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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Preview

Alex_Osborn By:
DEVELOPER 2K Australia 
M Contains Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Out of this world.

Gearbox Software may not be working on Borderlands 3 right now, but that hasn't stopped the studio from entrusting the franchise to 2K Australia to make what it calls a "pre-sequel" which bridges the gap between the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2. Is a team other than Gearbox even capable of delivering a proper Borderlands experience filled with the humor, charm, and creativity so essential in the first two games?

After seeing a demo of the game at PAX East, I can confidently say that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is shaping up to be a solid middle chapter, providing plenty of laughs, loot, and wackiness that fans have come to expect from a game bearing the Borderlands name.

The game takes place on the moon that orbits Pandora. You heard me right, the moon. As such, the folks over at 2K have had fun adding in a slew of new tweaks to the gameplay mechanics. For one, low gravity makes jumping long distances and incredible heights a piece of cake. Players also have a jetpack at their disposal to get that extra boost to clear a large chasm. In addition, a new ability the studio referred to as the "butt stomp" allows gamers to slam down on an enemy, dealing massive amounts of damage.

There's now an O2 meter at the bottom of the screen as well, as maintaining a healthy amount of oxygen is key to survival. Fortunately, there are plenty of O2 beacons around the world, so hunting for the life-sustaining fuel is never a chore. Plus, the use of this precious resource allows for some killer combat scenarios. Just lure a group of enemies into an O2-enclosed area and set them afire to satisfying effect.

And what would a Borderlands game be without a slew of new guns, am I right? 2K Australia showed off a number of new firearms coming to The Pre-Sequel, including a cryo-gun that freezes enemies right where they stand. Want to run up and smash them to bits? Go for it! Or perhaps you want to jump high in the air and "butt stomp" their immobile body into large ice chunks? It's your call.

That's just a taste of the crazy ways you can kill the planet's foes. With low gravity you can send enemies hurtling into space, spinning spread eagle. Emptying a round into one of the baddies only to see him fly off into the black darkness is hilarious and never gets old. Plus, all of the moon's inhabitants have Australian accents, because... why not?

While Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is only coming to last-gen consoles and PC, that doesn't mean fans of the franchise shouldn't be excited. Sure, we may be several years off from a true next-gen Borderlands experience, but this inter-sequel will undoubtedly serve as a nice stopgap to tide fans over until Gearbox gets around to making a proper third entry. Plus, it further fleshes out the franchise's colorful cast, chronicling the rise and fall of Handsome Jack. If that weren't enough, you can play as Claptrap. Enough said!

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launches later this year for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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