We got a first look at the Beastmaster character, FL4K, in Borderlands 3 along with the chance to play through an entire mission, so let’s take a look at our first impressions!

I feel the need to defend myself by stating for the record that I usually game on a computer, so I’m more used to playing FPS games with a mouse and keyboard than with a controller, as clearly visible in the video captured.

We were playing on a PS4 Pro with gameplay footage captured using Elgato, on a demo build so there were a few moments where gameplay was a bit laggy. I encountered one bug, which was solved after around 5 minutes of waiting, but that was about it.

So the intro mission was played with FL4K, and as far as I know, we’re one of the first few people to have the chance to have a hands-on with this character. Billed as the “beastmaster” archetype, FL4K has action skills like the other characters, but also has a pet companion that can fight alongside him.

Each companion has a different bonus for FL4K; the Jabber grants FL4K increased movement speed, the Skag increases FL4K’s damage and the Spiderant continuously heals FL4K.

After we cleared the intro mission, we moved on to a never-before-seen mission (Chapter 14: The Family Jewel) on Eden-6. Here, we got to pick from all four characters – Zane, Amara, FL4K and Moze. I tried out Zane for a bit while waiting for my co-op partner to finish the intro mission, so let’s talk about him first.

Zane gets to pick 2 action skills to equip at the same time, unlike the other characters, so it was a bit more interesting to think of how to build his skill trees to synergise effectively. I chose the SNTNL and Barrier skills, so let’s take a look at them.

The SNTNL skill deploys a drone which automatically flies through the environment and attacks enemies with a machine gun. I chose this skill simply because I knew my poor aiming on a controller would benefit from the additional help the SNTNL drone would provide.

The Barrier skill was somewhat useful in the mission, but since I was dealing with enemies who were mostly melee attackers, this would have probably been a better choice for maps where the attackers are mostly ranged and hanging back.

Shortly after, my co-op partner cleared his intro mission and I jumped into his instance for some co-op gameplay. I had a blast playing the Eden-6 map, and the classic Borderlands humour in the dialogue had me chuckling along at most parts.

This time around, I played Moze, the Gunner character with a mech suit. The character is highly reminiscent of Overwatch’s D.VA character or the Titans in Titanfall, with the mech suit called Iron Bear drawing inspiration from both.

Moze’s action skills are the Railgun with shock damage, the Minigun which has sustained rapid fire and the V-35 Grenade Launcher, which fires grenades out at a semi-automatic rate. I went with the Minigun and Grenade Launcher since I already had a shock damage weapon that I could switch to, if needed.

With the Toxic pistol that I had, I realised that whenever I reloaded, the character would throw the gun and it would either explode if it hit an enemy, or grow legs and walk around shooting opponents. I eventually unconsciously started playing around that knowledge, preferring to empty the clip faster to throw the gun rather than make every shot count.

By this point in the mission, I had finally remembered the console trick of aiming down sight to get aim assist, so I stopped whiffing as many shots.

There was a slight bug midway through the mission involving a missing enemy which resulted in the footage being paused so the techs present could troubleshoot it, but while the footage was paused, the bug resolved itself so we continued on with the game.

Me and my teammate had a bit of difficulty at a certain part of the mission, which I thought was weird, since I actually managed to land on the edge of the crate but ended up sliding off. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be that way, but it did frustrate me a little.

The boss fight was difficult; I’m not ashamed to say I died multiple times in that attempt, but in my defence, I was constantly moving closer to her in order to get a clearer shot, while my teammate was hanging back.

At the end of it, I almost didn’t want to kill the boss because that would mean the end of my time with Borderlands 3. That’s how fun the game is, and I only played a single mission. I definitely can’t wait for this game to release on 13 September 2019; I’ll just have to make sure I finish Fire Emblem: Three Houses by then.