If you’ve been reading my posts you probably know that I’m a huge Borderlands 2 fan. So I’ve been looking forward to playing The Pre-Sequel since a long time. And now that I’ve finally completed it, this post had to be made!
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is developed by 2K Australia (yeah, not Gearbox) and its story follows the rise of Handsome Jack from a low level Hyperion employee to being the sadistically sarcastic asshole that he’s known to be.
I’ve got a friend who’s a huge fan of Borderlands 2. And by huge, I mean like really huge. That guy used to play the game day and night. He still does (sometimes). When he played TPS he was so disappointed that he didn’t even complete the game. Unbelievable! A guy who loved Borderlands 2 so much didn’t even complete The Pre-Sequel! Was it really that bad ?
No, its not. But its also nowhere near the masterpiece that Borderlands 2 was. If you’re someone who loved the Borderlands series and is just looking for more of that addictive formula then this is the game for you.
I’ll start with some positives of the game :
Obviously, the biggest perk of the game like any other game in the Borderlands series is the gameplay. This game actually improves on the spectacular gameplay mechanics of Borderlands 2. As the game takes place on Elpis, Pandora’s moon, the zero-gravity atmosphere allows for some really long jumps and with the press of a button you can float in midair for a few seconds longer or slam down on the ground, hurting your enemies.
There’s also an oxygen bar which depletes a little every time you slam or float. But that doesn’t cause too much of a problem as there are plenty of oxygen canisters and other things to be found. Once you get used to the zero gravity mechanics, you won’t be able to play without them!
As always, the loot system in Borderlands is pretty solid. All of your favorite gun manufacturers are back on the moon plus there’s a new one. There are also two new gun types added : Lasers and Cryo weapons.
Freezing an enemy with a cryo gun and watching frozen pieces of his body float off into space is just too damn satisfying! Lasers guns are a welcome addition too.
There’s also a new vending machine called the Grinder. You input three weapons into the grinder of the same rarity/color and it gives you a weapon of the higher rarity (not always, but most of the times I got a rarer gun). This made collecting loot all the more fun for me. In Borderlands 2, if you got an unsatisfactory gun, you’d just sell it for some cash or maybe not even pick it up but in TPS you can feed it to the Grinder and have a chance of getting a better gun.
This is probably the biggest fan service Borderlands fans could have ever gotten. Claptrap as a playable character! So Claptrap has got a unique Action skill in which he activates a program called vaulthunter.exe. He then randomly chooses an ability out of the ones he has. Most of the abilities are intentional copies of other vault hunters’ abilities. But as he’s Claptrap, there’s always a slight twist involved in each ability. He also has some original ones which are pretty funny too. My favorite is the Laser Inferno in which a disco ball hangs from the top of the screen and it shoots elemental lights (lasers) which damage the enemy’s health, all the while playing a funky background music. Just classic hilarious Claptrap!
In some of his abilities, he deploys a minion and once all the enemies have been wiped out, they tell each other knock-knock jokes! Yeah, they’re sometimes lame but since I just adore this robot, it’s worth the while for me.
Up until I had played this game Lilith was my favorite non-playable character. She was just so badass in Borderlands 2. Jack was a really good antagonist in B2 but I just liked Lilith more.
But then The Pre-Sequel happened and oh boy, Jack is just freaking AWESOME in this game! The voice acting, his dialogue and the animation is just spot on. In my opinion, he’s even better here than in B2 as he’s got lot of screen time here.
Forget Lilith, Jack is now my second favorite character in the series (after Claptrap of course).
Fun Fact : Jack’s body double is also playable in the game as a DLC character! See, the fan service is just incredible in this game! There are also some cameos from returning characters which you’ll enjoy a lot if you’ve played B2.
The reason I didn’t mention this point before the others is that the story is tad bit slow in the beginning. But once it picks up during the second half of the game, you just won’t be able to stop playing the game! During the second half, you learn about the establishment of some things that are already prevalent in B2. In some of those moments you’re gonna go like “Holy shit, so that’s how those things came in B2!” Also there’s one particular emotional moment in the second half which just made me feel so bad I can’t even…. Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you!
The negatives now :
Level Design and the Environment
As cool as the space environment and moon surface may look in the trailers and gameplay, it gets pretty boring and repetitive after a couple’o missions. The game does have different locations-both indoor and on the moon but there’s just not that much variety like there was in B2. Don’t let this set you off though, this is just a minor flow.
The major flaw is the level design. Some of the levels are just so hard to traverse even in a vehicle. I’d just keep on falling in lava pits or in the infinite space and would hence die. The zero gravity thing, even though I like a lot just made the levels even harder in this context. There were like a hundred moments when I’d be on the verge of rage quitting the game just because I couldn’t find a way to the location on the map. Maybe this won’t be a problem for you, but it affected my experience a lot.
Most of the side missions in this game suck. They aren’t even interesting or funny like the ones in B2 and just have you travelling back and forth between places and maps. And guess what ? The awful level designing and monotonous locations don’t help a bit. This is the reason I was so underlevelled when I faced the final bosses because I just didn’t do those side missions. Though, there are a few interesting missions.
Side-note : The missions probably wouldn’t have sucked so much if the level designing wasn’t this terrible and that’s just me. You might like doing the side missions or love the levels. I don’t know.
Here are some screenshots of the game :
To conclude, the game is enjoyable if you lower your expectations before starting it. Did you notice how most of my faults with the game were just in comparison to B2 ? When I started the game, I just forced myself not to overhype this game, so I thought of this as a mere expansion or DLC for Borderlands 2 and it does play like that in the first half. But in the second half when the story gets going, it really is as fun as Borderlands 2 (if you ignore the level design thing. Idk it just bugged me a lot!)
Highly recommended if you’re a Borderlands fan. If you’re new to the series, just go play Borderlands 2 first!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below!