Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Review
So, we’re doing this all again huh?
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a Borderlands games. Huh, well that was an easy review! Ok, slightly longer? Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a very average Borderlands game. It still does all the things a Borderlands game should do, there is still 7 sequillion guns or however many Gearbox says there is now, it’s still fun running around with 4 friends and doing zany missions, but in the end this is game should’ve been a Borderlands 2 expansion and should not have cost the same as a full price game, because it simply isn’t.
So, in case you’re unfamiliar with what a Borderlands game is, here is the rundown: You play one of 4 unique and different classes, each with their own talent trees and special abilities. Your choices are between Wilhelm the Enforcer, Athena the Gladiator, Nisha the Lawbringer and Claptrap a really stupid annoying robot, I mean the Fragtrap. You then take your character and fight through different areas with different kinds of bad guys for you to shoot at with an enormous array of guns. Everything from rocket launchers, assault rifles, smgs, pistols, sniper rifles and even the new laser guns can be used by you to inflict horrible injuries on all that stands between you and whatever quest objective you’ve been given by a random NPC (or bounty board). You use these quests to find new loot in the form of new guns, shields, class specific equips, skins, and ammo. You all use the experience you get from killing dudes, looting stuff and doing quests to level up your character, unlocking new abilities in one of the 3 talent trees that each character has. Ok, that’s the rundown of a Borderlands game, and generally all of this stuff is pretty fun. It’s nice to run around with a bunch of friends, or even solo and blow away colourful enemies with a ridiculous array of weapons is satisfying. This game is situated between the last 2 games, and focuses on the character of Jack, who was the main villain of the last game. Throughout the course of this one you get to see what happened to turn him into that. You see him go from a scared man, afraid of is going on around him, to an egotistical, bloodthirsty titan out for nothing more than his own gain to get revenge on those that have wronged him. Watching the way his character slowly progresses over the course of the story is easily the games biggest highlight, and is the most well written and fleshed out part of the entire experience.
So to any of you who have played a Borderlands game before, that is exactly what you’re getting here. The game is unashamedly similar to Borderlands 2, in fact the UI and menu screens are exactly the same…not kind of the same, exactly the same. In fact there aren’t a lot of new additions to this game in general. Apart from the addition of Laser gun, which fires a beam of varying types of energy at your enemies, the only new addition is that of an oxygen system. Seeing as the game takes places primarily on the moon Elpis, you need to preserve your oxygen levels while outside or else you’ll start to slowly die. The Oxygen systems, called OzKits (because it was developed by Australians, get it?!) are pieces of equipment that you attach to your character that change around a small number of stats. The thing is, the oxygen system breaks up the fast paced flow of the game. If you catch yourself outside for longer than you expected in a particular difficult fight, you’ll find yourself running out of oxygen and slowly dying. Even if there is a particularly annoying jump puzzle that’s taking more attempts than you thought, you then have to stop what you’re doing, find somewhere to refill your OzKit and then go back to it, which is annoying and ruins the flow of the game.
There a bunch of other small gripes as well, such as enemies clipping through the floor or walls, a character that is shown to be a huge threat at the start of the game and then promptly never shows up again until right near the very end with no explanation of what it is and where it came from, and then there is the writing. Borderlands has never had amazing writing by any means, but over the last couple games and their accompanying expansions they have written some pretty excellent characters. General Knoxx from Borderlands 1 is a huge stand out, as was Sir Hammerlock from Borderlands 2 are definite standouts. In this game the writing has no subtlety whatsoever, everything is just a huge sledgehammer of obviousness so that you can’t possibly miss the point that they are trying to make here. A good example is one of the first main support characters you meet early on, Janey Springs. She’s portrayed as a happy-go-lucky, down to earth and generally very upbeat character. Then in the middle of a quest it they drop on you that she had a daughter that was killed by the local wildlife, without a hint of subtlety, and then it’s never mentioned again. There are number of other examples I could give you of how lazy the writing is but I’m trying to keep this short.
So to keep it short, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel does nothing that Borderlands 2 didn’t already do, and they did it better. Getting to see the story that takes place between the first 2 games, and watching the progression of Jack as a character is the highlight of the entire game. But the terrible writing, the addition of a useless Oxygen system, and the fact that this is a full price game that adds nothing to what the last game in the series game did already. This is a game best for die-hard fans of the series or to be bought at a discounted price.