Insane side of the moon
You've played Borderlands, you know Borderlands, you love Borderlands. Fans are still just as addicted to its brand of shootin'-and-lootin' action now as the day these games were first released. And who could blame them? They're investing themselves into a world full of unforgettable characters, zany humor, and more randomly generated guns than you can shake a cartridge at.
Regardless of whether you're a diehard Vault Hunter or not, you might be asking yourself: what's this new Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel all about? Yes, it takes place on the moon instead of Pandora itself--but how will it surprise me? That, dear reader, is where I come in atop a Claptrap that's carrying a disco ball and throwing confetti. Allow me to explain how Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel distinguishes itself from its forefathers, and what Elpis has to offer that may totally change the way you play Borderlands.
Laser guns let you unleash your inner Ghostbuster
Ever since watching Peter Venkman, Egon, and the rest of the Ghostbusters gear up, you know you've always wanted to harness the awesome, raw power of a proton pack. Or hey, maybe you're more of a Stormtrooper fan, delighted by rapid-fire lasers and the "pew pew!" sounds that come with them. Well guess what, classic movie fan? The new laser weapons you can find on Elpis let you live out all your weaponized-beam-of-light fantasies, with hilariously violent results.
Pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, whatever--they're all eligible for laser-beam ammunition in place of bullets, complete with dazzling colors that match any elemental effects. The continuous beams from some laser guns are particularly refreshing, since their slight-but-continuous recoil makes wielding them feel like you're aiming a giant fire hose that sprays out glowing death. And if you and a co-op buddy both fancy laser-beam weapons, you'll have full reign to cross the streams as much as you like!
Cryo weapons turn your enemies into hilariously breakable ice sculptures
There you are, at a fancy soiree or dinner party, staring into the unblinking eyes of a giant ice sculpture. You know you shouldn't, but you want so badly to push it over--not (necessarily) because you're obsessed with destruction, but just to see how it'll break. But Elpis is no dinner party, and you won't be horrendously judged by your peers for defiling an expensive statue carved from frozen water. And in The Pre-Sequel, you can desecrate as many frozen bodies as you like, thanks to the newfangled Cryo weapons.
Pretend you're Old Man Winter as you freeze targets solid, locking them in place and effectively removing them from the fight. Sure, you could just leave them there until they defrost--but we all know that you'd rather just smash that human popsicle into a million frosty pieces. A melee wallop will do the trick, but true Vault Hunters know the glee that comes with shattering those frozen chumps with a well-aimed aerial butt-slam.
More moral ambiguity than ever!
If you didn't already know, The Pre-Sequel has you working for Handsome Jack, the big bad from Borderlands 2. Yes, Jack's an egomaniacal smartass who seems to enjoy killing innocent people. But how bad is he really? Over the course of The Pre-Sequel's story, you'll watch Jack's rise from lowly programmer to power-mad tyrant but you just might find yourself feeling sympathetic for the guy along the way.
But hey, enough about your boss--what about you? Depending on which class and character you pick, you could be playing as a renegade that is destined to become a not-so-nice villain in Borderlands 2. And when you're blasting away goons on Elpis, you might ask yourself: am I just shootin' up bad guys for money, or am I actually just a rampaging murderer right now? Hey, I'm not saying The Pre-Sequel will make you experience an existential crisis, but these kinds of moral quandaries don't come up nearly as often for all those other Vault Hunters.
You can help (and grief) all your teammates with Claptrap's Action Skill
Whether you love his optimism or hate his non-stop chatter, the chipper robot Claptrap is one of Borderlands' most iconic characters. At long last, The Pre-Sequel finally lets you play as one, thanks to the Fragtrap class. And true to his character, playing as Claptrap means you'll be the most appreciated or aggravating member of your team. That's because of the chaotic nature of Claptrap's Action Skill: vaulthunter.exe, which affects the whole crew of Vault Hunters.
Upon activation, Claptrap boots up a program (don't call it malware!) that temporarily transforms his chassis and unleashes a random effect on the whole squad. Many of these forms are modeled after previous Vault Hunters; maybe you'll get a taste of the Gunzerkers dual-wielding action, or a dinkier version of the Mechromancer's robot buddy. But if vaulthunter.exe backfires, you--and your buddies--will have to deal with the utter chaos of effects like one-shot weapons, or a brief fit of non-stop bounciness. If you're rolling with Claptrap, the only sure thing is a copious amount of unpredictable shenanigans.
Bouncing around in low gravity is a game-changer
There's another game that's pretty popular with the FPS crowd right now--Bungie's Marathon, or some such. It lets you experience the freedom of gracefully soaring through the low-gravity atmosphere, gliding around like a majestic eagle decked out in a slick astronaut outfit. And guess what? Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has this same glorious freedom-of-movement, but amped up in typical Borderlands fashion.
It's not just that your jumps propel you higher and farther than they do in other games--it's that they're faster. A quick tap on your Oz kit will launch you forward, letting you cover gigantic distances with a few skillfully guided leaps and bounds. Exploring the expansive surface of Elpis is already exciting, with all its outlandish environments--but when your method of locomotion is the middle ground between sprinting and flying, it's an absolute blast.
It's 500% more Australian
As you might've heard, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is primarily being developed by 2K Australia, whose work you might know from a little series called BioShock. And when you're first frolicking around Elpis, you might start to notice some... speech-related similarities between many of the NPCs, be they allies or enemies. No, you're not going crazy--pretty much everyone on Elpis speaks with an Australian accent. And it is glorious.
Take Janey Springs, your first point of contact on Pandora's moon. Thanks to her cheerful demeanor, delightful Australian slang, and scathingly accurate impersonations of the unwashed American masses, you'll start to feel like a welcome guest on this moon down under. And wait till you meet Peepot, a crazy drunk who rambles about jumbucks and tuckerbags faster than you can possibly keep up. Unless you're a native Aussie, this new twist on the patented Borderlands sense of humor will throw you for a loop--in a good way. Like when there's a koala icon in one of Claptrap's ability trees for absolutely no reason.
Oz kits give you another way to specialize your gear
You should know by now that shootin' is only half the battle--because lootin' is the ever-present carrot on a stick that has you fiendishly searching for the next awesome upgrade. And finding sick new gear isn't just about weapons, either. You might initially scoff at the thought of getting excited over a shield that releases a shockwave or a grenade that repeatedly spews bullets in the affected area. But play long enough, and you'll totally get the rush that comes with finding the perfect item to fit into your gear slots.
Oz kits, the devices that let you breath, even when you're traipsing around the surface of a moon, aren't just glorified oxygen masks. Like your guns, shields, and grenade choices, Oz kits also come with a suite of powerful effects, like elemental damage added to your butt-slam move that can poison enemies or electrocute them on the spot. Yep--you just found a new item slot to obsess over. Maybe one day, you'll be lucky enough to find a Legendary Oz kit, so you can wear it proudly in front of all your envious friends.
Hooray for Framing Devices!
Spoiler alert! The events of The Pre-Sequel are actually being recollected by a captured Athena, as she's being interrogated by Lilith and her Vault Hunter compatriots after the events of Borderlands 2. As we all know from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (and no, not the Jake Gyllenhaal movie), framing devices are an awesome way to tell a story within a story. It's a structure that offers all the intensity and immediacy of living out each gun fight, mixed with all the humor and insight that comes with comments from the captive audience.
If you're familiar with the existing Borderlands cast, it's great hearing Brick chime in with jealousy when Athena recounts using a jump-pad, or Mordecai admire how action-packed the start of her story is (unlike his own humble beginnings on a bus). It's also a neat way to get to know this new set of Vault Hunters better, like getting Athena's recollection of what she was thinking at the time, and how she judges her actions in the aftermath. Oh, and just wait until you unlock True Vault Hunter Mode.