I got a chance to play a bit of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel last week—and you can see some highlights of the mission I played in the video above, if you'd like.
Some scattered thoughts on the demo:
- The entire time, I could only think one thing: holy shit, Borderlands is massive. Overwhelming, almost. It's always been this way, of course: the franchise is known for having an incredible number of guns which can deal a colossal amount of damage, and I could spend hours just trying to figure out how to spec my new skill tree. But if the worlds were big before, they're even bigger now, thanks to low gravity. The game, you might recall, takes place on a moonbase. This means that you can take big, floaty jumps—and the levels have become more vertical to accommodate that. Nearly anything you see, you seem to be able to scale.
- So there's a bit more focus on the platforming, both to get to areas the game wants you to visit, but also in terms of finding an approach that works best for you. Do you want to take enemies head-on? Do you want to get to a vantage point up high? Maybe a bit of both? I'm guessing it'll be a bit of both for most people, since the game has a lot of jump pads, and it also gives you a "butt stomp" move that lets you do this:
And higher you are, the more powerful that move becomes.
- The stomp is a pretty fun addition, and it's one that can save your skin when you're in a pinch. Enemies like to come in clusters in this game, after all. The butt stomp is great way of dealing with problems. I particularly liked chaining guns that could freeze enemies with butt-stomps to break the ice, like in the GIF above. Efficiency!
- You now have an oxygen meter and have to stay on top of your oxygen levels. Special items and areas can replenish your meter, but if you run out, it's not really the end of the world. Your health starts slowly dwindling, but once you get air again, it replenishes again. I can't decide if I like this mechanic or not, but it certainly fits with the theme.
- Athena, the character that holds a shield, is a blast to play. You can use her shield to soak up damage and then you can throw the shield at your enemies. The more damage you absorb, the more powerful it is. One of the more powerful abilities in your skill tree lets you chain different enemies in a group with every throw, which makes dealing with mobs easier. The best part is that abilities seem to recharge fairly quickly. You can also spec Athena to enhance her butt-stomp—enemies will be drawn in by her butt. It's kind of funny.
- Wilhelm was slightly less exciting for me, but he still seems interesting. He has the ability to use drones, and I specced them to kamikaze themselves onto enemies.
- Yes, the humor is still there. I'm told this game will have a lot of Aussie humor, since the developers are based in Australia. You can see some of that in the footage.
- Lasers are a ton of fun, and possibly my new favorite weapon type. The particular gun I used made it so that I became less accurate the more I shot, which was a bummer. But I'm still all about the pew-pews.
- The game feels, at its core, like more Borderlands (plus some space stuff). But that's not a bad thing, necessarily: there's a lot of charm here, a lot of heart, and yes, a lot of guns. But I say this as someone who didn't play too much of Borderlands 2, so I'm not burned out on the franchise just yet. I'm guessing that the game will mostly draw either diehards that want to know more about Handsome Jack's past, which this game goes into, or people who haven't played too much of the franchise.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches on October 14th for the 360, PS3 and PC.