass looking armor), getting there featured going into a new area called the European Aerial Zone to fact off against enemies for five minutes, taking out a boss character, and then going on a treasure hunt.

destiny 2 solstice of heroes

More after the jump…

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The Indie Update: Smaller Games I’m Currently Playing

Well friends, lately my gaming time and attention has been solely focused on Destiny 2, a fact that I’ve gone over before. However, as I’ve nearly caught up on all Annual Pass content and have finished one set of Solstice armor for my Hunter (halfway done with my Warlock set), I’ve begun to check out some games that have been buried in my backlog.

Namely indie games. There’s still plenty I’m looking to get to (like the meaty Moonlighter DLC which just came out a few weeks ago), I wanted to provide some thoughts on the games I’ve been able to try out.

So without further adieu, here are some of the smaller games I’ve been playing recently:

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Gears 5: Hands on with Arcade Mode

I’ve always been a fan of the Gears of War franchise. It’s never been my favorite franchise, but it’s a series that I’ve always enjoyed playing none the less. Gears of War 4 was certainly entertaining and left more than a few big questions lingering once the credits rolled. Gears 5 was a certainty and seeing it officially revealed at E3 in June wasn’t all that surprising.

gears 5 logo

What was surprising was that the multiplayer tech tests would be open not just to pre-order players, but those with an active Game Pass subscription as well. Thank you E3 2019 Game Pass Ultimate $1 deal!

Considering I had automatic access, how could I not check it out, right? Here are some thoughts on the new Arcade mode.

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Now Arriving: Games of August 2019

I don’t know about you, but for a month without a ton of major releases, July flew by. We’re now creeping towards the typically very busy Fall/Holiday game release schedule, so I hope you’ve been saving up. September is already looking unreal for new games, but let’s save that for another day.

For now, let’s turn out attention to August, the month I like to call Summer’s Last Hurrah. This month, we’ve got a good mix of major names and some interesting smaller titles. While sports fans can finally get their Madden fix, there’s a few unique titles releasing this month that could be something special.

The first game that caught my eye comes from Remedy, oh you know, the guys behind Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break. Unchained from Microsoft this time around, their latest title is Control. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the game as the marketing budget must be tiny but from what I’ve seen, it looks to combine elements from their past games. The supernatural story mechanics from Alan Wake, the quality gunplay from Max Payne, and the interesting abilities of Quantum Break. Here’s hoping it all coalesces into something great.

For those looking for something different, perhaps Platinum Games has you covered this month. Astral Chain. The surprising reveal earlier this year pairs the likes of big name developers Hideki Kamiya and Takahisa Taura, with character designs by Masakazu Katsura. Set in a near future, Astral Chain looks to continue the stylish action gameplay Platinum is known for.

While August isn’t likely going to break the bank like September will, there’s more than a few games for your consideration this month. So, hit the jump to see the complete list of August 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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