Xbox One Gaming: Borderlands 3 Characters

23 Oct

One of the decisions you have to make when starting the game is which of the four characters you’re gonna use to start shooting and looting: Zane, the Operative; Amara, the Siren; FL4K, the Beastmaster; Moze, the Soldier.

Gearbox stayed faithfully true to the mind-numbing and sometimes confusing things that makes each Vault Hunter very, very different and with weapons, skill trees, and other items that are unique to each one and unless you were doggedly reading everything Gearbox had to say about the game before it was released, eh, you really don’t know what they’re capable of.

So, starting out, I picked Zane, the Operative… because our cat’s name is Zane. Working with his skill tree wasn’t what I’d call bad or tough although trying to figure out how to use the new skill tree interface still has me shaking my head a lot because you want to get the right skills for the way you’re going to play the game. I found what might be the best configuration except, bleh, that configuration doesn’t allow me to use grenades the way I wanna use them, like, sometimes, I wanna make it rain grenades and I mean throwing every last one I’m carrying… except the configuration I’m using kinda randomly tosses a grenade – a pain in my ass but I worked with it enough to finish the game with Zane and get him to Level 50.

Then I started a new game with Amara, the Siren… and realized that maybe I should have started with her instead of Zane because I’m having a lot of fun with her skills and to the point where I finished the game twice with her and after boosting her to Level 50 as well.

Gearbox is taking way too long to put in that piece that will allow all characters to go beyond Level 50 and True Vault Hunter Mode although, if they stay true to form, I should be careful what I wish for.

In between kicking ass and taking names with Zane and Amara, I started a new game with FL4K, the Beastmaster… and I am not happy with this guy at all – well, I’m not happy with the various beastly sidekicks you can pick to work with him because, uh, they’re not as helpful like one situation I got into: I activated FL4K’s skill to help me thin out the swarm of bandits looking to make me respawn in a hurry… and the damned thing just stood next to me doing nothing at all.

Initially, this behavior was identified to Gearbox and they made some adjustments… but I’m still not happy playing with this character who is presently only at Level 13. At this point, the gaming landscape has become familiar – I don’t have to really think about where I’m going or what’s gonna happen but, yeah, I’m probably gonna have to do some serious tweaking of FL4K’s skill trees to find something I can work with.

Now it’s Moze’s turn in the crucible. Her mech is… effective but when activated, it doesn’t hang around for what I’d call a “long time” and the mech’s weapon selection – and as I currently have it configured – is more of a problem than it is helpful. The railgun is devastating and powerful but doesn’t fire quickly enough (at least not now) and the chaingun on the other side overheats way too quickly for my taste and use – again, at least for now. It is to note, however, that my Moze character has passed my FL4K character level-wise at this stage of things and I’m finding that I don’t have to summon Moze’s mech all that often and as opposed to how many times I’ve summoned FL4K’s beasty buddies to little effect.

Frustrating, confusing, and sometimes not the right tool for the job at hand… but this is still Borderlands and if you’ve played the other games in the franchise, you know this is gonna happen – you just don’t know how good or bad your character choice is gonna be until you really get into the thick of things… and then be prepared to look at the characters’ skill trees and do your best to suss out the right combination of things that will make your character of choice kick ass and take names in the way you like doing that.

One of the things that bummed me out when I first started playing was how ineffectual using a snipe rifle was with Zane; in the earlier games – and even in the early stages of gameplay, you put a bandit’s head in the crosshairs, squeeze the trigger, and – poof – one dead bandit minus his head… not so much with Zane in this incarnation of the game. Sure, the bandits are harder to kill and it makes sense that when a bad guy is shielded, you gotta make that go away but there were a few times when I emptied my sniper rifle just trying to behead one bandit.

Enter Moze. First time I ran into a shielded bandit – and the best weapon I had at the time was a sniper rifle, I lined homey’s head up in the crosshairs, squeezed the trigger… and his head vanished.

What. The. Fuck? Oh, yeah – Borderlands. You kinda forget that each character has weapons that they’re really good and effective with and, to be honest, one can’t be blamed for forgetting this because you’re really and seriously busy trying not to get killed. Or you have one of those moments where, say, a good pistol you’ve been using just stops doing the job it was formerly very capable of doing… and in the space of going from one area to the next. I was… mystified to find myself at Level 50 with Zane – or was it Amara? – and mowing down Level 51 bad guys with a Level 38 machine gun with ease.

Okay, that particular gun was a Legendary but if you know Borderlands, you also know that not all Legendary weapons retain their awesome killing power. I’m killing the shit out of bandits with a gun that, on the face of things, should have been unequal to the task long before it actually did become useless. Or finding out that Amara, for some reason, is a shotgun specialist and many bandits – and a few bosses – met their grisly demise via shotgun.

Moze’s gun seems to be the sniper rifle but FL4K? Not sure which weapon is his “thing” yet – I’m not really all that inspired to play with him but I will and I’ll eventually find out what weapon type he’s good with. But, next, something that has me asking WTF…

I have a second profile set up on my Xbox One and it’s there for one reason: So I can play any of my installed games in almost a sandbox kind of mode and test different gameplay methods or whatever while not impacting what I’m playing on my main profile. I started a game under my second profile and started with Amara, a character I know is more than equal to the job at hand…

And I’m getting my head handed to me big time and I’ve struggled to get this version of Amara past Level 10. Yeah, you read that right. What I don’t know is why this is so different. Same character. Same configuration. Not the same results and not even close. I could understand this if I hadn’t already played with Amara and I didn’t know what to expect in the area “Amara Jr.” is currently stuck in. On my main profile with Amara, I didn’t exactly breeze through things but it wasn’t a hardship doing so… but on my second profile, shit, you’d think that I was playing the game with zero knowledge about how to play it.

I know what to do… can’t get it done. Granted, Amara Jr. doesn’t have the exact same weaponry as Amara Sr. had in this specific situation – but Junior’s weapons aren’t anything to sneeze at and I’m talking about how those worthy weapons went from being very effective in one area to not being effective at all in the very next area.

And I’ll be damned if I know why. It’s presenting a damned interesting challenge and one that, really, I didn’t expect to be facing… and maybe I should have but it only serves to prove that even when you know what you’re supposed to be doing, that doesn’t mean it’s gonna work the way you think it should. On a first playthrough, sure – you have no real idea what you’re gonna be facing but you learn it so if/when you start a new game with a new character, if nothing else, you know what you’re going to be facing and you know what you did the first time to deal with each situation with some “minor” differences of course.

On my second profile, it’s like I’ve never played this game with this character before. And I can’t explain it. My mission today is to play with my second profile, figure out what the hell’s going on, and kick ass and take names.

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Posted by on 23 October 2019 in Xbox One Gaming


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