Monday, December 1, 2014

Borderlands The Pre-Sequel

Since is the first time (in years!) that I've managed to play through a game when it was still relatively new, and since I just finished the game (in the sense of "went through the entire storyline once", as opposed to, say, "went through the entire storyline in super-ultimate-instant-death-vault-hunter mode" or "maxed out my character"), I thought I'd throw up a few thoughts here:

1. It's really fun, and -- as I rather expected -- it's extremely well done, from the playability to the settings to the storyline to the voice acting to, um, everything else. I'm not sure it's quite as awesome as Borderlands II, and in some ways it seems a bit... smaller? shorter? ...with the result that some of the side-quests seemed a little forced to me. That's not to say that the side-quests aren't fun and interesting; they are. It's just that... well, in Borderlands II there's so much going on that it seems like there should be some down-time when the characters might reasonably take a couple of odd jobs and just knock around for a bit before getting sucked back into the main storyline. In the Pre-Sequel, the storyline doesn't really have any of those sorts of breaks; so most of the side-quests were things that, realistically, my character should have been putting aside until after the world-threatening dangers were dealt with. Doing them as they came up in the game was still fun, but it kind of "broke the frame" for me. (That may seem odd, given the level of meta-references throughout the Borderlands games, but there it is.)

2. Athena may well be the Vault Hunter I've most enjoyed playing. In the original Borderlands, I wound up playing Mordecai; I'd basically just sit waaaaaay back with a sniper rifle and pick things off, then switch to a pistol if something got too close, then call out Bloodwing if I got in trouble. With Borderlands II, I figured I'd follow the same strategy, and tried to play Zero; I wound up very frustrated, and switched over to Axton instead. Then the Psycho Pack came out, and Krieg became my character of choice - basically the same strategy, except that when I got into trouble I'd go into a rampage and start smashing things with my buzzaxe. (That said, while I preferred playing Krieg, it was mainly for the character; Axton actually suits my play style better. I like having something that'll actually protect me when I get in trouble.) Athena, though... that combination of making enemies bleed (for continuous damage), making enemies explode (if they're bleeding when they die), that dashing attack (which makes getting into melee range sooooo much easier), and the Aspis (which actually tends to keep you from dying when you get in trouble)... Well, Athena's pretty awesome. She manages to be melee-oriented and suit my play style. Win-win-win! Sir Hammerlock would say.

3. The handling of "Bad Guy Perspective" is nicely done. (In Borderlands II, Handsome Jack is the enemy. In the Pre-Sequel, you're working for him.) He starts out seeming reasonably heroic, and becomes more evil (and crazier) by degrees as the game progresses. Basically, the Pre-Sequel does an excellent job of making Jack seem like someone you might reasonably be willing to work for, without contradicting his role as the Big Bad in Borderlands II.

4. Speaking of Borderlands II, one of these days I need to write a post about how Roland is actually a direct reincarnation of Aeris (from Final Fantasy VII).

5. I'm really looking forward to the expansion packs. Partly, that's just because I like playing Athena and I like playing the game; but it's also because, as I said earlier, this game seems a little smaller in its overall scope than Borderlands II was. I'm looking forward to having new things to do and new places to poke around. Hopefully one of those missions will finally, actually resolve the problem of the infection on the space station... Also, does Athena still have bugs in her brain?

6. Having enjoyed Athena so much, I'd also like to try out the other characters. The only other one I've tried is Claptrap, and he(?) is fun, too. Completely random and annoying, but fun.

What have you been playing?


  1. What have you been playing?

    I finally own a computer capable of playing Mass Effect, and my unusual school schedule is such that I just finished finals and now have two months of winter vacation ahead of me. (I haven't had a break that long in three years, so that ought to be fun.) Thing is, after finishing the "prologue" mission, I'm finding myself severely tempted by Runescape and its new goodies.

    I'm thinking I'll play Runescape for a while. I can still play Mass Effect later. (Or, possibly, I've completely misjudged the part of my subconscious that determines which video game I want to play, won't be able to get into Runescape, and will go back to Mass Effect immediately rather than in a few weeks. I really don't know yet.)

  2. Ooh, Runescape sounds like fun. I haven't played any of the Mass Effect games, but I hear good things about 'em.


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