Nothing has changed about Borderlands 2
or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!
in transition, and Gearbox Software has graciously given us the option to import our characters from last-gen. Iíve written extensively about Borderlands 2
, so if you want all of my opinions from those reviews, they still stand. But since Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
served as my introduction to The Pre-Sequel!
, I have much more to say about that game.
First, letís talk classes. Each character in both of the games comes equipped with an action skill and three distinct skill trees. As you earn experience and level up your character, you earn points which can be slotted into a number of abilities, both passive and active. Some of these characters have more entertaining and effective action skills than others, but each has their own distinct way to contribute to the effort. On top of the four primary characters in each game, there are two additions: in Borderlands 2 we have Gaige the Mechromancer and Krieg the Psycho, and The Pre-Sequel! includes the Baroness Aurelia Hammerlock and Jack. Yes, that Jack, only a doppelgšnger. These are great additions to the already diverse selection of customizable classes.
Weíll start with the not-so-great. Vehicles are one thing that Borderlands games have never really gotten right. Even the tiniest of obstacles can knock most of the vehicles off course, breaking up the otherwise decent sense of speed. Most of them arenít much fun to drive, with a dishonorable mention to The Pre-Sequel!ís Moon Buggy, whose hyper sensitive steering and zero tolerance policy for bumps in the road make it an option to be avoided whenever possible. But with that wrong comes a major right: the Stingray is perhaps the most enjoyable vehicle in the series. This one-seat hovercraft glides around with ease, and is capable of boosting into the air Ė and then slamming back onto the ground. At its best, it feels like a pogo stick for killers.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! introduces a number of new mechanics, and theyíre all wonderfully welcome additions that really shake up the core gameplay, which has stood the test of time. Elpisí reduced gravity and lack of atmosphere results in new maneuvers and possible combat tactics.
Jumping now sends you soaring gracefully through the air, though the animation work on airborne player characters is sadly non-existent. The increased verticality comes with more than just expanded mobility options, however; should you find yourself directly above an enemy, a button press will send you crashing down to the lunar surface for an area-of-effect attack.
Oxygen is a foreign element on the surface of Elpis, so youíll have to manage your supply while youíre blasting scavengers and the local wildlife. Youíll be given an O2 kit at the beginning of the game (here affectionately referred to as an "Oz" kit), which slowly drains while in the vacuum. You can sacrifice some of your oxygen to speed up your movement in mid-air, and youíll probably do that quite often, given that there are plenty of ways to replenish your reserves and, quite frankly, it drains so slowly that anyone who actually manages to asphyxiate their character deserves to pay the New-U fees. Rules may not be regarded very respectfully in this universe, but basic chemistry applies: fire elemental effects donít work unless youíre in an oxygen-rich environment.
My absolute favorite addition in The Pre-Sequel! is the Grinder, which takes the seriesí already superb loot system and somehow makes it even better. Put in three weapons, get one out. Itís that simple. You can improve your chances of getting something awesome by adding in some of your hard-earned Moonstones. Thereís a small risk involved with each grind, but itís far more interesting and rewarding than simply pawning off all your vendor trash. If this machine doesnít make an appearance in the next Borderlands game, I wonít be a happy camper.
Even though Iíve played Borderlands and Borderlands 2 to death, Iím still incredibly high on Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. Its release could not be timed more perfectly; at the beginning of the springtime software drought, itís nice to know that thereís something that is more than capable of filling our time until the likes of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Batman: Arkham Knight finally hit shelves. How could you say no to all of this? The answer: you canít.