21st Nov2014

‘Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


I’m a big Borderlands fan, I’ve played the first two games way too much and I love them.  Tales of the Borderlands is just around the corner and I’ve finally made the leap and played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.  With 2K Australia taking over development of the game though, I was worried that there would be changes, and to some extent is the case, but is it still the Borderlands we know and love?

The answer to that is yes, but I did feel that there was something missing though this feeling was lessened when I finally completed it.  As with Borderlands 2 you enter True Vault Hunter mode, but this time Tiny Tina wants to hear the story and add her comments instead of Lilith’s more interrogating style.  For me this added something more to it and actually freshens up the experience, unlike in Borderlands 2 where True Vault Hunter mode felt like just a harder version of the game, there is more of a change to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to keep you playing.

In the Pre-Sequel we take part in Handsome Jack’s backstory, playing the role of Athena the Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer, Nisha the Lawbringer and Claptrap the Fragtrap.  Owners of the first two games will know these characters well (unless you didn’t touch the DLC for Borderlands then you may wonder who Athena is).  Each character has their own skill tree sets and own story.  It does become clear though that this is mainly Athena’s story as she narrates it along with some other characters who discuss her version of events as the story progresses.

One nice tough in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has to be the Australian feel to the game and it does add a certain charm to it.  There is nothing like being insulted by an alien with an Australian accent as you are floating over them then butt slamming them off into space …and yes I said butt slamming.  With the change in gravity and the addition of the Oz Kit you not only have the addition of oxygen dependency (unless you play as Claptrap) but also the ability to jump for longer and slam back to the ground using the impact as a weapon.  This changes your style of fighting and adds to the fun.  The butt slam is a very good addition to your arsenal, and with new weapons such as lasers and freeze guns there is enough difference to make the game feel different than other Borderlands games.

At this point I’ve completed the game with Wilhelm and played a fair chunk of it as Athena.  I’m yet to try Nisha, have experimented a little with Claptrap and have yet to buy the Handsome Jack Doppelganger DLC character, but I will do in time.  For fans of Borderlands each character is sufficiently different to be interesting in their own right and you do feel the need to play the game with each of them to fully experience their story.  I particularly like fact the story does feel personal to them, with Wilhelm for example showing his agreement with Jack no matter how dark the motives get, even congratulating some of the more evil choices, showing the blossoming work relationship between the two.

Being able to witness the story of Handsome Jacks rise to infamy (or fall?) is what I found the most interesting about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and I don’t want to give away too much but his turning towards the dark side isn’t as clear-cut as expected for me.  The way people from Borderlands 2 not only take part in the story but have a big part to play in events solidifies the connection between both previous Borderlands games and it’s even arguable that they have a big part in what happened in Borderlands 2 because of what they do to Jack.  There is a blurring of moral lines here but you can’t help but feel sorry for Jack.

I will soon be adding the season pass to my Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel but I do admit I am torn as to whether to do it or not, mostly because of the price.  I do want to play as the Handsome Jack Doppelganger and I’m pretty sure I’ll want the other slices of DLC that come out, so the cheapest way is to buy the season pass logically.  Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel doesn’t reach the heights of Borderlands 2 and personally I can’t shake the feeling that something was lacking from the game.  The fact is though it is still fun, the humour is still there and there is plenty to do in the game so it is well worth the purchase.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is available on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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