I can remember the first time I played Borderlands. I spent so much time in that game, and with how big it is, who wouldn’t? To me it seemed like the first of its kind. A few years later Borderlands 2 came to us, which brought out more of the back-story and–more importantly–information about the planet. However, there were a lot of questions left to be asked as you beat the game.
Fast forward a few years later and Gearbox has released Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Does it follow the path of excellence laid down by its predecessors, or does it falter?
Many of you may already know the story behind Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but you may not know the story behind Jack, this group of Vault Hunters, or the moon of Pandora. While you don’t learn about Jack during the first game, you do learn about Athena, who’s a playable character within Pre-Sequel. The first game provided so much replay value that to this day I go back to play the DLC with one of my many characters. I would go into the story about the first game, but will not since some of you reading may have never played the first title (I don’t like giving spoilers to those who’ve yet to play a game). In Borderlands 2 you learned more about Jack and killed off Wilhelm. (Yes, that was a tiny spoiler towards Wilhelm, but you will not see another one for the rest of this review.)
You may be wondering about quality. With any game I happen to play the first thing I toy around with are the controls to see how fluid they may be. No one wants a layout that is annoying. If you’re experienced with the franchise, you’re in luck, since there would be no learning curve. If you’re new, it will take no time at all since the game throws you head first into learning what does what. The gameplay itself is very sturdy from the start since it looks at what made the past two games good and pulls from them–including characters we’ve grown to love or have a crush on (You know I’m right when you’re seeing Moxxi within the game). As for the story itself, I was confused by how quickly I ran through it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but when you’re talking about a game with a huge fan base and an expanding canon, most people want something with some meat, and not something to rush through (I didn’t rush through the game–I happen to have four level 50 characters at the time of writing this).
While the story does get to the point of what’s going on between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, it leaves you with questions in select areas. Even though the questions may be answered in future DLC, such as Jack’s duplicate, it doesn’t help that you’ll quickly go through the main story. Don’t get me started on the raid boss, since I was a bit annoyed about that one. I was expecting something harder, yet something that you don’t fight once already in-game. Again, it could be in future DLC that we get something that Borderlands fans will take quite some time to beat rather than figuring out a quick way to farm the boss with no real worries on dying. As for graphics, they are reminiscent of the first two games in the series. The biggest changes are the physics of the new location, such as the anti-gravity environment, and new types of weapons available to be looted. The style of the graphics has been maintained, but there have been improvements to the crispness. Some characters will sound familiar from the original games, but others may not due to voice actor changes.
Overall, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a great game. While it does have its flaws, Gearbox has done an outstanding job adding to this franchise, and it’s something I hope happens once again. If you’re looking for a good game to pass time with friends this is the one to get. The controls are intuitive and the story itself has the perfect amount of details to keep players interested, but it would be great if the game felt longer and not something that can be beaten within a day’s worth of playing with friends. Let it be known playing True Vault Hunter Mode is fun with friends, and makes the gameplay seem a bit longer with the extra exploring you’ll do. So the up side is that the second playthrough will be as fun as, if not better than, the first.
The Xbox 360 version of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was provided by 2K Games for review purposes.