The Borderlands series went from a cult hit to being a fully-fledged mega-hit with Borderlands 2. In 2014, 2K Australia which hadn’t worked on the series before teamed up with Gearbox Software and 2K Games to produce Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Would the series continue to soar to new heights or should we send this Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Review back to the moon?
Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Plot:
Like the other two Borderlands before it, the pre-sequel features four playable characters each with different traits and classes. Again, I completed my Borderlands The Pre-Sequel review with my wife as we had both loved the previous two installments. I chose to be Wilhelm who can summon a pair of drones and my wife picked Nisha who can increase her gun damage and speed.
The four characters are offered a job to find a vault on Pandora’s moon. They set off for the moon but are attacked by a militia called the “Lost Legion” who are former Dahl Corporation marines. Remember, almost all of the Borderlands universe is run by mega-corporations and Dahl is one of them.
They come up with a plan to defeat the Lost Legion but can’t get passed a jamming signal. Traveling to Elips to investigate the signal, they meet Janey Springs who is a junk dealer that decides to help them out. Meanwhile, there is a weird alien named Zarpedon who is after the vault haunters. The rest of the game revolves around Jack, yes he is handsome, helping the vault hunters take down Helios, Zarpendon, and opening a vault.
When the vault is opened, Jack enters it but finds nothing useful except for a vision of a warrior. The story arc revolves around Handsome Jack and his downfall to becoming a truly evil villain.
Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Gameplay:
We noticed right away that despite the “Borderlands” name in the title, it just didn’t feel like the brand my wife and I had come to love. The game is mostly set in space and on a moon where there is less gravity giving your character the ability to jump and float throughout much of the game. The gameplay mechanic makes sense, but it doesn’t mean that we enjoyed it during our Borderlands The Pre-Sequel review.
Like the other Borderlands, there are tons of guns to collect and upgradable attributes for your characters which were welcomed. The guns are always the best part of Borderlands, it’s fun to collect them and constantly exchange them for better ones. At least the prequel-sequel didn’t disappoint there.
The story felt predictable and mediocre at best. The humor and overall direction of Borderlands started to slip in prequel-sequel. It was cool to see Jack before he became “Handsome Jack” but aside from him, most of the characters including the playable ones didn’t offer anything but annoying quips and personalities. My wife and I didn’t find ourselves connecting with any of them like we did the first two games. The characters we interacted with felt forced and built to satisfy a small unique audience which unfortunately flowed into the third Borderlands game, but more on that when I review that game! You are given the chance to play as Claptrap, but we felt he was best when throwing himself pity birthday parties and a lovable outcast rather than a killing robot.
The gameplay is still very fun and there’s nothing like finding yourself in a gunfight surrounded by 20 enemies as you and your partner hide behind cover reloading about to pop out and unleash hell on the foes before you. That’s the magic that wasn’t lost in during our Borderlands The Pre-Sequel review. Borderlands 1 and 2 felt like siblings, who you loved to hang out with. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel felt like that weird foreign cousin that you met once when you were a kid and are now forced to spend a week with them making small talk.
Usually, the boss fights are some of the best things about Borderlands but to be honest I can’t remember one boss from my Borderlands The Pre-Sequel review without having to look them up again on YouTube. That just goes to show how little this game drew me in with its story and characters.
Sadly, the best part of our Borderlands The Pre-Sequel review was when my wife and I were just exploring or having shootouts with small bases. When the story and nagging characters get left behind, the fun comes out. The best part of the story and I touched on this before was seeing Jack become Handsome Jack. He was always a dick, but it’s fascinating to watch someone evolve into who they become. With Jack’s story, you can even sympathize with him a little bit, and I mean a tiny little sliver.
In conclusion, Borderlands: The pre-sequel was developed by a different company than the first two games. It feels like that. If this game came out before the first two, I’d probably give it a higher score but with the brand on the line, 2K Australia took the series “down under” with disappointment. It’s still very playable, but just don’t go into the game thinking it will be like the first two in the series, because it’s not.
My wife and I were excited to get this game and while we had tons of fun killing waves of enemies, completing mission after mission and exploring the moon, we ultimately were a bit disappointed with the predictable outcome of the game, a weak cast of characters and an overall change of environment from the first two Borderlands.
Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Review Score:
There’s plenty of fun to be had, but don’t expect Borderlands: The pre-sequel to be as polished as the first two. The game is not even essential to the story arc of the series so you could skip this and still be fine playing Borderlands 1, 2 and 3.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel scores a 6.8 out of 10.
What would you write in your Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Review? Did you like Borderlands: The pre-sequel as much as the others in the series? Which character did you choose to play as? How did you like the gravity mechanics? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!
If you’d like to own a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for the PS3, you can purchase a brand new version from eBay for around $7.