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G’Day Glitch Hunters, I am Isentropic, and today we venture back into the Borderlands universe, but for the first time, on a new planet in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel.
Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is the third release in the Borderlands franchise and an interquel between Borderlands and Borderlands 2. Developed primarily by 2K Australia in conjunction with Gearbox Software, the Pre-Sequel offers some Australian spice to the tried and tested Borderlands recipe.
The story kicks off in Sanctuary after the events of Borderlands 2, with Lilith, Brick and Mordecai interrogating the captive Athena. The story of the Pre-Sequel is unravelled through Athena recounting the events that led to her meeting and allying with Handsome Jack, and her adventures on Pandora’s moon Elpis. I enjoyed this recount style story, and the little segues that occur between Athena and her interrogators. The Pre-Sequel also offers an interesting insight into Handsome Jack as a character, and I am looking forward to following his inevitable spiral into the villain of Borderlands 2.
As with previous Borderlands releases, the Pre-Sequel brings with it 4 new character classes, the Gladiator, the Enforcer, the Lawbringer and the Mistake or Fragtrap. Athena, the Gladiator uses her Aspis, a sort of electric shield, which absorbs damage from incoming projectiles and harnesses it to heal players and return damage. Athena’s Aspis is as cool as it sounds, and I felt like a complete badass every time I tossed my shield at an enemy.
Wilhelm, the Enforcer can release 2 drones, Wolf and Saint, with them being dedicated to attack and support roles, respectively. I am looking forward to completing a play through with Wilhelm, while his skills are rather similar to the commando and soldier before him, the transition Wilhelm makes from human to Borderlands 2 cyborg boss, will be cool to see.
Nisha, the Lawbringer, and future sheriff of Lynchwood in Borderlands 2, has the Showdown ability, which drastically increases gun damage and slows time. The Showdown ability also allows the player to cycle through enemies with auto-aim, allowing Nisha to deal devastating amounts of damage. I am not much of a fan of Nisha, as the Showdown ability feels a little cheap to me.
The final character, Claptrap, the Fragtrap, is a comical inclusion into the class line up of the Pre-Sequel. Claptrap’s, VaultHunter.exe ability chooses its output by analysing, the health of the player, and the type and amount of enemies present. I haven’t spent a lot of time using Claptrap so far, but judging by some of the outcomes of his abilities and the warnings the game provides when selecting him, I expect this character will be most enjoyable when used in multiplayer with friends.
The Pre-Sequel, follows the same formula as previous Borderlands releases. The aim of the game is to kill everything for sweet loot. Laser weapons are a new gun type for this instalment, and have differing effects which depend on whether they are shot inside or outside of an atmosphere. Cryo, a new elemental type, has also been added to the player’s arsenal, and can freeze opponents setting them up for some sweet smashing actions using melee attacks.
Questing as expected is solid in the Pre-Sequel, with players swimming in a sea of story and side missions. Badass ranks make another appearance as well, helping to give the player more benefits that they can carry across to multiple characters.
The main gameplay changes introduced by the Pre-Sequel, outside of lasers and cryo damage, are Oz Kits, the ground slam and the Stingray, hover bikes. As this instalment is set on Elpis, the moon of Pandora, many sections of combat take place in no atmosphere, low gravity environments. Oz kits while supplying oxygen to the player, can also be used as a booster, helping players jump huge distances. The introduction of booster jumping and in air manoeuvring and combat, also paved the way for another great mechanic, the ground slam.
Player’s when in the air are able to come rocketing back to the moon’s surface, causing damage to nearby enemies based off the height the character fell from. I love this ground slam mechanic, and there is nothing more satisfying then ground slamming into a battle, sending all your enemies flying back, before dispensing a hefty amount of gun damage while they are still in the air. A new vehicle, the Stingray, is unlocked through the main story missions and while cool to ride, I didn’t find these hover bikes to be that exciting, but they are a little easier to control than the standard moon buggies.
Visually, Elpis areas are different than the locations on Pandora, but still ended up feeling too similar for me. The music of the Pre-Sequel is great and works in well with the Borderlands universe. As we have all come to expect the game story kicks off with a musical interlude, and the song selected for this fits well.
Borderlands The Pre-Sequel is another great entry for the series and is extremely entertaining and addictive. It never ceases to amaze me how fun these games are, and I commend 2K Australia for including a lot of great Australian humour in this title. The only bad point and up coming issue that the Pre-Sequel and the Borderlands series as a whole is starting to have, is series fatigue. This issue will be the biggest challenge of the next release, but doesn’t have a major effect on this instalment. All in all Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is a great game, filled with memorable characters, exciting combat and wacky humour and has earned 9 out of 10 from me.
Available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Mac.