Borderlands 3 Impressions - Problematic Fun

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Borderlands 3 is out now, hooray. Regardless of what might be going on behind the craziness of Randy Pitchford and the shit that Gearbox Software is pulling elsewhere. Borderlands 3 is a game that no doubt many many people are excited for.

I'm pleased to say, that if you were a fan of Borderlands 1 and 2 (not the presequel because nobody liked that garbage) then you are gonna like Borderlands 3. It is SOOOOOOO much like Borderlands 2, that it might as well be Borderlands 2 again. That same funny dialog is there, the crazy NPC characters are there, the cooky villains who aren't as good as Handsome Jack but damn it they are TRYING. It's all here.

There are some modern changes to the game, namely the mechanics of the characters are more elaborate and the game can handle more going on at once than previous games. The hunter guy FL4K, for example, has 3 different pets and they are just always on the battlefield. They aren't his ultimate or anything, they just run around and help kill things with you. Which if you remember the mech girl from BL2, her pet was just an ultimate ability that hung out for a little bit and then left. The guns are more detailed and can do more things. Each gun has an alternate fire which can do any number of things, shoot tiny rockets, tazer people, flamethrower, whatever.

You can see how Borderlands 3 has evolved and become a more detailed game. However it has a bunch of problems and most of them seem to be technical. The game doesn't look any better than BL2, I guess with the cell shaded graphics you can't really get much better than what they've already done in previous games, things might be a little smoother but it not really all that noticeable. The biggest graphical upgrade is particle effects, where elemental damage, pools of poison, and environmental effects seem more prominent in this game than previous ones.

Basically I'm saying all this because the game chugs like a fucking bitch even on my RTX 2080. loading into a new area has such lag and texture pop in that after a new area loads I have to sit and wait another 30-60 seconds for all the textures to finish loading before I can move around. The frame rate is extremely weird, in that during combat it's fine 55+ FPS no problem. But driving around or even just walking from area to area causes locks or just massive dips in FPS sometimes even into the teens. It's like the game struggles to load each section of map as you pass through it, but once it's loaded (like during a fight) the game is fine. I'm playing the game on a 1TB SSD so I don't think it's a problem with my hardware, I just think the optimization is jacked for the game.

And like I said above, the game is basically BL2 again. And that might not be a good thing for some people because if you want to play BL2 again, you could just go an do that. Really the only different things on offer here are the new heroes, which may or may not matter depending on play style. I personally never really used the character abilities much and prefered a more run and gun style in BL2, letting the humor and the crazy guns carry me through the game.

I will say I really like FL4K's pets though, it does wonders to make me feel like my character choice mattered for the way I like to play. Because his pets are almost 100% AI controlled, I can play my run and gun style and still get the benefit of what the character is offering me that is special. So I really like that. The pet can die though in which you can either revive it, or it respawns after about a 60 second window. So you never have to babysit it.

Also you can pet it.

The humor in the game is just as Borderlandsy as ever, most of it leaning towards juvenile dirty jokes, references, and insanity, which might rub some people the wrong way but I really like it. It goes for the obvious and simple gags, because in the mayhem of a fire fight you need the jokes to be simple and easy to process otherwise you'd end up missing most of them. So the style of humor still really fits the game in my opinion.

Frankly the game is a blast. If you can get over the technical problems, and the fact that it's nothing really new. If you want more Borderlands 2, then Borderlands 3 is worth a buy.

I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

The humor really ruined Borderlands 2 for me. There genuinely wasn't a single character I didn't hate.

Johnny Novgorod:
I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

Handsome Jack is gone.....I don't notice any "woke" humor. But I'm an out of touch old asshole so i dunno.

I'm so sad that my usual Vault Hunting Crew are all super busy these days. ;_;

I'm likely going to have to wait until November (when my friends say their schedules open up) before I pick it up, because I'm not risking buying it on Epic, and risk that my friends wait until it comes out on Steam, and now I'm hoping it's cross-platform or else I'm screwed. :s

Honestly, seeing some gameplay footage and seeing that it's Borderlands 2, just with more guns and more abilities had me practically squealing with joy. I'm the one in my circle of pals that got us into the series, and while I skipped the pre-sequel (After 3 full playthroughs of 2, I was all borderlands'd out), I'm still the one who is the most in love with the series.

Played Borderlands 2 once and said "yup, I've seen all this franchise has to offer." Randy Bitchford hasn't help change that. Didn't even bother with most of the DLC.

Johnny Novgorod:
I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

What would the opposite of "woke" humor be? Doing the slant eyes chinese accent thing?

Borderlands has always been a bad franchise. Its a lackluster looter-shooter, with genuinely unlikable characters, terrible writing, repetitive gameplay and a kinda' ugly animation style.

Silentpony:
Borderlands has always been a bad franchise. Its a lackluster looter-shooter, with genuinely unlikable characters, terrible writing, repetitive gameplay and a kinda' ugly animation style.

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Apparently its running some really performance impacting DRM which is tanking performance (probably VMProtect inside Denuvo). Mind you, its running like shit on console too apparently, so maybe its just really badly optimized?

B-Cell:

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Didn't we get our fill of bog-standard military shooters during the approximately 18 billion of them that flooded the market in the early 2010s?

Worgen:

Johnny Novgorod:
I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

What would the opposite of "woke" humor be?

If you have to ask, Worgen.

I've never bought a Borderlands game for more than twenty dollars, and it looks like that streak will continue.

Johnny Novgorod:

Worgen:

Johnny Novgorod:
I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

What would the opposite of "woke" humor be?

If you have to ask, Worgen.

Well, I did ask. I mean, we have a decent number of comedians and such complaining they can't do comedy they way they used to but one of the most common forms of comedy I remember from back in the day was the "silly accent" comedy with the Chinese/Japanese/Vietnamese accents being pretty common. Yeah, they have a hard time pronouncing certain letter sounds, that's so hilarious.

A practical comparison of 2 and 3 -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYs4V-92pWw

aegix drakan:

B-Cell:

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Didn't we get our fill of bog-standard military shooters during the approximately 18 billion of them that flooded the market in the early 2010s?

BiA wasn't a bog-standard military shooter though by any means, in that it actually required the player to think. In a way it's closer to Arma than anything released every year for the MP crowd.

hanselthecaretaker:

aegix drakan:

B-Cell:

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Didn't we get our fill of bog-standard military shooters during the approximately 18 billion of them that flooded the market in the early 2010s?

BiA wasn?t a bog-standard military shooter though by any means, in that it actually required the player to think. In a way it?s closer to Arma than anything released every year for the MP crowd.

Oh, then I retract that statement.

Despite liking the art stlye, I could never get in to Borderlands. I have the 2nd game for free thanks to PS+, but have yet to play it. Besides, I am waiting for Doom Eternal in November. That is the only shooter I will be playing this year.

aegix drakan:

B-Cell:

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Didn't we get our fill of bog-standard military shooters during the approximately 18 billion of them that flooded the market in the early 2010s?

better than some crappy cartoonish unfunny loot shooter.

beside brothers in arms was tactical shooter. kind of. different than any millitary shoooter

B-Cell:

aegix drakan:

B-Cell:

Pretty much this. I want gearbox to make next brothers in arms not shitty borderlands game.

Didn't we get our fill of bog-standard military shooters during the approximately 18 billion of them that flooded the market in the early 2010s?

better than some crappy cartoonish unfunny loot shooter.

beside brothers in arms was tactical shooter. kind of. different than any millitary shoooter

I think its worse than being unfunny. Halo isn't funny, and its pretty fun, espcially Reach co-op.

Its that Borderlands thinks its funny. It thinks its radical, and EXTREME and EPIC! It reeks of 'FellowYoungPeople' try-hard memes, from old writers who were in highschool in the 90s and genuinely think the world is nostalgic for that, like 'You know what would be radical? Wayne's World meets Terminator 2, written by 90s era Kevin Smith but edited by a early 2000s edge lord who still goes to Ebaumsworld'

Thank you, Silentpony, you summed it up pretty well:

Silentpony:

Its that Borderlands thinks its funny...

This is what makes BL2 so unpleasant to play. The art style is beautiful, but everything else is garbage to me. After the constant back-tracking, the abundance of under-leveled loot, unskippable dialogue (you can't select other missions while the windbags are talking) and intentionally confusing lines of egress or mission progression, the "I think I'm smart and funny" style of writing is the piss icing on the cake.

Ironically, I find the real-life misadventures of the train wreck that is Randy Pitchford to be hilarious (in a bad way).

I was disheartened when I read that there was some sort of profit-sharing system within Gearbox because I'll never buy BL3. I'm helping a friend progress with BL2 DLC but after he's done, so am I. This is 40 gigs of HDD space I'll happily replace with with either Call of Cthulhu or Bendy and the Ink Machine.

Silentpony:

Its that Borderlands thinks its funny. It thinks its radical, and EXTREME and EPIC!

You know, as someone who actually really enjoys the borderlands series and humor...

I can't actually disagree with your analysis.

But then it hit me. I love it because its so overly try-hardy with the humor. It boomerangs right around into absurdist humor territory to me.

Like, it's not the kind of humor that makes you laugh, but the kind you either snort at and go "They really just went there?" or just raise an eyebrow and say "ooook, this is a thing that's happening now..."

It's something that can constantly surprise you and where anything, no matter how stupid, can suddenly happen. The person who your faction leader respects so much is an insane 12 year old? The Bunker you're supposed to bust open is actually secretly a flying UFO for no explained reason? Half the planet is exactly the same kind of insane while wearing the same exact gas-mask? All things that can happen, and why? Just Because. Nothing makes sense, basically everyone and everything is some degree of insane, so why the hell not do it?

Like...To put a cap on this:
So many people hate Claptrap and think he's the most annoying character ever. I actually find his over the top patheticness to boomerang back around into making him endearing, in a "I totally have no problem firing this giant cannon at you while you stand in the way like an idiot" sort of way.

It's not my favourite kind of humor (nothing tops a really good pun with proper leadup), and I can see how it's a massive turn off for some (probably even most) people. But I still find the series' humor to be endearing and fun.

B-Cell:

better than some crappy cartoonish unfunny loot shooter.

Hey hey hey!

You can knock the series for not finding it funny, and even calling it crappy, you can totally have that opinion.

But what, you got a problem with cartoons?

What's wrong with cartoons, or a Comic-book/Cartoon artstyle? It's colorful and vivid and fun to look at! It allows things to be more expressive, or wild, or surreal, allowing for a broader range of emotions and making suspension of disbelief easier in a lot of cases.

Like...Wind Waker STILL looks pretty all these years later, all due to the cartoonish art style that never really grows old.

Sorry if I'm harping away here, but I put up with this a lot with my dad, who immediately categorizes any animated movie as childish or impossible to take seriously purely because it doesn't look real, and thus dunking on something for it being a "cartoon" has always rubbed me the wrong way.

Silentpony:

Its that Borderlands thinks its funny. It thinks its radical, and EXTREME and EPIC! It reeks of 'FellowYoungPeople' try-hard memes, from old writers who were in highschool in the 90s and genuinely think the world is nostalgic for that, like 'You know what would be radical? Wayne's World meets Terminator 2, written by 90s era Kevin Smith but edited by a early 2000s edge lord who still goes to Ebaumsworld'

You. I like you.

Also doesn't help one of our gaming group that frequently bunks in my house on weekends is an absolute fanboy for the game. I have never had to tune out conversations so hard in awhile.

I'm pretty disappointed so far. I wanted it to be "Borderlands is Back!" Take Two and Pitchford deserve all the crap they get, but neither MAKE the game and there is a core of something worthy inside the franchise. And then all the whining and complaining about the Epic exclusivity fueled by Valve fanboyism just sickened me. I wanted BL 3 to be good so I could go on and on about how awesome it was to the crybabies boycotting it waiting for a Steam release.

And unfortunately its less "Borderlands is Back!" and more, "oh hey, Borderlands is back." Mostly its the same. And where it is different... some things are better, some things are worse. Better sound design than 2 gives some of the weapons back some of their punch that was lost in 2 and the pre-sequel... plus. Afore mentioned bad optimization... minus. For the boycotters, this will be patched before they get it so they won't have to worry about it. Some of the missions drag on, like some of the worst from Pre-Sequel. With most being chalked up to "go back to the place and shoot the guys again." For a while there is a decent variety of bad guys... but then you hit a stretch of 4 or so chapters in a row facing the same 3 kinds of Maliwan soldiers over and over.

And that touches on one of my biggest complaints... what they did to make Maliwan weapons completely worthless. I used to really favor Maliwan submachine guns and sniper rifles. And now they are useless. In BL 3 Maliwan guns fire slow moving, easy to dodge, and hard to hit with bolts that seem to move slowly enough to outrun on foot. The only way to make them even halfway useful would be to use a character that had a skill that could increase bullet speed. And even then the increase would have to be substantial just to make them halfway decent. And there is a warm up period, meaning you pull the trigger and hold it down, and a second or 2 later you start shooting... and the damage seems to be about half of what other guns are doing. By the time you warm up, fire, and wait for the bullet to get to the target to see if you managed to hit it... I've already double tapped it with a Hyperion gun or taken its head off with a blast from a Jacobs, and moved on to take out another target as well. I haven't found a Volcano or Hellfire variant yet... but I'm guessing they will be pretty poor by comparison to their predecessors. BL 3 really devalued Maliwan and by extension elemental effects in general.

In fact, the secondary fire functionality added to most guns in this game are pretty useless. The only really good one is the ability to switch from one type of elemental damage to another... making 1 good gun useful for 2 different elements... cool. But that is the secondary function they gave to Maliwan, who's guns are useless now so... not so cool. Dahl guns get the tracker then homing bullets from that gun in The Fifth Element... or you could just aim at something and shoot it? Tediore added a bunch of weird "throw the gun and X happens" things... that are all more situational and way harder to aim than the traditional "and it explodes" from BL 2. The best guns are Jacobs (the only ones that seem to do enough damage) that don't have a secondary fire function and Hyperion which adds a forward facing reflective shield that is on in ironsight and you wouldn't ever turn off anyway.

So waiting for a price drop or a Steam release... ehh nobody's missing much. Please just do it because of TakeTwo's anti-consumer practices or because Pitchford is a Tool...

I loved Borderlands 2 for maybe 15 hours. Then I hit that mark where the guns stop feeling good and you spend more time reloading and hiding behind rocks than on actual fun things. Borderlands 3 looks like just more of all that.

I'm probably spoiled by Titanfall 2, but man I just want to play FPS games where the combat is genuinely fun. Guess it's time to cave in and buy Doom.

A little update for you all.

I now have a rapid fire pistol that shoots sticky bombs. It's so much fun, and I've blasted through a ton of quests with this gun. It's wonderful and I love it and i'm having fun.

The game is still buggy, but reports say that is due to Denuvo DRM being the piece of shit that it usually is. So that's great I guess.

aegix drakan:
I put up with this a lot with my dad, who immediately categorizes any animated movie as childish or impossible to take seriously purely because it doesn't look real, and thus dunking on something for it being a "cartoon" has always rubbed me the wrong way.

"It's called anime, dad!!"

CritialGaming:
The game is still buggy, but reports say that is due to Denuvo DRM being the piece of shit that it usually is. So that's great I guess.

Rumor has it that Denuvo keeps the game unlocked for you even if you refund it.

Silentpony:
It reeks of 'FellowYoungPeople' try-hard memes, from old writers who were in highschool in the 90s and genuinely think the world is nostalgic for that, like 'You know what would be radical? Wayne's World meets Terminator 2, written by 90s era Kevin Smith but edited by a early 2000s edge lord who still goes to Ebaumsworld'

Well, almost. Anthony Burch was born in 1984, so he probably went to high school in 2000.

McElroy:

aegix drakan:
I put up with this a lot with my dad, who immediately categorizes any animated movie as childish or impossible to take seriously purely because it doesn't look real, and thus dunking on something for it being a "cartoon" has always rubbed me the wrong way.

"It's called anime, dad!!"

You joke, but...

I remember watching the second season of Castlevania with my brother last halloween season, and even though we tried to time it so we wouldn't be interrupted, dad left much later than usual for his usual friday night hockey, and caught some of it.

This was the gist of the exchange.
"What's this?"
"Castlevania".
"Oh, it's a cartoon"
"I mean, technically, it's more anime than cartoon, but yeah?"
"So it's a japanese cartoon!"
"I mean..."
*ultra-violence happens*
"what the- What's with...That's super violent! Why is this in a cartoon?!"
"Uh...Yeah? It's intended for more mature audiences?"
"But it's a cartooooooooooooon!"
"-For mature audiences."
*dad walks away throwing up his hands as if nothing makes sense anymore*

There is no reasoning with the man on this. If it's animated at all, even if it's full CGI, he'll label it a cartoon and be completely incapable of taking it seriously. XD

aegix drakan:
There is no reasoning with the man on this. If it's animated at all, even if it's full CGI, he'll label it a cartoon and be completely incapable of taking it seriously. XD

Did he forget how animation was in the 30's and 40's? That stuff sure wasn't for kids.

aegix drakan:

McElroy:

aegix drakan:
I put up with this a lot with my dad, who immediately categorizes any animated movie as childish or impossible to take seriously purely because it doesn't look real, and thus dunking on something for it being a "cartoon" has always rubbed me the wrong way.

"It's called anime, dad!!"

You joke, but...

I remember watching the second season of Castlevania with my brother last halloween season, and even though we tried to time it so we wouldn't be interrupted, dad left much later than usual for his usual friday night hockey, and caught some of it.

This was the gist of the exchange.
"What's this?"
"Castlevania".
"Oh, it's a cartoon"
"I mean, technically, it's more anime than cartoon, but yeah?"
"So it's a japanese cartoon!"
"I mean..."
*ultra-violence happens*
"what the- What's with...That's super violent! Why is this in a cartoon?!"
"Uh...Yeah? It's intended for more mature audiences?"
"But it's a cartooooooooooooon!"
"-For mature audiences."
*dad walks away throwing up his hands as if nothing makes sense anymore*

There is no reasoning with the man on this. If it's animated at all, even if it's full CGI, he'll label it a cartoon and be completely incapable of taking it seriously. XD

My father is of similar fashion, though he at least understands the concept that just because it's animated does not mean it has to be "for kids". With that said, he is a bit of a philistine. For years he as gone on about how there needs to be more black superheroes or heroes of color (regardless if it's an original hero or legacy character), yet he won't get off his ass to seen Spider-Verse. I said to him "You were there for Ta'chala. what about Miles?" The only thing he could do was shrug like he did not do anything wrong. Funny, when I mentioned Nic Cage was in it, but a supporting role, all of a sudden he has a mild interest. He sure as hell wasn't there for Virgil Hawkins.

This reminds of the time he was interested in the backstory between Dante and Vergil from the Devil May Cry (not the reboot). The moment I revealed the it was from a video game series, then acts like he's not interested. Had it been a novel, live-action movie, or even a TV series, then he would have gave a shit.

As for your father, he's part of dying generation where his opinions won't mean shit. Anime is still niche, but it's more mainstream and more accepted compared to the 80s/90s.

Also play this song for you dad. I think he'll enjoy it.

Philistine

CritialGaming:
A little update for you all.

I now have a rapid fire pistol that shoots sticky bombs. It's so much fun, and I've blasted through a ton of quests with this gun. It's wonderful and I love it and i'm having fun.

The game is still buggy, but reports say that is due to Denuvo DRM being the piece of shit that it usually is. So that's great I guess.

As much as I piss on BL2, I'm glad to hear you're having fun. There's been reports across the board with strange issues (BSOD on PC and low framerate for console) but at least you're liking it. Honestly, it seems tech issues aren't that common for BL3.

Johnny Novgorod:

Worgen:

Johnny Novgorod:
I got sick of Borderlands with Pre-Sequel because of Handsome Jack and all the "woke" humor. Are those two still a thing?

What would the opposite of "woke" humor be?

If you have to ask, Worgen.

What even IS "woke humor"? Is it humor mocking "woke blokes" or is it humor made by "woke blokes"?

CritialGaming:
A little update for you all.

I now have a rapid fire pistol that shoots sticky bombs. It's so much fun, and I've blasted through a ton of quests with this gun. It's wonderful and I love it and i'm having fun.

The game is still buggy, but reports say that is due to Denuvo DRM being the piece of shit that it usually is. So that's great I guess.

I found my first orange gun. Its an assault rifle that fires in very quick bursts that is accurate and steady... meaning 3 criticals every trigger pull. The damage isn't great, but it adds up... eats ammo fairly quickly though. Found it in one of the "no fapping" portajohns which is odd. I never found anything better than green in one of those in BL2.

I'd actually be kind of relieved if the performance hang-ups were Denuvo. That generally gets thrown out with the first patch to make it seem like a big performance improvement (that they could have released without, but whatever.) Publishers usually only care about DRM to protect the "day 1 sales" anyway and so can dump it after a short while. I'm also getting a weird snapping glitch on the map, where without warning the map will snap to a fast travel while I'm trying to look at something else.

aegix drakan:
There is no reasoning with the man on this. If it's animated at all, even if it's full CGI, he'll label it a cartoon and be completely incapable of taking it seriously. XD

Haha, your dad seems to have made up his mind about it. Like, I understand the mentality up to a point; animation doesn't do drama very well, and so it's more difficult to take seriously compared to live action. Similarly BL3 looks less serious compared to BL2 because it's more cartoony.

Been playing it over the weekend and I'm having a great time with it if I'm honest. I've always quite liked the over-the-top 'yeah we're trying hard to be funny *but we know that*' Borderlands sense of humour. The art style is an acquired taste but has come to grow on me over the years, and although a lot of the characters are unlikeable assholes they're *meant* to be unlikeable (although I did actually find myself rooting for Handsome Jack by the end of the Presequel). The plot is traditional Borderlands - some assholes are being incredible dicks to some only slightly less dickish assholes and we side with the underdogs because, well, they're paying us, but this rather ... um ... *uncomplicated* approach to storytelling just releases the player to hoon about like a mad 'un without worrying about morality, plot themes, social/religious/political issues or what-have-you. The locations are nice and varied too, with the action taking place on a variety of different worlds with differing biomes and critters, and in typical Borderlands style the player characters from previous titles pop up as non player characters so you get to see how your old character has been getting along since your last adventure.

On the subject of characters - I've only played as one so far, so cannot comment on the others, and I decided to jump straight into the most 'traditional' class - the Gunner. Your basic point-and-shoot style of character, similar to B2's Commando, but blended with more than a pinch of Overwatch's D-Va. She may be a little uncomplicated when it comes to Specials, but there is something deeply satisfying about stomping around the battlefield cocooned in an armour-plated mech while everyone else scurries around desperately hoovering up health packs. Cusomizable with a selection of weapons such as a Gatling gun, grenade launcher, rail gun, power fist, flamethrower and rocket launcher (I favour a combo of Gatling gun and rocket launcher - y'know, the classics), the mech is the real star of the show for the Gunner. Pretty much your only job as the Gunner is to stay alive long enough between mech-spawns (healing shields and the cooldown kill skill really help here).

Haven't run into any major technical issues so far (on the One X). There can be a half-second freeze when transferring from one zone to another in the midst of a firefight, and the one time I had *almost* beat the Annointed Goliath on Eden-6 he warped towards me, overshot and warped into a wall from which he couldn't materialize, ganking the fight completely. Other than that, nothing.

TL;DR - It's Borderlands - a 1st-person, space-cowboy loot-a-thon. If you liked the first three offerings, you'll find plenty to like here. If you didn't like the first few games, there's probably little here to change your mind, but I quite like that. Borderlands has always had very vocal detractors, but Gearbox and 2K haven't tried to appease those voices by making Borderlands more like traditional shooters. It is what it is, and it's not trying to be anything else. Which is something the mass of gritty, realistic, military tactical shooters on the market could perhaps learn a lesson from.

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