Hi everyone, my name is Tahlia, and I’m a Borderlands 2 addict. Well, I was, until this game came along. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, was released on October 14, 2014 and currently rates a 7/10 from Steam and an 8/10 from IGN.com. It’s an RPG/FPS and continues the use of Cel Shading graphics that were used in the previous two games to create a cartoonish effect within the game. Oh, and it’s really fun.
Anyway, enough jargon, let’s meet the characters.
Athena – The Gladiator; Acts as the story’s main character and special skill uses a shield that absorbs damage and can also be thrown at enemies like a boomerang. Good stuff.
Wilhelm – The Enforcer; Both man and machine, Wilhelm’s special skill are the drones (Wolf and Saint) he throws out to accompany him in battle.
Nisha – The Lawbringer; Don’t let the sweet cowboy hat fool ya, this chick’s special skill is a showdown of increased gun damage and speed, allowing her to quickly switch between enemies.
and my personal favourite….
Claptrap – The
mistake Fragtrap. This guy’s appearance as a playable character made my life complete. He is the only character that doesn’t require oxygen and therefore running out while in space isn’t a concerning factor. His special skill is ‘VaultHunter.Exe’ – technically classed as Malware. It runs a diagnosis of whats going on around you and gives you a special skill depending on what’s going on. From spewing out 100 grenades, to bouncing around on a rubber ducky, and well, becoming a cannon-firing Pirate ship. Honestly, what more could you want in life?
The game’s plot takes place between the events of Borderlands 1 & 2. You play as a Vault Hunter hired by a low level Hyperion worker named John (but you can call him Jack) and help him out as he tries to save Helios from getting taken over. Colonel T. Zarpedon’s ‘Lost Legion’ troops are taking over Hyperion headquarters and shit is going down. Fast. After discovering that a jamming signal is preventing him from accessing Helios’ defense systems, Jack sends you to check it out on the moons surface while he tries to salvage what he can at Hyperion. So off you go. To the moon. Without any oxygen or supplies. Sweet.
THINGS TO SEE AND PEOPLE TO DO: THINGS TO DO AND PEOPLE TO SEE:
Now as much as I’d like to divulge into the rest of the plot that stretches across the game, I’ll let you guys do that on your own. Once you’ve landed on the moons surface you meet a whole bunch of cool people, and during the first chapter or two, most of the people you meet are Australian. As a New Zealander, this was not ideal, mostly because it makes you realise how bad our accents are compared to everyone else in the world. However you do also make friends with robots, mad scientists and all other sorts of nut jobs throughout the game. The optional side missions that dot across the maps vary from carrying messages to freeing hostages, dealing with a really stupid claptrap and even play matchmaker between a crazy scientist and Jack.
Completing optional missions gives you more XP, more money, and generally you can expect a choice of loot, although I usually found that my items were already better than what the mission offered. You can obtain loot (guns, grenade mods, shields, health, money and Oz kits) from dead enemies, vending machines, shops and all manner of boxes, cases, toilets, and weird piles of god knows what that are found across the map. Generally, a good rule is that; The bigger the enemy, the better the loot. So for example a badass, boss or higher level enemy will have a higher chance of dropping more/better/rarer loot than a basic enemy that’s the same level than you or lower. Going back to repeat missions and farming the ‘raid boss’ is a good way to get rarer items too, just saying.
Speaking of levels, as you progress through the game, you’ll level up after gaining a certain amount of XP from killing enemies and doing optional missions, and like most games, you can upgrade your skills and add new ones as you progress. Borderlands characters are provided with 3 different skill trees to build on, so you can pick which area suits you best and work your way through that particular tree, with each character’s trees usually revolving around their special skill. The game also offers ‘Badass Ranks’ which you earn from reaching milestones. Redeeming Badass Ranks allows you to fine tune your skills and give your character that little bit extra. You can reduce the shield recharge delay, increase gun damage, max health, melee damage, reduce recoil, you name it.
Lovely Ladies; Janey Springs (above); Black Marketeer, Heart of Gold. (May hit on you if you are a female). Felicity; a.k.a Skipper (below). The AI that eventually is used to become Jack’s first bot constructor.
Generally speaking, the gameplay is pretty similar to Borderlands 2. Notable new features that occur during the game are the use of ‘laser’ and new element ‘Cryo’ weapons, while the use of Eridium/slag is kept within the world of Borderlands 2. The reduced gravity on the moon allows players to jump higher/further and use their Oz kits as a jetpack, increasing the jump length/height. After jumping, players can also slam down onto the ground and create ‘slam damage’, which destroys air masks, pushes away close enemies and, if you find the right one, makes you let out a giant fart as you slam down, corroding away your enemies skin. I actually had that Oz kit, and even though I had better ones, I continued to use it simply because, well, farts are hilarious.
Corrosive flatulence aside, the engine used for Borderlands 2 is the same one used in the Pre Sequel, explaining why the game was not initially released on the new generation consoles (because they would have had to create a new engine). In saying that, there is now the ‘Handsome Collection’ on Xbox One, which contains a remastered Borderlands 2 and Pre-Sequel.
When it comes to fighting enemies, the best thing you can do is keep a variety of weapons equipped, as different elemental weapons are more effective on different enemies. For example, fire is not going to be effective against enemies with a whole lot of amour, so use a corrosive weapon instead to wear down their amour and kill them more quickly. Shock weapons are extremely effective against shields (*cough* good for bosses *cough*) and Cryo weapons can turn enemies into icicles, which you can then smash with a melee attack.
Both the main story and optional missions allude to events from both Borderlands 1 & 2, which makes sense considering it’s set in between the two previous games. This does provide a good closely-knit story and sense of continuity to the franchise, which I like.
Generally speaking, there aren’t a lot of major gameplay differences between the Pre Sequel and Borderlands 2, which made it a little less special to me. All the tactics I used in Borderlands 2 could be applied to The Pre Sequel with the addition of using slam/cryo/lasers to damage opponents. Semi bosses provide a good challenge though, as each one made me stop and think “okay, that doesn’t work, let’s try something else.” The final boss battle was pretty decent too, I spent ages on it only to ragequit and spend time doing optional mission to level up a bit more. After leaving the game alone for a few weeks, I went back and surprisingly defeated the boss first try. Because I’m a pro gamer. Obviously not a fluke guys.
BUT TAHLIE WHAT DID YOU THINK??
Overall, in my own opinion: 8/10
The Borderlands team made a sweet new shoot’n’loot game that kept the essence of insanity that we all loved so much in Borderlands 1 & 2. The side missions take you on weird and hilarious adventures, and the main story is great, everyone loves to see the rise of an antagonist and we certainly see Jack’s destructive tendencies from day 1. Keeping the same engine used for Borderlands 2 was good, I enjoyed using the familiar layout , although I can’t help but wonder if adding more features would have given the game a larger sense of ‘newness’, as I did feel like I was re-playing Borderlands 2 with different environments. Perhaps adding more areas where a bit more problem solving is required would add a cool feature to the game, as you can essentially get through the whole game by putting enough bullets in whoever is in your way. Then again, isn’t that what Borderlands is all about?
Hope you guys enjoyed my first review ever! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a raid boss to farm.