Borderlands: The Pre-Whatever

I love the Borderlands franchise.

The original was an impulse buy at Gamestop. I was attracted to the unique cover and art style of the game. The guy behind the counter told me it was worth the less than ten bucks they were asking.

“Do you like shooters and a shit-ton of loot?” he asked.

“Who doesn’t?” I replied.

“Get it. It’s like a cell-shaded Mad Max Diablo with guns.” To this day, that’s my favorite explanation of Borderlands.

I mowed through the original in over a weekend. The sequel, in about a week. When I heard about the third installment that would fill the gap between the two, I couldn’t have been more excited for a release, even if it were a re-skin of Borderlands 2.

Due to the holiday release date, I couldn’t get it right away, and when I did, was buried in my pile of games. I needed to shoot something. All gamers should know that feeling. A few bad days in a row at work and you want to run around chucking grenades and other general rampage acts.

I finished Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in about four hours. That’s because I didn’t finish it.

The gameplay is what you would expect from the franchise. The humor is spot-on, and what I could get from the story seemed fine. But the biggest issue, the sole fun-sucking flaw in what should have been a quality release is what should have been it’s major selling point: the zero gravity.

In the world of open world games freedom is king. Zero gravity and the potential for long, distant jumps should have allowed the developers to expand the arena upwards. I imagined dungeons and psycho strongholds built into the sides of mountains or in the bottom of craters. Areas that would be inaccessible if not for the new game mechanic. But, like the others, the game is on a flat surface. The difference however is Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is not an open world game. It just wants you to think it is.

Due to poor design in either the art department or the layout, the vacuum between waypoints are littered with insta-death areas that seem to be part of the playable map. It’s only after you walk or drive on these surfaces that you realize you weren’t supposed to go there. It’s always a jarring revelation, since it seems like you should be able to access these areas.

In some spots the death from falling is obvious, but still falls from the same poor design. Crawling through narrow paths littered with enemies was fine on the surface of Pandora, but why in space, can’t I just make a long jump to where I want to go? Why cant my enemies long jump when they see me and a exercise in space jousting commence?

Bottom line: even something as fun as Borderlands can’t get over the chore of navigating a poorly planned overworld. The ratio of fun to work is skewed too much to the wrong side to keep me playing.

Time Played: 4 hours

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