by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
The main new aspect of The Pre-Sequel is the adaption of special Oxygen kits known as O2 Kits or Oz Kits. These Oz kits allow our characters to breathe air when traversing the lunar landscape. But that is not all they do. The Oz kits also allow the Vault Hunters to perform high jumps, hover and glide across ravines or even produces ground-slamming attacks. But with limited air supply in these kits, it means that they become a valuable commodity on Elpis.
The fact that the action takes place on the moon, an atmosphere with less gravity also means that jumping across large crevices is possible. Add to that, the ability to vent the Oz kit so that it works like a jetpack and you have a character that could potentially spend some time in the air taking pot shots at enemies on the ground.
Guns, Guns and more Guns
The Pre-Sequel continues the trends set by the previous two games in the series, in that there are a multitude of weapons to collect as you traverse the moon of Elpis. There are the same mix of gun manufacturers as in previous Borderlands titles and a couple more thrown into the mix, such as the ice gun, which is rather cool. The guns still have their different rareness variations, and finding the rarer weapons amongst the plethora of looted guns is always a joy. As with previous Borderlands games, weapons can also come with a variety of elemental effects. Fire, Shock, Explosive and Corrosive weapon effects can help turn the tide of a particular skirmish. Different enemies are more prone to each type of elemental weapon. Working out which is half the fun.
The somewhat basic RPG elements continue to work rather well in The Pre-Sequel. Upon levelling up, the choice is open to the player as to how they ‘upgrade’ their character. Each of the four playable characters have individual skill trees (three each) based on their special abilities. Some of the skills are for personal use (such as increasing the length of time their special ability operates), whilst others provide buffs and protection for allies. This is particularly useful when playing in co-op mode.
Along with the level-up bonuses, players are also rewarded with Badass Points whenever they complete certain challenges. The challenges can be as simple as opening a certain amount of loot boxes or scoring a certain amount of headshots. The Badass Rank points can then be used to increase various weapon and shield effects.
Elpis is Australia
2K Australia has made sure that there are a ton of Aussie references throughout the game. Some that non-Aussie may not pick up, some that are obvious. The accents of many of the new characters on Elpis are Australian (well, an Americanised Australian). Janey Springs will no doubt become a new favourite of many with her funny quips. And much of the dialogue has uniquely Australian context. At one stage, one of the Claptrap units even called my character ‘cobber’, an Aussie slang word for friend. And then there are the bosses. Boomer, The Swagman and Fair Dinkum all have particularly Aussie sentiments. But the boss I enjoyed the most was RedBelly, with the developers paying homage to the bushranger Ned Kelly, even down to having a similar metal helmet to the legendary outlaw.
If it ain’t broke...
Don’t fix it. At least that is the message that I seemed to get out of Gearbox’s latest title. With the previous two Borderlands being so impressive, there was little need for change. And that is exactly what has been delivered. Apart from a somewhat new storyline (one that had to fit within the Borderlands lore), the new location and the couple of new gameplay mechanics, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is largely the same as the previous games in the series. The visuals retain the gorgeous cel-shaded style of the original, the fully voiced conversations are humorous and entertaining to listen to, the upgrade choices remain varied, and the loot remains obscenely easy to collect. Combined with the great Boss Battles, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is definitely a must-have for Borderlands fans and should be high on the wishlist for everyone else.
New setting, same great gameplay, humorous dialogue, loads of Aussie references.
Don't expect huge changes to the gameplay, as it is largely unchanged from the previous Borderlands games