Pre-Sequel has always been treated as the black sheep of the Borderlands series by many fans, and I'll agree with them on that. I avoided this game until recently because I couldn't initially get into it, but I had a change of heart. I played it. Today, I'll be answering these questions: Are the flaws with this game really that massive, or are they really not that big of a deal? Is this game actually bad? That's what's up for discussion here. Before I get into it though, the format of this will be a lot like a series done by a favorite YouTuber of mine named Fawful's Minion called "Blessed or Messed." If you aren't familiar, I'll be placing a point value on positive and negative traits of the game (except I'll use a different points system) and I'll make a judgment from which number ends up greater and by how much. I'll just start with the good.
- This game, mechanically speaking, actually retains most of what makes the Borderlands games great (Yes, most, and that will come up later). The loot system (although the more flawed one from Borderlands 2) remained completely intact, the gun variety is still there, it kept it's sense of humor, and the gameplay still feels like you're playing Borderlands. It's the fast-paced, first person shooter and RPG hybrid that we know and love still and that in itself is quite great. I mean it is expected, but the gameplay is still quite solid. +10
- The platforming in Zero-Gravity, although a little easy even by Borderlands standards (hey it isn't a platformer!), feels absolutely AWESOME. You can utilize the lack of gravity to your advantage in navigating levels with an amount of speed and thoroughness that's absent in other games (although bunny hopping and grenade hopping are rather fast ways to move around in Borderlands 2 and 1 respectively). Also, it feels like it was executed in such a way that it almost feels natural after a while. +3 (Two plus one more because of the Slam mechanic)
- I really like the premise of the story. It's always refreshing to see a game from the villain's perspective, and see how they justify their own actions. It brings a level of depth to the plot that makes for a lot of interest on my end. It's really helpful in the case of Handsome Jack to have this because he made feeble attempts in trying to justify himself and demonize you in the original game. +2
- Am I the only one who wishes that there were a character like Athena in another game? I think her kit has easily the best design of everyone's in this game. You can either play around elemental damage, your action skill, or massively painful melee attacks. She also complements the addition of Cryo perfectly. +2
- Oh I forgot. A point for the addition of Cryo. Although it's way too powerful, I really like the crowd control mechanic, and it was executed fairly well. +1
- The characters you play as ACTUALLY TALK NOW. Seriously, they respond to NPCs in certain conversations. It's a nice touch of polish. +1
- This game added a dimension to Lilith specifically that I can appreciate. This game actually makes her look really bad, and I like it. +1
- Some of the side quests are actually pretty entertaining. Nothing quite like Face McShooty's quest from Borderlands 2, but I found some humor in them. Especially the Torgue quest, because anyone who can't find Mr. Torgue amusing doesn't have a soul... +1
- The game does a decent job of further building on the Borderlands universe. Yeah, just decent. +1
Now moving onto the bad...
- I said the PREMISE of the story was good. The story itself though? It is the WEAKEST of the series. BY AND FAR. It did almost nothing to justify Jack's actions during the game or Borderlands 2. The plot had several holes, and didn't really mesh well with the rest of the series, either. Why exactly would the vault hunters ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH THE PERSON THAT TOOK ALL THE CREDIT FOR OPENING THE FREAKING VAULT? It's convenient enough ANYWAYS that they're even ON Elpis (they're there on... VACATION?)... It seems more like it should have been DLC than an actual game in this regard. -4
- The O2 meter was an ASTOUNDINGLY dumb design choice. I understand Elpis has no atmosphere, and you couldn't breathe without oxygen, but that cannot and WILL NOT justify a mechanic that punishes you for trying to get around, or FORCES you into standing around doing nothing for an amount of time that adds up QUITE quickly. Not even to mention that the only reason they'd add this isn't consistent with the blatant lack of realism the series has. -3
- They kept Badass Ranks. I can't believe that they'd keep literally the WORST thing about Borderlands 2... -3
- Why exactly do the laser weapons of this game feel totally redundant to me? Is it because they could have been replaced by Sniper Rifles or SMGs with similar effects? Oh why am I asking this question, when the answer is quite obviously yes. This weapon category contributed next to NOTHING to this game, and I hope they replace it with similar weapons of different types in Borderlands 3, or maybe make their effects apply to a specific manufacturer. -2
- Moxxi being blatantly out of character is downright inexcusable. The attempt to brush it off really didn't work on me. Not even to mention that attempt wasn't even referring to the ACTUAL PROBLEM! It was referring to... her make-up being different and her covered up southern accent? Seriously? -2
- The boss fights in this game are so badly designed... None of these fights was remotely interesting or compelling to me at all... -2
- NO. FREAKING. SLAG. I don't care if it doesn't precisely line up with the game canonically. I MISS MY SLAG. -1
- Nurse Nina is literally a walking "strong, Russian-sounding woman" stereotype that reminds me WAY too much of Zarya from Overwatch for some reason. Zed was an amazing character, who probably had some of the funniest lines in the entire series, and they replace him... with that? Not acceptable. Just not acceptable. -1
- Congratulations for butchering Mordecai's character even MORE. You make him look like a bumbling drunk has-been who can't stop stealing second winds and annoying you with a bad impression of his old voicing, and then you make him look like a complete moron? He was totally badass in the first game... What went wrong? -1
- Aside from Athena's kit, I didn't really like the design of the other characters. None of them have quite the appeal of the playable characters from the other games. -1
This game may be the black sheep of the series for good reason, but it's not really a bad game. It still retains what makes Borderlands great, and puts in interesting twists. Sure, it proved that Gearbox and 2K Games should never trust 2K Australia to make a Borderlands game EVER AGAIN, but it's still going to get a solid 7/10 from me. I can still see a degree of enjoyment here, and a unique experience that is worth playing, though I'd recommend not doing so not too many times more than once. The first two games are much more worth playing over and over with every character, and I'd even recommend doing so. But here, all I could recommend is maybe two saves... Past that point, you have to have better things to do with your time than playing this.