More and more first person shooters try to boast a leveling system that allows for individualization and customization of the way you play; Borderlands shows them how it’s done. Building off the success of the first two games, “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” doesn’t drastically change the Borderlands formula. While we aren’t seeing any dramatic changes, “The Pre-Sequel!” brings with it enough small improvements, and an incredible story to warrant it a place amongst its predecessors.
While this game is being made by a different developer from the original games 2K Australia instead of Gearbox it still has all the heart and feels just as good as the previous entries. Borderlands is a shoot and loot, quest-based, first-person shooter RPG; now that’s a lot of different labels.
The game has the player running across the open world, completing quests and side quests, leveling up characters with different perks and abilities, and collecting thousands of guns in the process. All the different aspects of the game are given appropriate time and depth; nothing feels half done or unfinished. This game is just as much a first person shooter as it is a quest-based RPG, a quality that helps it appeal to various gamers.
Combat in “The Pre-Sequel!” feels better than it has ever been. Zero gravity makes the game faster paced; it has the player constantly jumping, running around and slamming back on the ground as they fight off enemies. Located in space, on Pandora’s moon or the Hyperion moon base, the game gives the player Oz kits; these are oxygen kits that are a usable resource to leap and smash across the world. These kits are also highly customized, giving the player different bonuses for having more or less oxygen and creating unique play styles.
These great combat mechanics are coupled with a massive selection of weapons. “The Pre-Sequel!” has thousands of weapons, none of which you will see twice, and these weapons all vary in class, element, magazine, fire rate etc. Customizing how you play and adapting your character to your strengths is simple with such a large arsenal at your disposal. In burst fire or continuous streams with different elemental perks, lasers are a deadly new addition to the armory that I found myself using throughout the game.
While the new environments are fresh and fun to explore, they suffer from an outdated and dying engine that shows great age. Transitioning back to the “Borderlands 2” engine on a 360 is jarring when one is used to next gen visuals. The visuals of “The Pre-Sequel!” are noticeably worse than its predecessor. The game suffers from serious pop in texture issues, and at some points, the game struggles to perform. The game froze consistently when using certain weapons/perks.Whenever there was a lot of action happening on screen, the game would stop for a second, or chug through the combat consistently, taking away from the experience.
The game’s story connects the events of Borderlands 1 and 2 wonderfully and makes the game a must-play for any fan of the series. Jack, Roland, Lilith and Moxxi are all back again, but this is truly Jack’s show. Jack is the hero of this game, and it follows the story of how he was betrayed and why he eventually became Handsome Jack.
Another strong highlight of the game is the humor and side quests. The game has a large amount of quests for players to embark on. This makes the game playable for even the solo gamer. The side quests available provide parodies on Doctor Who, Pokemon, Star Wars and even Ghostbusters. From side quests to the main story, Borderlands is funny, but not at the expense of great character development, a deep narrative and some of the best gameplay in the entire genre.
“Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” suffers from an aging engine and has more technical glitches than expected from a Borderlands game. At the same time, they don’t drastically take away from the experience, and the game comes with well-defined and polished features. The game had gamers laughing, running, and gunning for hours. Borderlands continues to set the standard for RPG first-person shooters. A must play for any Borderlands fan, and I highly recommend it for any first-person shooter fan who is looking for a great single-player experience.