by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Away from Pandora
Funnily enough, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel begins after the events of Borderlands 2 on a flying city known as Sanctuary. It is here that the Vault Hunters from the original Borderlands, Lilith, Brick and Mordecai capture Athena (one of the four playable characters). Athena relates the story of how she was working for a Hyperion employee by the name of Jack – the man we know as Handsome Jack. From this point, the game returns to a moment prior to Borderlands 2, to a time when Handsome Jack wasn’t some maniacal power crazed despot. Instead, the primary antagonist is Colonel Zarpedon, the commander of a rogue military unit that takes over the Helios Space Station. The game also moves away from Pandora, instead heading to Elpis, Pandora’s Moon. Elpis does have that Pandora look and feel though, blending the game seamlessly into the Borderlands universe.
Playable characters and classes
The Pre-Sequel again lets you choose from one of four characters, each of which may be familiar to Borderlands veterans. Each has their own unique abilities and is more adept at certain weapons. Athena, known as ‘the Gladiator’, has an ability known as Kinetic Aspis. It is essentially a shield that deflects all the enemy damage and then when it wears down can be thrown – Captain America style – at the nearby enemies. Nisha, ‘the Lawbringer’ has the special ability known as Showdown, which increases gun damage, firing rate, reload speed and accuracy for a short period of time.
Claptrap, everyone’s favourite robot (OK, not including Bender from Futurama) is back, but now as a playable character. He is probably the weakest of the four characters but is certainly fun to play. His special ability, known as Vaulthunter.exe can be a little frustrating at times as it often leads to damaging your squad members as well as enemies. Wilhelm, aka ‘the Enforcer’, can summon two drones that aid in attacking enemies or protect himself and allies. As the game progresses, Wilhelm becomes more robotic resulting in the boss character faced in Borderlands 2.
Old faces and new
A host of familiar characters appear in The Pre-Sequel and most have some sort of quest that needs to be completed in order for the main storyline to continue. Our favourite bartender, Moxxi, still draws a crowd to her bar. Lilith, Roland and, as mentioned Handsome Jack, make appearances, but there are a host of other NPCs that have a unique style and some great (fully voiced) dialogue and can offer side quests if you decide to head off the main path.
Whether you stick to the main storyline, or go adventuring to complete the numerous side quests, there will be a vast number of enemies you’ll need to contend with. Combat is largely identical to the previous Borderlands titles and although the enemies look slightly different and have different names on Elpis, there is clearly a link to similar enemies from Pandora. Kraggons are virtually re-skinned Skags, Scavs are re-designed Bandits and Rathyds are primarily the same as Rakks from Borderlands 2. New players to the Borderlands series will be none-the-wiser, and although Borderlands veterans will immediately recognize the similarities between characters, the fun in taking them down remains.
This goes double for Boss battles. As with the previous Borderlands titles, boss battles are immensely rewarding. Tough but rewarding. The Boss battles can often result in a number of deaths and resurrections as you work out the best solution for dealing with these powerful characters.
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