Gearbox is sharing the development reins for the next Borderlands title with 2K Australia for the first time ever, and their foray in the series is out of this world – like, literally out of Pandora and onto the moon.
While I admit that I’m a bit biased because I absolutely adore the series, the 20 minute demo shown at PAX East included a dose of “incredible” to go along with a lot of the old.
The Pre-Sequel takes place between the campaigns of Borderlands 1 and 2, in which players can choose one of Handsome Jack’s lieutenants, including Athena the Gladiator and Wilhelm the Enforcer. If they sound familiar to you, it’s because they appeared in previous Borderlands games, Athena in the first game’s General Knoxx DLC, and Wilheim as Jack’s main henchman in Borderlands 2.
Despite the startling revelation that Handsome Jack is seemingly fighting for good, there’s far more to which you can look forward, such as double jumping and the new butt stomp move. In fact, the gameplay is increasingly more fun on the moon, thanks to its zero-gravity, which allows for high jumps and dead enemy corpses floating away into space.
The developers also showcased new elemental weapon types like “cryo guns.” It only takes a few shots fired from a cryo weapon and enemies get frozen solid. You can continue to shoot or melee frozen enemies, shattering them into many bits and pieces that float away into the darkness, but the best and most entertaining method of murder is by way of butt stomping frozen foes.
The cryo gun isn’t the only new weapon type, we also get frickin’ laser beams! And depending on the brand of gun you use, the rate of fire will vary. The ones demonstrated were similar to a Ghostbuster-like blast or the “pew pew pew” sounds of a Star Wars Blaster.
Overall, the PAX East demo looked just as exciting as the previous titles. Though the demo shown resembles Borderlands 2 more than a completely new experience, I’m looking forward to plunging into the backstory of Handsome Jack and seeing Wilheim’s transformation from man to a full-blown killing machine. Fans of the series will notice that The Pre-Sequel seems to offer much more in terms of narrative than the first two Borderlands games.
The only gripe I had with the demo comes from the series’ addition of the “oxygen meter,” which is similar to the current franchises’ life and shield meters, and may be a bit overwhelming to manage. I was also rather perplexed as to why Claptrap, everyone’s favorite dancing robot, would need oxygen to survive. Or even more, what happens when players oxygen meter is depleted? A part of me hopes to see some eye-popping decompressing similar to that in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall.
If you didn’t have a chance to check out the demo at PAX East, take a look at the developer’s overview below:
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will be released later this year for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.