More Borderlands? Sure. Why not? Hey, it’s still fun.
Having put well over 100 hours into both Borderlands games, I think it’s safe to say I enjoy the series. The combo of FPS and RPG was a great mix, and the look and comedy that went along with the story was always entertaining. Now, I can get fatigued as much as the next person, and too much of a good thing can very well turn into a bad thing. That was what I kept in mind the entire time I was playing Borderlands: The Pre-sequel. While it was in my mind, though, I never actually felt it while playing the game. I guess there’s still room for more Borderlands in my life.
Taking place between Borderlands 1 and Borderlands 2, the story is told through a series of flashbacks through the eyes of a mercenary named Athena. Yes, the same one from General Knoxx, as she and a band of other vault hunters, a more human Wilhelm, Nisha the future sheriff of Lynchwood and Claptrap himself team up with a “good” Handsome Jack in order to stop a military group from destroying Pandora’s moon, Elpis.
Platforms: PC, 360, PS3
Price I’d pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: 2-4 player online co-op
The four classes feel different from each other, while still offering something familiar. Athena is the tank using a shield just like the Cap, Wilhelm is the guy with the AI controlled pet, Nisha is the high DPS gunslinger that actually has a rather over powered special ability and Claptrap is essentially the wild card. His ability will activate numerous things depending on the conditions. He can also grant buffs and wild statuses to his co-op partners like “you have increased gun damage, but you can’t stop firing.”
Same classic formula.
For the most part, and take this as you will, the Pre-sequel is just more Borderlands. There are a few changes and additions to the game play, but I still got tons of loot drops, dropped multiple skill points into a three branch skill tree, and shot a bunch of bullet sponges. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but for people looking for something different, they may be looking in the wrong place.
Let’s talk about the new additions. There is a new elemental damage that I couldn’t believe hadn’t been in the game before, focusing on ice damage. Shoot an enemy with some ice damage and they slow down to a crawl while taking damage over time. There is a new gun type as well – laser guns. These can fire off a beam of energy that can rip enemies apart if I had the right gun for the job.
Rocket butt slam.
Of course, the biggest new addition is the oxygen tank. Because this game takes place mostly on the moon, players will have to use oxygen breathers that must be refilled after a certain amount of time. This can be done by picking up oxygen tanks, running into areas that have environments, or finding oxygen fissures on the surface of the planet. Of course, since Claptrap isn’t much of a breather, he doesn’t have to worry about oxygen management. On top of that, players can use oxygen to boost up higher and jump longer as well as slam down to the ground with a butt slam.
The oxygen tanks are an equippable item, so they come with stats as well as modifiers like adding fire damage to your butt slam or having a faster shield recharge rate while in an atmosphere. I have to say, after messing around with it, the butt slam was a great way to take out a bunch of guys grouped together, and I enjoyed it every time I did it.
The humor is all still here. For some reason, everyone on the moon, with the exception of a few people, speaks with an Australian accent. It’s not a big deal, but it was constantly noticed. Of course, Handsome Jack delivers the comedy by still being a sarcastic jerk even while having good intentions, and even though some of the jokes fell flat, there were more than a few times I laughed. The portrayal of Jack and his fall into becoming the villain is actually well done here, especially for a game that takes pride in its immature humor, but I did enjoy the time I spent with Jack.
The moon sure does have a lot of holes.
If there’s one thing I had the biggest problem with it would be the environments, or rather traversing the environments, which is both a chore, and frustrating at times. It seems like the moon has far too many bottomless pits that cause instant death, so actually travelling with a vehicle resulted in me dying multiple times because I didn’t know where this jump was leading me.
On a smaller scale, jump pads are placed in a lot of areas where gunfights take place, and figuring out both where enemies are and where these pads will take me was more than I needed to be thinking about in the middle of a heavy gunfight. The Pre-sequel really loves those vertical areas. Because of this and because many boss fights take place in areas like this, it made the game rather difficult to solo. Sure, I played a bit with some co-op partners, but for the most part, I played this solo, and constantly dying over and over due to a boss arena taking place where cover was scarce was a bit frustrating.
Borderlands: The Pre-sequel feels like Borderlands. There’s a ton of loot, multiple quests to take on and some pretty good humor. While I know most people think this is more of an expansion than a new game, I would have to argue against that. It is more of the same, but that same is still very good and very enjoyable. I think the biggest hurdle people will have to get over is that this is still a last generation game. That may be true, but I still had a pretty great time with it. Fans of Borderlands should really check this out, even if it is against your “better judgment.” There’s still some fun stuff to be had in this series.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.