Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. More of the same old stuff from our friends at 2K Games. 4 (or 5) New Playables. Bajillions more guns. A new aspect of the original story. SPOILERS ABOUND, please don’t read too much further if you’re interested in the story.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (from now forward, TPS) is the 3rd game in the Borderlands series, but pretty much takes place in between the first (Borderlands) and the second (Borderlands 2) games. It takes us on a journey through the world of Elpis, Pandora’s moon, and Helios, Hyperion’s station above Pandora, so we can witness the rise of Handsome Jack and Hyperion as a whole.
It is an interesting play through for anyone who has completed the first two games and has developed an (understandable) hatred of Handsome Jack. SPOILER ALERT! Handsome Jack isn’t a heinous asshole in TPS, at least to start. He starts off in the game literally saving your hide (something that Lilith is frustratingly confused about) and trying his best to save the lives of the people of Elpis. His hatred of ClapTrap units remains in full swing.
Traveling and fighting on the moon of Pandora, Elpis, starts off with a frustrating and new mechanic: O2. Elpis has no oxygen, and when you first arrive you find yourself suffocating. This entertaining character, Janey, introduces herself as she saves you from asphyxiating in the vacuum of the moon. She tells you that you’ll need an O2 kit, called an OZ Kit by the locals. The OZ Kit also has the added benefit of granting you a unique ability: BUTT SLAM! Yes, butt slam. Jump into the air (double tap jump to float or get higher) then hold the crouch key to slam into the ground and cause a shock wave of varying types of damage. It replaces the relic slot (that granted special add-ons to your characters in the first and second games) which is kind of frustrating but also very entertaining. My roommate and I spent hours just slamming enemies in the game. BUTT SLAM!
As for the playable classes, there are 4 (with a 5th planned to be released on Nov 11th), each with a different special:
There is Athena, an ex-Crimson Lance assassin armed with the Apsis shield special. You bring up the shield, it absorbs damage from your enemies and then you fling the shield at them and it explodes spectacularly. It’s difficult to aim the shield to start but once you pick it up properly.
Then there is Wilhelm, a Hyperion scientist/engineer with robotic augments. Yes, it is the same Wilhelm from Borderlands 2, before you ask. Wilhelm is equipped two drones: Wolf and Saint. Saint will heal you while Wolf will shoot enemies for you. They are super useful early on and in boss fights.
Then there is Nisha, a lawbringer of sorts. She is armed with a special ability that locks onto targets to allow you to get easy kills. That is to say, you activate her special ability and your cursor will home in on any nearby targets. Pull the trigger and watch the heads fly!
Finally there is Claptrap AKA Fragtrap. Claptrap’s special is wildly unpredictable and fun regardless. There are too many things to list for Claptrap’s special, which basically gives random buffs to all people nearby. You can view them all here.
You can get a quick overview of the Action Skills by watching this awesome YouTube clip: YouTube!
Admittedly I could have recorded this myself, but honestly I am tired, just recovering from a cold, and Halo: Master Chief Collection just came out. Please cut me a break.
Badass ranks are still present in TPS, and just as useful as ever. It’s great to be able to upgrade all your characters at once (and cool to see a level 1 fly through the early game!). Baddass ranks are basically nods from the developers to gamers, rewards for repeat playthroughs and making more characters.
Golden keys, are just as plentiful as ever thanks to the generous devs. Make sure you grab them early and often. They make grabbing cool loot super easy. I use two or three every 5 character levels to make sure the loot stays relevant. I then stow it in the stash and bank to trade it around. Make sure you do it with other people around so you can trade.
TPS is a must-have for fans of the Borderlands Series and completionist fanatics. That being said, it’s a lot of the same-old, same-old stuff. Go to location, kill bad guys, collect items, then pray that the loot fairy smiled upon you and your party. Once you reach the end-game (which takes a play-through or two) it rapidly becomes a fight for the best guns and gear.
The game is not super difficult, as evidenced by the fact that my roommate and I defeated both the end game level and the repeat level in our first goes. You will fall down a lot (probably) but Fight For Your Life is a saving grace and an easy way to keep yourself in the fight. You can still be picked up by your allies (both using the normal method which is slow, and alternatively using OZ Kit O2 supplies which is super fast).
The game can be frustrating however, as evidenced by one of the quests to collect 50 white-grade weapons and turn them in (which was… SO draining). and random encounters with bosses that are seemingly too difficult for their level. These events are largely few and far between however.
Visually, the game is just as beautiful as I remember it being in Borderlands 2. There is something extra there though, and we haven’t figured out what it is yet (since my roommate has times when the game chugs along as opposed to flying through Borderlands 2). The effects for fights and elemental damage are visually satisfying (corrosive damage is goopy and green, frost damage is a light blue, explosive damage is EXPLOSIONSSSSSSSSSSSS, etc). The style is very cartoon-y and entertaining. I must say it’s one of my favorite aspects of the game, just sitting there and driving around and looking at all the detail and effort they put into the styles and depth aspects.
Overall, I’d give TPS an 8/10. TPS is a very fun game, but it’s certainly a simple re-hash of the same old formula of Borderlands and Borderlands 2. There are new character classes, locations, and a story (as well as a few game play mechanics) but it’s all boiling down to go to location, kill things, collect loot, bring it back eventually devolving into a loot fest. It is fun for sure, but it can surely become a slow haul grind.
But then again, HEY LOOK ORANGE LOOT!
And that is all there is to it.
Game on people, and I’ll see you on Elpis.
Find me on Steam here, and let’s play some! 😀