The Borderlands series has provided a refreshing and much-needed dash of variety to the shooter genre. The key thing Borderlands 2 did so well was it didn’t just replicate what came before, but it advanced in multiple sectors of gameplay and character progression. It felt like something that pushed the series forward. At a glance, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel looks like a new take on the series; with low gravity fighting on the Moon and the chance to explore more of the Borderlands universe, it seemed like it would be easy to justify another dip into Last-Gen territory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as satisfying for me as I had hoped.
The new roster of playable characters are, luckily, as sweet as ever, which is good. It’s also nice to see the return of characters such as Wilhelm and Nisha, after repeatedly XP farming them in previous titles. A notable addition to the playable slate includes the likes of everyone’s favourite bad-ass robot, Claptrap. He’s quite simply the marmite of robots, but I’d be lying if I didn’t like marmite, I love it! As before, the character creation offers a list of uninteresting skins, but some rather enjoyable head customisations.
Opening with a frantic and funny driving scene, Athena is caught in the middle of being questioned by Lilith. She explains her backstory of how she became a Vault Hunter fo Handsome Jack, before the scene cuts to an awesome train robbery! Seeing as the opening moments of the series are often my favourite, I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw here.
As soon as you’re into gameplay it’s nothing but fast-paced shooting and all-out action. I’d be lying if everything looked different, but the fact it’s on the Moon doesn’t change much. The low gravity is neat, but nothing groundbreaking. Within twenty minutes I was faced with a boss battle, but it was far too easy. Other people might have to be eased into these things, but I’m a hardcore veteran, bring it on!
Level progression is the same, too. As you rank up, you’ll also earn skill points to then put towards one of the many skill trees at your disposal. One fantastic change is that the player now unlocks their characters special ability at level three, opposite level five in previous games. This opens up the game early on, making it a blast right off the bat.
Story-wise I was quite impressed as well. The game lives up to its name, as it wraps up all the little mysteries of how and why Handsome Jack wanted to open the vault on Pandora. The writing and voice acting are, as usual, phenomenal. Each character has his or her own intricacies that make them a joy to be around or interact with. There is plenty of it to enjoy too, as the game clocks in at around 18-20 hours, providing enough for any Borderlands fan looking to get a fix.
The key thing that makes the series different from other shooters on the market is its loving art direction and fun, wacky characters. With the Pre-Sequel that hasn’t changed, but in relation, not a lot has moved forward. I feel like I’ve been sold a game wherein everything has simply been copy and pasted from the title before. Sure it’s got a handful of new features, such as low gravity on the Moon, but I feel as though this is an overpriced piece of DLC.
*Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! was provided to Start Replay on Xbox 360 courtesy of Xbox
- Phenomenal writing/voice acting
- Great links to Borderlands 1 and 2
- Too expensive for something that looks like DLC
- Near-identical in presentation to Borderlands 2