I’ve now made it past the first 10 levels of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, so I thought I would share my early thoughts. The TL;DR version, it’s good and worthy of the full game price as a 3rd entry into the series. With a few exceptions, though, it is just more Borderlands. If, like me, you want more Borderlands, then you’re in luck.
Let’s start with that weird title. Chronologically, it actually fits between Borderlands 1 and 2. But the game is a flash back. At the end of Borderlands 2, the remaining Borderlands 1 Vault Hunters have captured one of the Pre-Sequel Vault Hunters and are forcing them to tell the story of why they were helping Handsome Jack, the primary villain from Borderlands 2. Gearbox have released this helpful timeline (spoilers!) to untangle things.
The Pre-Sequel is primarily just more Borderlands game. It uses the same engine as Borderlands 2, so expect it to look and feel almost exactly the same. Characters work pretty much the same. You have 4 Vault Hunters to choose from, each has 3 skill trees and each has a specific action skill. Many of the same NPC’s are there. Moxxi is there for some reason. Roland and Lillith are there trying to have a romantic getaway. The humor that you expect from a Borderlands game is still there in full swing.
There are some new elements to the game that do change the game play significantly. I’ll start with the small ones. Since the game takes place on Elpis, Pandora’s moon, they have replaced Eridian weapons with laser weapons. They added a new elemental effect, freeze, which comes in the form of weapon effects and explosive barrels. If you kill an enemy while frozen they crumble. Going with the moon theme, they have replaced your elemental artifact slot with a Oz kit slot, your oxygen mask which comes with various effects that sometimes do different things if you are inside of an atmosphere or outside in the vacuum of space.
Now to the big game changer, which you may be able to guess from some of the small changes. The game takes place on Pandora’s moon and there is no atmosphere there. Also, little to no gravity. You need an Oz kit to breath outside of artificial atmosphere areas. Clap-trap technically doesn’t, but he says something about having an artificial need to breath. When you leave an atmosphere area, your oxygen meter depletes constantly. Most of the time, this isn’t as annoying as it sounds. There are plenty of air vents to stand in, atmosphere areas to go in, and enemies drop oxygen canisters when killed.
Apart from managing your oxygen, “butt-slamming” is quite fun. The low-grav means you can bounce around like we did back in the UT2k3 days. When in the air, you can hold down your Crouch button to slam back to the surface. This creates a blast around where you land that does damage and knocks back enemies.
I’ve tried Wilhelm the Enforcer and Claptrap the Fragtrap so far. Both seem to be fun so far. You may remember Wilhelm as one of the early bosses in Borderlands 2. I remember him because he was the first enemy in that game that killed me over and over again. He’s basically a muscle-headed cyborg with an action skill that tosses out 2 flying drones. One attacks and the other shields you. Claptrap’s action skill is called vaulthunter.exe and he basically tries to figure out what would work best based on the situation and then he changes his attacks to fit. I was fighting robots and he changed all of his attacks to do corrosive damage, even though I had no corrosive damage weapons. So that was awesome.
Athena the Gladiator has a Captain America style shield that absorbs incoming fire and then when triggered she throws the shield and it ricochets around doing however much damage it absorbed. Nisha the Lawbringer was the sheriff of Lynchwood in Borderlands 2. Her action skill is called Showdown and she basically becomes a lethal hyped-up marksman, auto-targetting and locking onto enemies. 100% accuracy and buffed up damage.
I would certainly recommend this game to anyone that has enjoyed the Borderlands series. It’s mostly more of the same, but that’s not a bad thing when you’ve got a winner like Borderlands.