|"Ah... admiring the view... wait a sec... where did everybody go? Wait for me guys!"|
So I'm slowly going through my backlog and wanting to play a new co-op game with my mates when Choona and Luke suggest I could knock out two birds with one stone by playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. So I've now played the game for a couple of hours with them and here are my first impressions...
... "but wait!" you say. "Don't you hate Borderlands? Why on Pandora did you decide to get Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? And what happened to Borderlands 2?" Well you're right in that I didn't really think much of the original Borderlands, so much so that I never thought about buying any more Borderlands games again, despite my friends getting into them. However, I decided to try Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel because it's developed by (the now defunct) Australian studio, 2K Australia and it's been 6 years since I've played a Borderlands game, so surely they've had enough time to iron out all the issues I had with the original game and maybe even improve on the formula, right? RIGHT?
Well let's hope so.
What I like:
- OZSTRAYLIANS: As the game was developed by 2K Australia, they took the opportunity to basically make a Borderlands game set in Australia – or at least a moon run by Australians, since just about everyone that lives there speaks with an Australian accent, thanks to the talents of Australian voice actors. Not only that, but a lot of the humour and lingo is very Australian too, to the point where you probably have to be an Australian in order to appreciate some of the more obscure references (e.g. when reference is made to a "First Fleet" arriving at the moon you're on, it's stated that it wasn't actually the first to arrive there. This is similar to the First Fleet that arrived in actual Australian history which was a British fleet of ships intent to colonise Australia but several other fleets had already visited Australia beforehand). There's also a lot of "larrikinism" and quests with off-beat humour, such as when you have a quest which involves nothing more than calling someone a "dick". His humourous reaction is to cry "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and do nothing more.
- Low gravity and lack of oxygen: As Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set on a moon (similar to our Moon), this means low gravity and no oxygen. This affects the gameplay in a couple of ways: firstly, you're able to jump much higher than you normally would on an Earth-like planet (like Pandora) and coupled with a short burst from your oxygen tank, you actually can do double-jumps. Secondly, all the player characters (except for Claptrap) require oxygen in order to survive meaning you need to replenish your oxygen tanks whenever you get a chance. The changes are seemingly minor but it actually means you have to think a bit more tactically when fighting.
- Bridging the gap between Borderlands and Borderlands 2: The entire game is basically a recollection of events that occurred between the game Borderlands and Borderlands 2. So you'll come across several familiar characters such as Handsome Jack, Claptrap and the original Vault Hunters; not only that but some of the characters will interject during the game to offer some amusing anecdotes, quips or clarifications.
- Steam Achievements and Trading Cards: I don't believe the original Borderlands version I played was integrated with Steam so it's a minor bonus that this one does have Steam achievements and trading cards.
- It's more Borderlands : Besides the ability to jump around and the challenges associated with maintaining your oxygen levels, the game seems very similar to the original Borderlands which is good in some respects since it means if you're a veteran of the series, it should be very easy to get back into it, however...
What I don't like:
- It's more Borderlands: ... if you've played Borderlands before and didn't like it, this game (so far) doesn't appear to be much different to that game you played a few years ago. Again, the game appears to be all about collecting epic loot, like many Action RPGs, which means the only way this game is going to save itself is if it offers some interesting challenges later in the piece or if the plot/script happens to be good enough to carry the game.
- Connectivity issues?: While I didn't have as much trouble getting Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to work compared to the original Borderlands (in fact, I personally didn't experience any) there were some connectivity issues with Luke being able to join the session but only after playing for about two hours. We're still not sure what the root of the problem is, but there you have it.
Verdict:Despite not enjoying the original Borderlands and the fact I'm playing this game without any background knowledge of Borderlands 2, I'm quite enjoying it, mainly because it's usually fun when playing with mates in a co-op Action RPG. I will probably play the game until the end since it seems to actually be a reasonably relaxing way to pass time in the evenings, especially when you have mates that can appreciate the Australian humour, in-jokes and lingo.
[ Official Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Website ]