Took me a while but I finally finished the pre-sequel for Borderlands 2! Took me over 20 hours (including playing on Steam offline mode). Originally the plan was to do this as a co-op game but since I spent over a month at a condominium my mother owns, I ended up playing majority of the game offline (due to no internet there) and finally finishing it around 23.30pm (or 11.30pm for those not familiar with the 24hr time).
Borderlands: The Pre-sequel takes place on Pandora’s moon, Elpis with a group of vault hunters that you meet in Borderlands 2. Minus one vault hunter who isn’t mentioned but you will find out why towards the end. It obviously takes place before the events of Borderlands 2. It reveals how Jack, a lead engineer for Hyperion eventually rises to become CEO and his motivations.The game immediately throws you right into the middle of action in the beginning. Of course, you are met by the ever-friendly and ever-present (and annoying) claptrap who guides you to your first mission/quest giver. Unless you are familiar with the two first games, you may have little trouble getting through the first few areas, as one of my cousins demonstrated when he tried to play it, that or I was a terrible instructor in how to play the game.
Having Elpis as the setting for the pre-sequel brings a lot of new features to the game. Such as the grinder machine which allows you to take equipment (if they are the same rarity level e.g white, blue, purple and etc) and have a chance of either upgrading it to a better level. Using moonstones, the black market currency can guarantee getting better gear, or even legendary gear. Speaking of moonstones, you can obviously buy upgrades in the black market or use it to open chests, which often have luneshine weapons. Weapons that have a unique appearance and often special effects that no other weapons have, these include bonus to experience, bonuses to shields and damage.Another new feature is the oxygen levels, having an oxygen kit allows you to explore the moon with a portable oxygen bubble. However this oxygen is limited and you have to keep an eye out for natural vents on the moon’s surface to refill your oxygen or buildings that have their own self-contained atmosphere. Oxygen can also be used to quicker revive your teammates in battle, obviously at the cost of lowering your own oxygen reserves in your kit. You can shatter enemy air-masks (let’s call them air bubbles, they look like bubbles to me) where they then slowly suffocate due to lack of oxygen unless they find an oxygen source. I am unsure but I think enemies can also shatter your air bubble. I could be wrong.
The oxygen kits themselves have a variety of effects that can include bonuses to your fire-rate, more damage per unit of oxygen you have, allowing you to shatter enemy air bubbles with a slam attack and much more. The current oz-kit I have is a legendary one called 3DD1.E which has a great special effect which has saved my bacon a few times in-game. Especially when it picks a good moment to unleash the random effect and regenerate both my health and shield before I get incapacitated. Although, I wish it did this effect more often in the last vault boss fight. THAT was a brutal fight and I actually thought I would either:
a) die and have to redo the entire fight again
b) run out of ammo therefore dying and have to redo the fight anyway
Thankfully, I didn’t run out of either ammo or health. Really do not look forward to fighting that boss again in True Vault Hunter mode. It was bad the first time, it’s gonna be horrible the second time.
Gravity can be your best friend or enemy while on the moon. While out of the contained atmospheres, you can use the low gravity to jump higher; similar to a double jump but it is more like a jump boost since it uses some oxygen to give you that extra height. Use the low gravity to do butt-slam attacks against enemies. The slam attacks basically an attack that has a large area-of-effect and depending on your oz-kit, it can include elemental effects. However, enemies can do and will do the same thing if they can against you.
A new type of weapon brought into the game: laser weapons. These weapons while do low initial damage, give higher damage for consistent/continuous attacks. Hence more efficient to keep continuous fire with the laser weapon. They often have a variety of elemental effects. Including the new elemental type called cyro which allows you to slow enemies down or even freeze them solid in their tracks. Oh another thing, Mr. Torgue does NOT like laser weapons. At all.
Story-wise, the main star of the game is not you or any of the other vault hunters. It is Jack. The sadistic yet humorous villain of Borderlands 2. I did notice a discrepancy on Jack’s origins. It is often said that he is a low-level employee for Hyperion yet he has his own office, something a low-level employee probably would not have (in my opinion) and at one point, the game refers to him as the lead engineer for Hyperion. So which is he? He cannot be both. He is either a low-level employee or he is the lead engineer with his own office.
As I mentioned earlier on the post, the post actually focuses on Jack on his rise to power aka his transformation from sarcastic hero into sarcastic and sadistic villain. At times, the story felt like it was going at a great pace then it suddenly goes into a different direction that makes no sense. Well, I suppose it makes sense in context but rather weak. So far the story seems to be the weakest point of the game, in my opinion. Do not mistake for not enjoying it, I enjoyed it a lot but it just seemed weak overall at the end.
Missions. I had a hate-love relationship with the many missions (both side and story) in the game. Most of the required you to back-track so much or you had to travel around Elpis to find out where the mission giver is. One of such quests, many would know it is the mission taking place in Sub-level 13. Many people had trouble starting this quest. Why? Not because of trying to find the supposedly hidden complex, the entrance is actually really easy to find. The problem is that many do not know you actually have to find one of the npcs who actually gives the mission to you. The entrance to the sub-section will not open till you accept the mission from him. It won’t even say you have to see him in your mission log, just that the mission takes place in Sub-level 13.
Other missions I hated often took place in a location called Veins of Helios, where you had to get a quest from elsewhere in Helios space station, then run all the way back to the place for the real quest to start which often involves heavy combat to reach there. It would be easier if that particular area had its own bounty board or even a fast travel, to avoid having to run from one literal end of the station to another. It became old super fast.
Despite the faults, the game mechanics was solid. I enjoyed causing mayhem and destruction all across the moon (despite the various deaths and major money loss), bouncing around the surface of the moon with low gravity and jump boosts. The new vehicle was fun to drive around on, even though I haven’t figured how to pancake enemies with it yet. I reached that I despise torks and then decided I hated Opha guardians much more, then hated the real vault guardian himself since you fight him technically four times before he finally decides to die. That’s worse than the spriggans in Morrowind, which take three deaths before they die and I could go on but I won’t.
A solid entry into the Borderlands franchise, despite the various things I hated.