|System: Xbox 360, PS3*, PC|
|Dev: 2K Australia|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: October 14, 2014|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence|
So there’s the bad. Fortunately, the rest of my experience with the Pre-Sequel felt right at home with some of my best memories of the series, especially from the standpoints of gameplay and humor. The replacement of the barren wastelands of the first two titles with Pandora’s moon as the primary gameplay environment is more than just a nice updated tweak to an old formula; it is a true game changer in many respects. Not only does anti-gravity and its various effects on running, jumping, and so on pervade actions previously taken as a second nature on Pandora, but the character’s very ability to breathe becomes a constant concern as he or she attempts to huff it from one spot flush with oxygen to another without perishing in the process. And while it does admittedly get a bit old, even with fast travel locales, having to spend that amount of time within a twenty-or-so hour campaign just, well, hopping through the atmosphere to get from point A to point B, the bonuses are truly worth it. Sneak attacks and aerial assaults take on entirely new meaning when you can jump like Michael Jordan in Space Jam, and that added dimension was a welcomed one in my book.
Returning to the second component of the Pre-Sequel! that made playing through it so enjoyable, humor once again takes center stage—but in a slightly different way than before. Actually, in an entirely different way, and it’s all due to a guy we’ve come to know as Handsome Jack. The ruthless, vicious, murderous, and everything else bad while still being funny as all hell super villain of Borderlands 2 is “back” in this prequel (for him) appearance, only this time he hasn’t crossed over to the dark side. Yet. But worry not friends, as voice actor Dameon Clarke is as on point as ever before with his treatment of the guy who, before all of the mania and ultra-violence, just wants to
Skill trees are back and about as crazy as ever before, with each available character having specific abilities tailored to their experience sets. As I played for the most part as Athena, I got used to having a kind of laser light Captain America-style shield available for throwing (although to be fair, it looked a lot cooler than it was effective), but I am pretty much guaranteeing myself that the next go-round will be with Mr. Trap and his bag of undoubtedly useless tricks. Beyond the solidly funny but at times dragged out single player campaign I was able to spend a bit of time dabbling in the online multiplayer/matchmaker options available to me on the PS3, and I was immediately impressed with the speed and fluidity with which the game was able to match me with a couple of players who were at my part of the story. It’s hard not to wonder, as always, how much of this is based on the internet connection and infrastructure as opposed to the game itself and its dedicated servers, but I figured I’d leave those considerations for smarter techies out there and just say it all seemed to work fine.
In summation, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! by no means reinvents the wheel that has been keeping gamers satisfied for years now, and it doesn’t appear to have intended to. While there are some flaws in the narrative setup of the story and the manner by which players are able to get from beginning to middle to end, all in all it is what I always expected it to be: a fun, funny experience with colorful characters, colorful environments, and colorful loot throughout it all. Could be worse, right?
Date: October 14, 2014