As the name suggest, this installment of the Borderlands series is a “pre sequel” – meaning it takes place between the events of Borderlands 1 and 2 – well, technically it takes place after Borderlands 2 – sort of – oh right, no spoilers – moving on. The title itself is comical in that it pokes fun at the filler games of other large franchises, while being a filler game itself. In true Borderlands style, everything about this game from the title to the artwork and dialogue makes me think “I’m playing a comic book”. The game is full of tongue in cheek humor – the kind that makes you crack a smile when you least expect it.
The Pre Sequel takes place on the moon (yes, seriously), and with that comes all the moon-y lunar mechanics you would expect, including low gravity and oxygen management. This is an odd and refreshing change of pace from previous installments of the series, and easily the best part about the game. While the lunar mechanics are really cool and really fun – I feel like there are too many avenues available to keep oxygen levels up. You can get more “oz” from the readily available oxygen vents, any building, most containers, and most bad guys. It also seems like drops tend to cater towards what the player needs at the time. Low on health? Surprise, out pops the first HP pack in the area. Low on oz? Luckily that last baddie dropped some. Out of ammo? Lo and behold! The specific ammo type that is depleted happened to drop. I may just be really lucky, or maybe I’m just in the good graces of the RNG gods, but it seems a little hand-holdy in that area. It doesn’t make the game any less fun by any means, but it does slightly detract from its difficulty, and the “crap Im on the moon, I need air” moments.
It isn’t the best game in the series, but the Pre Sequel is pretty fun. If you have played the other installments of the series, it’s pretty much Borderlands 2 on the moon with lasers – which is great news if you like Borderlands 2 (come on, who doesn’t?). It has the same graphics, the same over the top personalities, and the same ridiculously overwhelming loot drops (speaking of loot drops, lasers are your friend. Remember that). Unfortunately it also has the same waypoint system, which was a little bit of a disappointment and caused me to walk around in circles longer than I would have preferred to, considering the size of the maps. As a side note, one thing I really appreciated about the game was the loading screen tips. I know, it is a nitpicky little thing, but they actually adjust to your key bindings. For example, when the game taught me to ground pound, it recognized that I had remapped crouch from ‘C’ to ‘Ctrl’, and taught me the technique accordingly. This is rarely a problem in modern games, but when they get it wrong it annoys me to no end. Bonus points to 2K for not annoying me.
For fans of the series, I would absolutely recommend picking this one up, if not for the low gravity mechanics, for the backstory on Jack. I won’t tell you much more for fear of spoilers, but If you haven’t played the other games, you should hold off until you have. If you aren’t a fan of the series – you should spend some time pondering the meaning of life until you realize that you in fact should be a fan of the series, and then follow my previous recommendation of playing the games in order of release.
Developer: 2k Australia / Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2k Games
Genre: FPS / Action RPG
Price at time of review: $59
Review code provided by Publisher
Gameplay - 7
Visuals - 8.5
Replay Value - 7.5
For fans of the series, I would absolutely recommend picking this one up, if not for the low gravity mechanics, for the backstory on Jack.
Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.