Borderlands has become one of the most beloved franchises in gaming, with an array of lovable, quirky and downright crazy characters, an insane amount of over-the-top weaponry, and of course, massive amounts of loot.
Although it seems Borderlands 3 may be far off, fans of the series are now able to enjoy Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Analog Addiction recently reviewed The Pre-Sequel, giving it an 8.0; with the full review available here.
Analog Addiction has decided to further delve into the latest Borderlands installment, and discuss whether The Pre-Sequel is a worthy entry to the franchise. In this post-mortem Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel reviewer, Hope Hornsby and PlayStation editor, Jamie Briggs will dive into this question and give their honest thoughts on 2K Australia’s latest.
Jamie Briggs: Firstly, I thought I’d showcase my love for the Borderlands franchise. I have played both Borderlands installments previous to The Pre-Sequel, alongside all of Borderlands 2‘s DLC and earned its prestigious platinum trophy. With that being said I think Borderlands 2 is the better game when compared to The Pre-Sequel, but I do think this latest installment can hold its own in the franchise.
I found The Pre-Sequel started quite slow, before I found myself having an amazing time. With that being said I also felt the conclusion dragged on a little too long for my liking. I did enjoy the inclusion of Handsome Jack’s origin story and would love the character to make another appearance in the franchise one day. What are you thoughts on the overall narrative? Did you also feel the story dragged at certain times?
Hope Hornsby: Well I have to admit that the first Borderlands is still on my “To Play” list, but I have played through Borderlands 2 and all of the DLC. I think you’re right that Borderlands 2 is a stronger installment, but I honestly would have trouble telling you which I like more. As for the narrative, the pacing did seem a little strange at times. I know I mentioned in my review that sometimes it felt like the game was rushing me, but towards the end I was kind of startled to remember that Jack hadn’t hired the player characters to get rid of Zarpedon, but to find an actual vault.
I also really enjoyed seeing Jack’s side of the story, and his descent into madness, and I think that The Pre-Sequel did a great job presenting the story itself. I love the way they framed the story with Athena telling Lilith everything. I’m a little biased though, because I played as Athena, which means that her relaying the story to Lilith actually fit my playthrough. I know you played as Wilhelm, so if you didn’t have an Athena in your party did having her tell the story kind of take you out of the world?
Jamie Briggs: I never found it to be a problem for me, due to the timeline of events Wilhelm was already removed from the world of Pandora at that point, which made sense that he wasn’t the one telling the tale.
Speaking of Wilhelm, I’d have to say that his character class is probably my favourite in the series. The combination of Wolf and Saint was incredibly helpful in difficult situations, and the amount of options to customise these drones to my liking was great. The Pre-Sequel felt like it delivered the most unique classes in the series, which was one of my favourite things about this installment.
Hope Hornsby: That is true. Come to think of it, I believe Nisha can be killed in Borderlands 2 as well. I guess Athena is the only logical person left.
I have to agree about the classes. I normally play characters that are more ranged or in support roles, but playing Athena meant I was right in the middle of everything that was happening. I focused a lot on upgrading damage output of the Aspis, and Athena was dealing tons of damage by the time I finished the skill tree. I think I’ll try her elemental tree next. Speaking of the new playstyles, though, I really enjoyed the Stingray vehicle. It was nice to get my own vehicle all to myself. What did you think of that?
Jamie Briggs: Actually I didn’t like the Stingray that much, or driving at all for that matter. One of my main issues with the franchise is the poor driving mechanics and The Pre-Sequel doesn’t fix any of them. I mostly spent my time on foot, just so I could avoid using these vehicles.
Speaking of new additions to the series, I believe the inclusion of Oxygen was a great plus. The ability to tackle levels from all angles with your bonus height on jumps and the butt stomp ability to help thin through a pack of enemies, both worked extremely well. Let’s not forget the awesome introduction of cryo and laser weapons, both which felt cool to use (pun unintended) but also felt extremely powerful. What did you think of these inclusions?
Hope Hornsby: It’s so interesting that you say that because I haven’t had a problem with the driving at all. I will have to keep an eye out next time I play. As for the inclusion of the oxygen mechanic, I really enjoyed being able to double jump and smash through my enemies. Between air tanks dropped from enemies and random air geysers, there were enough sources of oxygen scattered around the maps that I never felt like I needed to worry about suffocating. I also really enjoyed the damage bonuses on most of the oz kits. It was a neat replacement for the relic system, and to me felt quite a bit more useful.
I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed the inclusion of the cryo damage type. As I said earlier, I usually play in a support role and I really enjoy any advantage that allows me to control the fight a little more. Especially when I was playing solo, I used cryo weapons pretty often to try and slow down enemy progress. The lasers were also a great addition, and I felt like they offered a fun alternative to the standard weaponry. I think the two weapon types I found myself using most were shotguns and the lasers, so I definitely enjoyed those. Speaking of new things, what do you think that alien we met will turn out to be? I’m hoping it will be the Eridian’s that Jack is so obsessed with learning about.
Jamie Briggs: It definitely makes sense, with all the vaults scattered throughout, the idea that we will eventually find those who made them come into being is interesting. It also sets up a huge narrative possibility for Borderlands 3.
I think it’s safe to say we both agree Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a worthy title in the series, though it may not reach the quality of Borderlands 2. I had a great time finding loot, utilising the new abilities, finding loot, and well, finding loot.
I am very much looking forward to seeing how Borderlands turns out when it eventually reaches current generation systems and hopefully the boost in hardware will allow for a better visual experience.
Hope Hornsby: I really hope so. One of the things I kept noticing while exploring Elpis was the giant Eridium spill on the surface of Pandora. I really like the way that the series keeps the story consistent and fresh even when the focus is often the combat and loot system.
This game is definitely a good addition to the series, and I’m interested to see what DLC will drop with the season pass. Borderlands 2 set a pretty high bar, and while The Pre-Sequel didn’t quite meet the same standards, it was certainly heading in the right direction
Now you’ve heard what we think, what did you think of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Did you enjoy this post-mortem perspective? If so, let us know in the comments below and we will try and provide more collaborative features in the future.
Jamie Briggs manages Analog Addiction and you can like them on Facebook, follow his daily life on Twitter @JamieAA, and his videos on YouTube. Hope Hornsby is a PC Editor for AnalogAddiction. You can find her hiding out on tumblr, or follow her on twitter at your own risk.