As we make our way slowly through the gargantuan world of Borderlands 3 for our full review, our Gaming Editor Lewis White has a few words to say about a particularly awful boss fight: Billy the Anointed.
I’m about half of the way through the colossal world of Borderlands 3. In my current playthrough – as there are four playable classes, I’m playing as Amara– my current build is designed around getting up close and personal, dealing heavy amounts of physical/elemental damage and running away screaming. Despite the hours I’ve put in, RNG has shafted me with underwhelming shields; one day I’ll be able to tank whilst I shotgun away.
So far, I’ve got a lot of positive things to say about Borderlands 3. Of course, this will mostly be kept for our final review, but my thoughts thus far are positive overall. However, that doesn’t stop the game from being able to p**s me off more than any game has this generation all due to one God-awful boss fight.
Enter Billy the Anointed. While we can’t explain the reasoning behind this character’s appearance – it’s tied to an obvious plot twist we’ve been asked not to spoil – we can explain how bull the actual fight is. Take this article as a bit of a rant: savour it, we don’t do it often.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The mission in which Billy arrives is based on Eden-6, the home of Sir Hammerlock and his boyfriend Wainwright Jakobs. After some missions where you meet Tiny Tina in grown-up form, Mordecai and Brick, you’ll take the fight to Hammerlock’s sister Aurelia. If you’ve played the Pre-Sequel, its got a couple of neat nods.
Near the end of the mission, you’ll encounter a huge boss arena set in a theatre. It’s cluttered: out of all of the boss arenas so far it feels the most constrictive, even though others are actual confined arenas. Outside of the boss room is your spawn point in a comfy corridor, just outside that is a room full of constantly spawning enemies.
Now, Billy the Anointed is not a difficult boss to understand. He’s a Raging Goliath on the surface, tiny umbilical cord head and all. That gives him an obvious weak point for easy crits. His moveset mostly consists of charging and throwing out an energy wave that you can jump over. All of his moves do a killer amount of damage, but from the offset it doesn’t appear too bad. Then you find out his attacks go through walls; then you find out he can teleport anywhere instantly; then you find out the only enemies to Second Wind are badass enemy types; then you find out Billy is absurdly broken.
Billy’s ability to teleport anywhere is a massive issue as Gearbox may have forgotten to confine the often-infuriating brute inside of his boss arena. Your spawn point is fair game: I went to take a sip of water after respawning at a New-U station and by the time I looked back up, Billy had taken me down to just 50hp. After killing me, he was still waiting right in front of me, blasting off shots before I even took control. Then the enemies from the other room joined in; Billy’s agro is infectious.
After attempting, and failing, to take Billy out in this confined claustrophobic space – his constant teleporting, jumping, charging and AOE attacks were a nightmare – I decided to use this to my advantage. In the adjacent room there are tonnes of weaker enemies than the badasses populating Billy’s stage: let’s take the fight there for some easy Second Winds.
Three times. Three times in a row, Billy teleported himself into a wall. I thought he would just teleport his way out; the knob manages to teleport himself everywhere else. But no: Billy hates me. He doesn’t want to help, only infuriate. “Just die, Billy! Get out of the wall and teleport yourself off a cliff!” I found myself deliriously shouting at the TV.
Thankfully, after many failed attempts, the use of four different elemental types – including radiation which I found just outside the boss arena in a slot machine – I was able to burn Billy the Anointed into ashes. It did not feel satisfying. Not in the slightest. So far, every boss has been a gold star. But there’s always one housemate that leaves turd streaks down the side of the toilet bowl.