Borderlands: The Pre-sequel – Jinx’s Top 5 Pros and Cons

borderlands-pre-sequel

So, this week I’m jumping into the video games genre and talking about the newest installment of one of my favorite series of all time, Borderlands.  Their newest game, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel falls right in between the 1st and 2nd Borderlands games and brings you 4 new characters to play and also brings anti-gravity, lasers, Oz kits/tanks, and the cryo status effect.  There will be additional DLC, which will include 2 additional characters to play and additional places to explore.

For those that aren’t familiar with Borderlands, it’s a first person shooter that brings RPG’s, comedy, terribly interesting characters and their development, as well as a fun story, to it’s own unique and addicting level.

So, being an avid player of both of the first games, and with this game promising to be using the same structure as borderlands 2, I was pretty psyched.  So let’s jump right into the meat of things and discuss what this game has to offer:

Pros

  1.   You have 4 new and interesting characters to play, most of which are enemy characters found in previous games, including a cybernetic implant junkie, a estranged gladiator with a  absorption shield, a gun toting wild west sheriff type and a robot who has a personality disorder.  The characters have interesting and often funny backgrounds, have much more personality and interaction than in previous borderlands games (they talk in person when asked a question most of the time) and add new insight into the minds of the enemies you faced in the previous versions of the game.
  2. The new elements brought to this game, which include lasers, anti-gravity (you’re on the moon), butt-slamming, Oz kits (used for breathing and jet pack air boosts when needed) and the cryogenic status effect, provide interesting combinations.  There isn’t anything more satisfying that boosting yourself high in the air and then coming down hard with a butt-slam that freezes your enemies and then breaks them into floating chunks of ice that drift off into space.  Amiright?  The anti-gravity allows for really long jumps and adds a new dimension of playing, as now, going vertical is an option.  Lasers…need I say more?  The cryogenic status effects, which is added to the fire burning, shocking electrical, corrosive acid and overly explosive status effects is a nice fit.  The oxygen kits allow you to boost yourself even further and higher than ever before, coupled with the anti-gravity, make for some impressive jumps over bubbling lava or deadly ice rivers.
  3. They already have promised DLC, which is going to include at least 2 new characters to play (including the enemy from Borderlands 2, who is also the guy you’re working for in this game) as well as the sister of another Borderlands 2 character, who seems to be an Elsa double from Frozen in some form or fashion.  These guys gave 4 massive DLC’s as additions to Borderlands 2 including 2 new characters, along with level cap increases, etc.  They are by far the most committed gaming company I’ve ever seen.
  4. Legendary items were something that became almost a competition of farming in the previous borderlands series.  They were extremely rare and almost impossible to get, unless you resorted to “farming” the bosses (fighting them over and over again for their loot drops) until you got the legendary item.  While I agree that legendary items should be rare, they shouldn’t be so rare that it’s impossible to find one.  Who wants something in a game that you most likely won’t find or ever use?  So, in the pre-sequel, they fixed this in a couple different ways.  They have created content around a machine called the grinder, that allows you to take some of the weapons you don’t want, grind them in the machine to get guns you hopefully do want.  You can use moonstones (valuable stones found around the moon) that can be harnessed to ensure you get a higher rarity item.  With less than an ample amount of loot drops in this game, this was a great idea.  The second thing they did, was allow you to find legendary items more often, whether it be the rare find in a vending machine or a rare drop from a creature.  Whatever the case, they are still rare, but not so rare that you’ll never see them.  This allows those that don’t have the hours upon hours of free time playing/looking for these weapons to be the only ones to enjoy them.
  5. This game, while it structurally and visually looks exactly like borderlands 2, is a whole new game in itself.  There has been a lot of talk about how short the game is or that it’s not a whole new game in itself, but more like a DLC, however so far, I’ve put in about 35 hours and JUST beat the game.  Those that are saying this are most likely gamers who need to beat the game as fast as possible, without enjoying the experience.  I took my time.  The exploration of the environment, the interactions with my character, the enemies I face, the quests I’m given and the beauty of what the designers have put together for me, is something I want to savor.  I don’t want to rush playing the game, I just want to enjoy it as long as possible for what it is.  There are a lot of games out there that can’t say they are 25 hours long as it is, so it’s safe to say that this game is NOT a DLC and is more than enough game.

Cons:

  1. Now that you are on the moon, you need to be able to breathe, which is where the Oz kits come into play.  While there are usually more than enough air vents on the moon’s surface or air canisters dropped form enemies, the only thing I don’t like about this additional factor to consider, is that it takes away from exploration.  You can’t just slowly meander around the world that was created, without risk of taking damage (albeit slowly, but with reminders that your oxygen is at half or the sound of you gasping for air).  You may have found this new path you want to explore and maybe taking your time to see if you can find one of the elusive and secretly hidden vault symbols, but then realize you’re low on air and need to go back and find a vent or you’ll start taking damage.  This aspect stifles the game for all those that don’t play the FragTrap robot, who doesn’t require air.  When I replay the game with him, I plan on having him be the exploratory type, since the lack of air won’t be an issue and I’ll be able to wander aimlessly to my heart’s content.
  2. The moon has these beautiful large open spaces with lots of environment to explore, but unfortunately, it would have been nice if there was more to do in these places.   In games like Fallout, you couldn’t walk more than 50 steps without finding another quest or cool thing to explore and interact with.  I loved finding an abandoned shopping market with bandits protecting it or a school with some super mutants running around in Fallout; there was SO MUCH to do and come across.  It’s the moon and in some ways it makes some logical sense that they are not going to build an entire city there or that it wouldn’t be jam packed, but we’re there anyway and it’s a game, so why not?  I think they wanted to give you the open space to jump and utilize the butt-slamming technique, but I still feel that there were places that were TOO open and TOO sparse.  There is no reason why they couldn’t have added more content…game did feel a bit rushed in that aspect.
  3. So, as one of my pros, I talked about how it uses the same BL2 structure.  While I can understand that the Borderlands 2 structure worked well, I’m not sure why they didn’t improve upon it.  It would have been nice to give it a whole fresh new look, while still keeping the integrity of the game.  I feel as if they half-assed it a bit, which I would have been fine with if they would have made it up with additional content, as I said the old system worked, but why not spruce it up?  Why not give it its own feel?  Change up the colors a bit, see what would compliment to moon feel.  Why didn’t they listen to the fans and find out what they could have done to make the game more enjoyable?  How about simple fixes like having a button that purchases all ammo needed for all guns?  Why didn’t they bring back proficiencies from the first game?  Using a weapon more means you were better with the weapon.  Makes sense!  Why not include it?  Upgrades like this would have made all the difference and given the fans something more to appreciate.
  4. As mentioned above and especially because they used the same structure as borderlands 2, is that I wish there were more of the new elements to the game.  Sure, the anti-gravity, cryogenic and laser weapons are cool, but you didn’t have to create the structure, so how come their game isn’t a jam packed game overstuffed with content?  Where did all that extra free time go?
  5. NPC’s seriously lacked in this game.  Granted, I have not finished the game yet, but so far, I have not been impressed.  In the previous games, you had some NPC’s that were game changers, like Tiny Tina (worlds deadliest teenager and explosive expert) and Mr. Torgue himself (owner of Torgue weapons, and almost a replica of Randy Macho Man Savage, the WWF wrestler).  They were AWESOME.  What do we get?  We get Janey Springs and Pickle, who are completely and utterly boring in most cases.  I looked forward to hearing everything Tiny Tina and Mr. Torgue had to say, waiting as patiently as one could until finishing one of their quests to hear more of their dialogue.  While Janey Springs and Pickle had a couple funny lines, I just didn’t enjoy them.  The guy you’re working for in this game (Jack), who is actually the mastermind in Borderlands 2 was done fairly well and had a decent amount of good lines, but I still expected more.  The NPC’s lacked this go around.

All in all, I do love the game for what it is.  It gave me the content and answers to questions I needed, when moving from borderlands 1 to 2, but it needed to put more of and time into their NPC’s and population of the environment.  More places to explore, more creatures we’ve never seen, more fine tuning!  One thing I did confirm is that when you play the same character in the True Vault Hunter Mode, you get a nice new narration from Tiny Tina and Brick.  Gives something new to playing in the harder mode.  Plus, I look forward to playing each and every one of the 4-6 characters so I can hear their stories, as well as all the wonderful reactions and responses to boot.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this game and if you’re playing it!

Jinx

About jinx_the_bard

Longtime Dungeon Master, tabletop and video gamer. Been playing D&D and Shadowrun on and off most recently. Ran a post apocalyptic, paragon, 4th edition D&D campaign for a couple years. Running a 5th edition campaign now called "The Fall of Astia". Enjoy Borderlands 1, 2 and even the Pre-sequel (which I tend to play with fellow author Ness), Fallout 3 and 4, Bioshock and Skyrim. (Games this good never get boring) I also indulge in Magic The Gathering, mostly in the Legacy and Modern formats. Please feel free to contact me at dungeonmaster.bm@gmail.com for any questions, thoughts or things you'd like to see featured on our site.