Back again with the winning combination of loot, first-person shooting action, loot, irreverent humor, loot, cel-shaded graphics, loot, co-op gameplay, and loot, “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” follows the journey of Handsome Jack, villain from “Borderlands 2,” as he descends into evil from being just kinda misguided. The game sticks to series hallmarks, offering four different character classes, each with their own unique personalities, skill trees, and play styles.
At the E3 2014 demo, we got our hands on the game, and were able to play as Athena, a support character who uses a shield to absorb damage – and then throws the shield at enemies to hurl that damage right back at them. Her move set and skills tend to protect and support her teammates, while at the same time giving her a modified tank role, letting her wade in amongst the bad guys and dish out plenty of damage. Other characters include Wilhelm, a master of remote drones, and Claptrap, the robotic blabbermouth from other “Borderlands” titles.
All characters use guns, and plenty of them. And like its predecessors, “The Pre-Sequel!” generates random loot drops with gajillions of different types of guns, grenades, and other equipment, all with different attributes and stats. Enemies drop loot, barrels hold loot, chests contain loot – it’s a loot-stravaganza, which is a major part of the fun.
And so is sharing and caring with your comrades; developer 2K Australia emphasized that co-op is the definitive experience, and the character classes certainly seem geared toward assisting each other. Powers and abilities we saw included Athena protecting characters near with her shield, as well as buffing their defense when her shield powers were up. Many of the upgrades in her tree revolved around either adding to her allies’ powers or combining hers with theirs.
Another factor influencing gameplay is low-gravity, vacuum environment of the moon on which the game is set. Players will need to keep track of their oxygen gauges, making sure they don’t stay out in the vacuum too long, and returning to designated “atmosphere” zones to replenish oxygen tanks when necessary. Likewise, gravity is lowered, so characters can jump extremely high (often with the help of gravity boosting jump pads), and use a “ground-pound” ability to damage enemies and blow up environmental objects.
All of these new additions mean “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” ought to give fans of the original games just what they’re looking for: more of the fantastic formula they love, with enough twists and new angles to keep things fresh and tasty. Find out for yourself when the game launches on Xbox 360 in October.