FL4K Hands-On Impression – Borderlands 3

2K Games invited me to the FL4K reveal event. Here I was able to get a few hours of hands-on time with the character. I'm surprised about how diverse each of the vault hunters are. Gearbox Software did a great job of creating characters that all have a unique skill set. Here is my breakdown of the Vault Hunter FLAK.
FL4K Hands-On Impression - Borderlands 3
FL4K Hands-On Impression - Borderlands 3

FL4K’s abilities

FL4K has 3 unique action skills and on top of that, there are 3 different pets that you can choose from. This is insane and totally awesome! When I started speculating about FL4K’s abilities, I thought the pets would be the action skills. Nope! On top of each skill tree, you will find 1 action skill and 1 pet. You can combine any action skill with any pet. Down each of the skill trees, you will find augments that tie into the corresponding skill and pet.

FL4K’s action skills

FL4K’s 3 action skills are ‘Fade Away’,  ‘Rakk Attack’, and ‘Gamma Burst’.

  • Fade Away
    • This action skill will make FL4K invisible. During the cloak, FL4K will regain health. A cool thing about this action skill is that it lets you perform 3 shots that deal guaranteed critical damage. I found this very rewarding to do with a Jakobs shotgun. Because each time you get a critical hit with a Jakobs gun the bullets will ricochet towards nearby enemies. In the case of a shotgun, you can have an insane number of bullets flying in all directions. While ‘Fade Away’ is active you will also gain increased movement speed.
  • Rakk Attack
    • This action skill will send out 2 Rakk in the sky.  These bad boys will seek out enemies in a straight path in front of you and dive-bomb into them. Visually this looks spectacular and they seem very effective. I prefer this skill above of Amara’s PhaseCast which does a similar thing. While the PhaseCast will go in a straight line and can go through walls, the Rakk Attack homes into your enemies which makes it easier to target enemies.  When you equip this action skill you will be able to use this skill twice. Additional charges can be obtained by spec-ing into the right augments.
  • Gamma Burst
    •  This action skill will create an AoE blast (Area of Effect) that does radiation damage. Also, your current pet will be teleported to this location. Due to the radiation, your pet will be mutated. It will double in size and will do additional radiation damage to your enemies. If you use ‘Gamma Burst’ when your pet is out of health, it will be revived with 30% health. The penalty is that your action skill cooldown will be doubled.

FL4K’s pets

The 3 pets that FL4K has are a Spiderant, Jabber, and a Skag.  You can choose any pet at any time. They are not tied to a specific action skill. There are augments in their corresponding skill trees that will provide buffs to them specifically. Your pets do have their own health bar. When they run out of health, they will go down and you will need to revive them. You can do this just like you would with any other co-op buddy. The cute thing you can do is, that you can name your little helper and you can pet your them. Petting is just for fun, there is no healing effect link to it. FL4K’s pets have their own stats, with auto health regen. The cool thing that you can do is, giving your pet a focus attack. By holding down the action skill button you command it to attack a single target.

  • Spiderant
    • The Spiderant has a mechanical leg. This pet will constantly restore your health. It spits acid towards your enemies. When you focus attack a target the Spiderant will perform a roll attack into them. When you pet your Spiderant it will smack its head into the ground.
  • Jabber
    • The Jabber is the monkey-like creature that carries a gun. When you focus attack a target the Jabber will throw barrels at your opponents. When you have this pet tagging along you will receive a movement speed bonus.
  • Skag
    • The skag is extremely cute.  When you have this pet tagging along you will deal bonus damage. The skag will spit acid onto your enemies when you focus attack them. When you pet your Skag it will happily start jumping and you will see cute little hearts.
BL3 Reveal Event Screenshots FL4K

FL4K with them Skag pet – Borderlands 3

Gameplay

During my play session, I was placed at the start of the game. You probably have seen the introduction of the game during the Borderlands 3 reveal event where you have to follow Claptrap’s instructions. However, my play session didn’t end there. I got to play the first big chapter of the game. Once I was able to use the action skills and the pets I found myself alternating between the various action skills and pets. In the beginning, I leaned more towards the Spiderant because of its healing capability. Early on in the game you still need to get your gear and skills going. So getting that health regeneration going this way was helpful to me. Like I mentioned above the cloak and the Jakobs shotgun was a match made in heaven for me. Later on, when I found better gear, I shifted towards the Rakk attack. Because I now obtained quality assault rifles the crit bonus from the ‘Fade Away’ action skill counted towards each individual bullet. This felt worthless, so having those bomb diving Rakk felt really empowering.  I didn’t end up using the ‘Gamma Burst’ action skill a lot. It kinda felt like a pet transporter to me at first. Maybe the radiation rift is more effective when using in close quarters when you have a bigger group of enemies close together.

Interesting skills

Go here if you want to check out FL4K’s full skill tree but these are some of the skills that I found interesting:

  • DOMINANCE
    • Melee Override Skill. FL4K establishes dominance over an enemy, turning it into an ally for a short time.
  • LICK THE WOUNDS
    • When FL4K is in Fight For Your Life, their pet will attempt to revive them.
  • MEGAVORE
    • FL4K gains a chance to score a Critical Hit with weapons against any part of enemies. Critical Hit Chance: +20%

Conclusion

Gearbox delivered another awesome playable character. FL4K looks cool, probably the coolest of the bunch. The voice (acting) is great.  The tone at which FL4K speaks and interacts with other NPCs is fun. If you watched the TV series ‘Bones’ you have the main character, Doctor Temperance Brennan, she also talks very scientifically. Kinda like the character Data from Star Trek. A robot making sense of humans and their behavior. I didn’t expect that FL4K would have the ability to choose an action skill and a pet. The interaction with your pet is great.  I think this character class can be great if you like to be a sniper or like to play solo.  I really enjoyed my playtime with this character.

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