Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Review


So I wanted to be a good, little journalist and complete Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! before giving it a full review. I wanted to, but I found the game so mind-numbingly painful, that just over half way in I had no desire to complete it. I felt it was also part of my journalistic duty to warn people not to buy this game as soon as possible. The first half is entirely rubbish and I really can’t see how that situation will improve over the next few hours of gameplay.

Let’s start with the good; and trust me this will be brief. The art style is awesome. It really offers something completely different (from most games not Borderlands games) in terms of artistic quality and there is always something interesting to look at. The choice of protagonist is great as you may choose from Athena the gladiator and most popular character with her powerful shield, Wilhelm the enforcer and typical roid-rager, Nisha the lawbringer and token minority and Claptrap the Fragtrap and very unfunny comic relief. While it’s nice that you can choose however, for me Claptrap was the only choice no matter how much that game tries to discourage you from playing as him. On the first run through as Athena I found the oxygen mechanic so irritating that when the game bugged out, for the first time of many, I had pretty much enjoyed nothing so far. I decided to go back to the beginning and be one with the robot, just to be able to play the game without being forced to run to an oxygen dome every minute and a half. While I hated the oxygen tank, I have to praise the developers for at least trying to do something different, even if I didn’t personally enjoy it.

Claptrap is actually an excellent character. Each character has their own special abilities but no-ones are as cool as Claptrap’s. Claptrap’s whole play style is based around the fact that he is a risk taker. You will often have to sacrifice something in order to gain in other areas. For example, one ability will cause Claptrap to deplete his shield at the benefit of regaining health after killing an enemy. However, playing your cards right can often create only a winning situation. In this example you can sacrifice your shield (which will recover) in order to get free health. His special skill the programme, vaulthunter.exe, seems to randomly pick  one of several abilities from the ultra cool Funzerker where you dual wield weapons and consistently fire without stopping, to the outright dumb Miniontrap which launches a friendly minion who fires lazers, most commonly directly into a wall in front of it. Claptrap is a character for skilled players and certainly adds some fun into an otherwise dull game. Oh and did I mention he is the only character who doesn’t require oxygen? His tiny robot hands also made me squeal with glee for just how cute they are.

I guess I will list my gripes with this game in ascending order of desire to throw the PS3 out the window. It just renders so slowly. Sometimes you will enter a new map and the textures won’t load for a full 5 seconds, leaving areas completely smooth like a Ken doll. While I can see they were trying to make varied and interesting characters they appear to be taken straight from the book of stereotypes. Janey Springs one of your first allies is painted to be little more than a predatory homosexual, who will stalk any young lady who crosses her path, much to the irritation of these characters, who seem exasperated and awkward at basic, courteous compliments. The writing in general does not improve outside of the character development. The game often confuses swearing and anal jokes for actual humour, and while there are some genuinely funny moments they are lost in a deep well of cringe-worthy and awkwardly delivered lines. As NPCs don’t really change their script dependent on the protagonist, this can lead to some strange conversations where they deliver catch all comments that don’t make much sense, or even repeat things that the protagonist has said immediately afterwards.

I guess overall the game just has an awkward feeling to it. The oxygen mechanic means that 3 of the 4 protagonists are required to constantly kill enemies or run for cover in order to not pass out. This can make the game almost unplayable when trying to search certain areas around the landscape. It also means you can double jump, however, this is almost useless as it often offers no upwards boost and depletes your much needed breathing source. I personally also find the controls incredibly awkward and cumbersome.

Things often need to be triggered before you can move on. For example even if you know the entrance to Moxie’s backroom is located behind the one armed bandit, you can’t activate it until the Claptrap tells you to. This action where you can’t move forward until you trigger something else is common throughout the game and a downright annoyance. The amount of bugs and poor game mechanics present is completely unacceptable for a AAA title. There are small things such as the driving still being almost totally unusable, and vehicles not being able to pass through gaps they are visually capable of clearing, to moderate annoyances such as maps which don’t show which terrain to cross, or distinguishes between what is traversable and is not, to the intolerable such as enemies holding key items getting trapped in walls, panels breaking accidentally which need precise timing, and bosses which are both infrequent and a complete pain in the arse.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!  is both a waste of consumers precious time and hard earned money. A title such as this is simply much of the same old, and you might enjoy it if you were a huge fan of Borderland’s previous titles. However, the glitchy nature of the game is completely unacceptable in my opinion, and I wouldn’t recommend buying it until some serious patches are released. The fact that there was already a patch on the first day of release should tell you that further testing was needed before the game was ready for the public. And yet here it is, in all its incomprehensible terribleness.

This game was bought with hard-earnt dollar, and all opinions are entirely my own.