Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Review

Play as Claptrap and run amok on the moon in this new Borderlands adventure.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! at

Guns, guns and more guns

The original Borderlands and its equally engaging sequel presented a near-endless supply of randomised guns, a wealth of loot and addictive first person shooting action. The recently released Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! delivers more of the same with a few minor additions that ultimately enhance and hamper the experience. Hardcore fans in search of their next fix will probably enjoy most of what this title has to offer, with no shortage of enemies to blast, anti-gravity effects and a well-stocked weapons cache. Of course, we can’t help but daydream about a proper sequel for Xbox One and PS4, and for good reason.

Playable Claptrap is a welcome sight

The Pre-Sequel takes place before Borderlands 2 and chronicles the rise of master villain Handsome Jack. The plot will delight longtime Borderlands players who wish to fill in the virtual cracks, while newcomers may feel lost.

That said, you don’t need to care too much about the plot in a game primarily built on filling opponents with lead and gathering the precious goodies the deceased leave behind. You begin by selecting one of four character classes, each with unique abilities. Athena the Gladiator, for example, comes equipped with a Captain America style shield that lets her deflect bullets and then throw it towards her adversaries. Wilhelm the Enforcer, meanwhile, relies on two drones to do his dirty work. From there, you have Nisha the Lawbringer, a former sheriff who uses a whip to deal melee damage, and finally there’s franchise favourite Claptrap, powered by a VaultHunter.EXE ability that produces a variety of attacks. Suffice to say, you can’t go wrong with any of these characters, and will enjoy building out their skill trees.

To the moon, gamer

While previous Borderlands games take place on the planet Pandora, this one sends players to its moon, Elpis. The location goes hand-in-hand with the gameplay, since you’re able to take full advantage of zero gravity to float around the environment and get the jump on your foes with a ground slam.

It’s a novel idea that presents both positives and negatives. While it’s cool to rain gunfire from above, you must search for oxygen, which allows you to breathe in this hostile environment and jump great distances. You refill it using natural vents on the surface, which ultimately gives you something else to worry about in addition to computer-controlled baddies. You learn to deal with it, as the abilities prove useful in reaching different objectives, but expect slight frustration during your travels.

Then we have Cryo, a new ability that lets you freeze enemies and then bust them up into several pieces. While not imaginative or groundbreaking, there’s a decent level of satisfaction that comes from shattering foes. You know, instead of just blowing their brains out.

The coolest feature by far is Moonstone. Found in great supply, you can trade this currency to improve your weapon slots and arsenal as a whole. The goal is to spend it while using The Grinder, a machine that chews up weapons of similar type and spits out a more powerful boom stick. It cuts down on the useless junk you’ll inevitably hoard while providing a little gambling. If anything, it enhances an already solid product.

Perhaps more than Xbox 360 and PS3 can handle

Visually, The Pre-Sequel retains the cell shaded cartoon appearance of its predecessors, though it’s obvious that 2K Australia pushed the Xbox 360 and PS3 to their limits or simply didn’t have enough time to prevent graphical glitches like pop-in, where objects suddenly appear without warning. You may even notice slight freezing or audio stuttering as the game loads a new area. If anything, these issues will make you drool over the idea of a true Borderlands sequel on Xbox One and PS4.

Next stop, more powerful consoles

For now, 2K Games provides this stop-gap solution, and while The Pre-Sequel does little we haven’t seen before, it continues in the Borderlands tradition of exploring beautiful locations, strafing around enemies and unloading thousands of bullets into their squishy bodies, all in the hopes of discovering a weapon superior to the one in your character’s hands. That alone makes this game worth a look.

GAME's Verdict: 7/10

The Good

  • Moon environment is a welcome change of scenery
  • Trading in weapons and Moonstone for even cooler guns
  • Entertaining co-op with friends

The Bad

  • The Cryo ability, while somewhat cool, offers little to get excited about
  • Searching for oxygen can be tedious
  • Weird audio and visual glitches
SKU: Reviews-312789
Release Date: 16/10/2014