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PAX East – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Hands-Off Impressions


PAX East – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Hands-Off Impressions

One thing Gearbox does very well when it comes to its’ mega-hit Borderlands series is making it look as badass as possible in demos and previews before the game releases. If they were good before, they knocked it out of the park with the demo they showed off of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

The reason the game has such a Gearbox-y name is that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place after the events of Borderlands but before Borderlands 2 and focuses on the rise of Handsome Jack and the four Vault Hunters who helped him along the way. They include the pre-robot form cyborg Wilhelm, the shield wielding Wonder Woman-esque assassin Athena, the sheriff of Lynchwood Nisha, and everybody’s favorite breakdancing robot, Claptrap.

2K Australia took the developer reins from Gearbox on this game and you can tell that while they’re respectful of the originators and the established lore, they have made it a point to try out a bunch of new ideas.

While previous games were limited to the surface of Pandora, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will visit the planet’s moon. This new environment adds an interesting gameplay mechanic in the form of an oxygen meter on the HUD. Obviously, you need it to be able to breathe in the cold vacuum of space, but you can also use your O2 reserves for a brand new batch of platforming skills. Double-tap the jump button for a standard double jump. If you hold down the button after double-tapping it, it can glide for short distances in the low gravity. If you double-tap jump then crouch, you do a ground pound that does splash damage to enemies beneath you. This buttstomp can be  modified with “Oz kits” to deal elemental damage.

Other additions to the game include a new elemental type: Frost. Damage from weapons with the Frost mod slow enemies and can eventually freeze them solid, and allow you to smash them into little pieces. New laser weapons will also make their debut, ranging from the pew-pew of Star Wars to the wavy proton pack beam of Ghostbusters. The zero-G environment also affects combat; if you throw a grenade into a group of enemies, they’ll be sent flying out into the ether. You’d think that this would lose it’s charm after the first few times but it really doesn’t.

All these advancements, as well as the new studio taking over the development of it, makes me excited to see if the final product maintains that level of excitement or if I’ll again get bored with the game quickly.

Borderlands The Pre-Sequel releases later this year for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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