We head back into the world of vault hunters and butt jokes. But did we get anything new out of it?
This time around Gearbox took a step back and let the aussies take over the newest addtion to the Borderlands franchise, 2K Australia took the helm of the game and decided to make it their own. Not to worry though, they have done a very good job with the finished product.
Borderlands: The Pre Sequel takes us back to right after Borderlands 1, and right before Borderlands 2. We get to see into why Jack (not yet Handsome) is such the crazy bastard he is now, and why Roland and crew hate him so much. I wont go into detail with the story in order not to ruin it for anyone, even though it doesn’t come close to what the brilliance of BL2 was.
Jack has gotten himself into a bit of trouble and has hired some vault hunters to help him get rid of some terrible people who are threatening the good people of Elpis, the moon of Pandora. The vault hunters are four unique characters with their own skills. Athena is an assassin type that sports a shield that will power up when damaged, when the shield is at full capacity it can be thrown to damage enemies. Nisha is a dual wielding character who has an ability to increase her gun damage and speed, allowing her to take down an entire room in an instant. Wilhelm is a cybernetic engineer that gets to have two sentry drones, one that defends, and one that attacks. Also, as you level up Wilhelm, you can augment him further into a scary cyborg. Then there is Claptrap, his vaulthunter.exe ability will give himself or another party member an extra ability that reflects one of the ability from a character from the earlier games.
The game itself plays very similar to the other two Borderlands games in the franchise. The controls are exactly the same as BL2, and are very easy to get used to even if you havent played any of the other games before. Keep in mind I was playing this on PC, but I had a PS3 controlled hooked up to it as well. One of the differences though were the jump and ground slam mechanics that made things interesting. In the game you get a CO2 pack that allows you to breathe in space, what it also allows you to do is double jump around the weightlessness of the moon and if you want, come crashing down on your enemies. This is a nice thing to have when you have a group of enemies at half health and you want to easily take them out while shooting at something else. This mechanic can come in useful as well if you find yourself overshooting you jump and dont want to plummet to your death, you can hit the button to slam you down, ensuring you don’t die. Outside of this though, it is the only new addition.
One of the largest draws to the game has always been the vast number of guns that you have the ability to buy or find around the game. You have your standard explosion, elemental damage, and trigger pull weapons that have been around since the beginning. The new addition to the extra damage is Cryo damage, Cryo allows you to freeze your enemy and if you like, you can go smash them to pieces. The new guns to the game are the laser guns, and they each have different rates of fire and utility. You have your classic pew pew single shot laser guns, you have a shotgun type, and you also have a steady beam type that is basically just like being a Ghostbuster.
When playing the game I highly suggest playing online vs playing solo. My reasoning behind this is that the enemies always seem to be a little stronger than you no matter what throughout the game, and having someone to watch your back is a big plus. Playing online also allows you to learn about the other classes and what they bring to the table when it comes to taking down a larger baddy. It also allows you to learn your own class and how you can either help or hinder your team. For example, if you are the Gladiator and you see someone getting their butt kicked, be a good person and soak up some of that damage with your shield for them. Online is also a good idea for new players as well who don’t know what the heck they are doing in this game. Follow those around you, learn from them, and then apply it to the way you play the game yourself.
The graphics are pretty much identical to Borderlands 2 with the same stylized approach it has taken to all games. The one noticeable add to the graphics is the noticeable bloom effect that any light source will fully take advantage of, and will sometimes take away from the environments natural comic beauty.
The only downside to playing online is that you lose the ability to really take in the story and your surroundings since there will be one person who no matter what wants to blow through and just progress the story. If you want to take in the story, play through once online, then go back and take a leisurely stroll through the world and do as you wish.
My overall opinion of the game though is that… its ok. It didn’t blow me away like Borderlands 2 did, but I did have a lot of fun moments and laughs about the game. I do not agree with the negative consensus though that this should have just been a Borderlands 2 add on, this holds up well as its own game.
+ familliar gameplay
+ Jack is back!
+ Laser guns
+ online play is smooth and fun
- doesn't stand out
- bloom effect is too much
- did not stand out from other games