Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel evaluation: You do not know Jack

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel review: You don't know Jack

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is all about loot, homicide, humor, loot, swarms of enemies and loot. It appears like a comic book e-book, performs like a shooter, and seems like that one hilarious concept you and your buddies had at two within the morning after an evening of driving round city and chugging power drinks. Additionally, loot. In different phrases, it is extra Borderlands.

The Pre-Sequel introduces a couple of new concepts into the franchise – together with close to-zero gravity, oxygen administration and glossy character courses based mostly on NPCs from the earlier video games. Gamers take part within the story of Good-looking Jack, earlier than he turned the villain in Borderlands 2, again when he was only a humorous dude with wild concepts about being a hero.

Nonetheless, whereas The Pre-Sequel boasts the loot of a full Borderlands recreation, it is lacking a contact of depth and a touch of polish.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!

One way or the other, it feels as if there’s much more loot in The Pre-Sequel than in Borderlands 2, which was marketed as the sport with 87 bazillion weapons. Principally each object within the recreation is marked with a bit of inexperienced mild, probably containing cash, ammo, weapons, shields or class equipment. The sheer quantity of little inexperienced lights is nearly sinister, every unopened field taunting collectors with ammo they can not carry and weapons they do not need. There are, in fact, a handful of latest weapons to excite veteran Borderlands gamers, together with rifles that shoot lasers in a continuing, lethal stream – however these are pretty uncommon. It took about 4 hours for me to cease stressing over the unopened chests and lockers scattered round Elpis, Pandora’s moon and the primary battleground of The Pre-Sequel.

Elpis brings with it some new mechanics, together with the necessity for synthetic oxygen and excessive-flying jumps. Early within the recreation, characters (apart from the robotic Claptrap the Fragtrap) get an oxygen package that accommodates a set, rechargable quantity of air. There are bubbles and pits of oxygen on Elpis, however a lot of the moon is uncovered, draining your provide as you run round. Enemies graciously drop air canisters as they’re killed, and a few of these rattling inexperienced-mild bins include oxygen too. Air administration is a delicate but efficient mechanic, because it provides a layer of technique to battles and exploration. Say you want to head towards a sure base, however your oxygen is low and the mini-map exhibits a pocket of air shut by, in the other way and probably surrounded by enemies – what do you do?

Leaping on the moon is a floaty, prolonged affair, and gamers are capable of double-bounce for an additional push within the course they’re flying, although that drains oxygen shortly. Leaping can also be a weapon: Fly up and slam right down to injure and knock again close by baddies. The jumps really feel sluggish and awkward at first, however they do turn into pure and useful. Nevertheless, towards households of beastly kragons – the place this leap-and-slam method must be best – the leaps retain that sluggish, clunky vibe, with my character typically getting caught on the beasts, or rising into the air after which touchdown on the again of a kragon with out harming it in any respect.

More often than not, although, the jet-pack leaping mechanic is a helpful, energetic contact, particularly nifty when making the leap between two gray islands jutting out of a area of lava. The environments of Elpis are excessive on this sense, brilliant reds and orange for the lava flows, shining blue for the oxygen and fast-freeze nitrogen fields, neon purple for the laser that shoots into Elpis at common intervals, shaking the moon because it destroys sections at a time. Elpis is certainly one of Borderlands’ most lovely scenes but.

There’s one thing simply barely off about elements of The Pre-Sequel, although, and it might be tied to the double-bounce. The extent design is oddly complicated in some areas, to the purpose the place I’ve to cease and ask myself if the sport is being dense, or if I’m. My intuition is to take the shortest path to waypoints on the mini-map, which means typically I attempt to scale a rock face or industrial complicated – to various outcomes. Trial and error is not a horrible factor, however once I’m preventing off bullets and bombs from a swarm of scavengers, I need to know, not guess, the place my exit factors are. Plainly a few of these areas are designed to be accessed by way of awkward, floaty parkour, whereas others seem like they need to be, however clearly, painfully, they are not.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel review: You don't know Jack

For instance, one early mission within the hub metropolis of Concordia has gamers entry numerous communication towers. I discovered the primary simply fantastic, however one other took a irritating period of time and countless backtracking whereas I looked for a staircase or carry to let me attain the roof, as an NPC advised me to do. Ultimately, I attempted leaping across the buildings under the waypoint, and I discovered a place on prime of a slender signal that allowed me to leap to the roof. It felt just like the fallacious answer. It nonetheless does, primarily as a result of that sort of motion is not repeated all through the sport; you are not capable of bounce on prime of each slim outcropping, just some.

A few of the fights, too, are off in an unusual method. The primary battle towards the excessive-flying, closely armored Deadlift is achingly troublesome, even with a co-op companion. It performs like a mid-recreation battle caught on the very starting of the story, introducing inexperienced launch pads that fling your character throughout the map or straight up. It is a arduous lesson in methods to bounce properly, and never essentially a very good one. Afterward, smaller battles towards hordes of outlaws, scavs, raiders and kragons get ridiculously busy, to the purpose the place you’ll be able to’t flip round earlier than you are hit with 50 bullets and scaly tails. Throughout considered one of these fights, I obtained trapped towards a wall, enemies pinning me in place in order that I could not transfer in any respect.

To be succinct: You will in all probability die so much in The Pre-Sequel, and a few of these deaths could also be additional irritating because of circumstances past your management.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel review: You don't know Jack

The brand new character courses match nicely inside the Borderlands lore, and never simply because they’re already part of it. Their strengths are properly-outlined: Nisha the Lawbringer is a superb selection for these going solo, since her particular talent is to enter a speedy-hearth, additional-injury, auto-goal mode at will. It is good for taking out, or at the very least significantly damaging, a number of enemies directly. She’s turn out to be my go-to character. Athena, in the meantime, is Captain America with a sword, and she or he’s nice as an murderer, whereas Claptrap is the help character and Wilhelm is the tank. Athena stands out as the most enjoyable – she has a defend that not solely absorbs injury, however may also be flung to blow up throughout an enemy, earlier than it flies again into her grasp. When it comes to character, she’s on the tasteless aspect, whereas Claptrap, probably the most boisterous character, seems to be the weakest fighter. Wilhelm can deploy a pair of assault drones, making him good for gamers who usually rush right into a battle with out fascinated with the injury they could find yourself taking.

The Pre-Sequel‘s missions do not supply a lot selection, and at occasions they really feel artificially prolonged in a selected sample. The missions are likely to mix collectively, however they’re carried by a forged of fascinating, principally comedic bosses and allies alongside the best way, together with characters we will hook up with from previous video games. Jack, for his half, is hilarious, coming off as a mash-up of Jason Statham in Crank and Cookie Masterson, the host of You Do not Know Jack.

Nonetheless, the missions are usually predictable. One has gamers hunt down an enemy on one among Elpis’ fortified islands. To get there, you must struggle by way of a number of rooms of foes and cross a bridge, however when you attain the bridge, it is made un-crossable. So, it’s a must to pump methane into the lake of lava under – you discover the methane pump and change it on, however it’s empty. You are then despatched to fill the methane reserves so the pump works, however one thing on the pump station goes incorrect once more. This all includes a good bit of journey and a handful of hefty fights, plus moments of “discover this button” and “flip this change” in between. Lastly, you pump the methane, the lava turns into walkable, and you must battle off some kragons to get throughout.

Primarily, the missions break down as such:

  • Do This Factor.
  • This Factor is damaged, so do This Different Factor first.
  • This Different Factor can also be damaged, so repair One other Factor first.
  • Repair One other Factor.
  • Repair and do This Different Factor.
  • Repair and do This Factor.
  • Repeat.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel review: You don't know Jack

The narrative’s repetitive nature is not terrible – let’s be trustworthy right here, we’re enjoying Borderlands for one factor, and it is not the story. It is to shoot a bunch of bizarre, wacky enemies within the face and to shovel as a lot loot into our packs as we will carry. The Pre-Sequel succeeds on this objective, providing gamers loads of enemies to shoot (at occasions too many) and some new weapons with which to incinerate them. This is not Borderlands 2, however Gearbox and 2K Australia are proper to draw back from naming it because the third in a collection – when the missions start to tug on and the loot turns into overwhelming, The Pre-Sequel could possibly be an over-keen, attempt-exhausting installment of DLC for Borderlands 2. General, although, it’s its personal recreation, made so by the acquainted but recent characters, and new environments, weapons and enemies.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has the makings of a reasonably nice Borderlands recreation. There are many enemies begging to have their faces shot. The environments on Elpis are beautiful neon spectacles, there are many new weapons which might be bundles of violent pleasure to make use of (together with lasers!), and the brand new characters are nicely-rounded. The Pre-Sequel is lacking only a little bit of soul, nevertheless it has loads of coronary heart – hearts exploded by laser rifles.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel review: You don't know Jack
This evaluate is predicated on an authorised Steam obtain of the PC model of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, offered by 2K Video games. Photographs: 2K Video games.

Joystiq’s evaluation scores are based mostly on a scale of whether or not the sport in query is value your time — a 5-star being a definitive “sure,” and a one-star being a definitive “no.” Learn right here for extra info on our scores tips.

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