I call this the pre-patch review. I say this because there are several things impacting this game, to warrant an obvious patch. As of which, this review might get a more favorable change in the future. Borderlands went for a change in this installment after two previous games that were relatively the same. Did they accomplish this? Or does it feel like more of the same? If I had to sum it up in one (horribly spliced) together sentence it would be “Borderlands 2 with low gravity and alternate characters on a non-Pandora setting that feels like Pandora and therefore should be a $20 DLC.” But lets get into the meat of the game.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel takes place on Pandora’s moon, Elpis. There’s not as many areas as on Borderlands 2, and the terrain is jagged and multi-layered to help sell the low-gravity jumping. While this is a change, it’s not necessarily one for the better. In several areas you will find yourself butt-slammed off a cliff, edge, or into a lava pool (which typically kills you via insta-death) or onto a frozen lake (which hurts you very rapidly). It will take a while to get the hang of slowing yourself down, or slamming to a satisfactory stopping point. There are upgrades to air mobility so be on the lookout for those. You will find some old friends that help you on the way. The point of view is told from Athena, so you can consider her the main character if you wish. Moxxy is back, and a couple old vault hunters make an appearance. But first,
Lets meet the new characters
Athena the Gladiator
Athena the Gladiator is familiar for people who played the Secret Armory of General Knoxx. Athena is a former Lance Assassin allied with the Vault Hunters, working with them to bring down General Knoxx. Athena plays out as a tank, with her Action Skill Kinetic Aspis, a shield that when activated absorbs energy, which you can then throw back at enemies.
Wilhelm the Enforcer
Wilhelm the Enforcer you may remember from Borderlands 2, as a Hyperion Engineer. His action skill Wolf and Saint are deployable drones, one that dishes out damage while the other one providing a support role and healing.
Nisha the Lawbringer
Nisha the Lawbringer also cameoed in Borderlands 2 as Sherrif of Lynchwood. Her action skill, Showdown, is an auto-aim at enemies while gaining different weapon buffs. Also worth noting that she uses a whip for melee, which gives her the longest melee range.
Claptrap the Mistake
Claptrap the Mistake. Ahhh Claptrap. The savior of the game. You might want to go this route to keep the Borderlands universe fresh and fun. Claptrap’s Action Skill, vaulthunter.exe analyzes and detects what he thinks (haha) would be the most useful skillset. There are random .exe’s and random skill/cooldown times. Some of which are Funzerker (dual wielding ala Salvatore), Blightbot (Siren wingzy Maya/Lilith style Phoenix skills) Are you picking Claptrap yet? Shhhhhhh trap (Zer0esque hologram and invisibility, while you function as normal), Laser Inferno (Shoots lasers in all directions at all enemies). Seriously, are you not gonna pick Claptrap? Rubber Ducky (you get a rubberducky life preserver around your waist while you bounce every time you hit the ground, allowing for unlimited Butt-Slamming fun). Oh, upgrade a portion of your skill tree all the way and you can turn into a freaking Pirate Ship… WITH CANNONS… SERIOUSLY ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO PICK ANYONE ELSE…
Ok now that that’s out of the way what else do we need to cover, oh yes. Oxygen. You need it (Claptrap doesn’t), space doesn’t have it. 4 Claptraps? Yes please.
Air is essential for breathing, and it can ignite enemies with a fire elemental weapon, lasers are especially effective. Oxygen stations are an audible beacon. If you run out of O2 you will slowly deplete your health. No oxygen, no fire, so try to fight enemies with all the advantages you can. Especially during single-player portions. This will be a part of your characters arsenal as well as level’d and upgraded versions, each with unique bonuses such as extra damage to airborn enemies, greater Butt-slamming power, etc.
Also making an appearance are Moon Zoomy’s, gliders with flak cannons and cryo rockets. While the Moon Buggies may have a hard time navigating properly, you need to conserve boost to make use of the Moon Zoomy’s navigation.
2K Australia. Why. WHY. They censor words like B!tch. Really? What a bunch of B!tches…You normally see characters branching out or getting more perverse, not toning it down a notch. Also the characters being more chatty? Don’t believe it. Their extra commentary consists of “Hmmm” when looking at weapons. They have a couple of one-liners when you’re idle, but they did that in the original Borderlands. They each respond to various main story quest actions, but so did previous installments. My first few hours with the game was a little underwhelming as I didn’t seem to get many purple or orange drops. (Rarer drops, again color coded). When I hit 15 I had better luck, so don’t get miffed early if you see 100 guns and not 13765 billion. This go around Gearbox pushed the game out a little quicker than needed. I say this because there are several areas in several locations that reach out and grab you, spinning you around, turning your direction, or sending you off a cliff. In areas where perfect speed and boost are needed to reach a location via jump, this is problematic. The “death ledges” on levels will have you driving with caution not boosting with joy, as open lava areas and cliffs will send you straight to your death.
The sidequests have the same quirky humor that you’ve come to expect with the franchise, and there are secret areas that, with a little searching, are greatly rewarded throwbacks to past games. The story will provide insights on the backstory of Jack. Without giving away spoilers, you will be able to see his transformation take shape. Is he good? Is he bad? A little bit of both? You will also see a few ingame creations and locations you just may have seen before. This journey is fun, but is it worthy of a full release? That you can decide for yourself. If you are a diehard Borderlands fan, pick it up now. There are fun moments to be had and it’s always more fun with 4. If there’s no heartfelt desire to play right now, pick it up on sale.