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Homeworld Remastered photo
Homeworld Remastered

Homeworld Remastered's new vid is a modern trailer for a modern launch


The Age of S'jet begins again
Feb 25
// Josh Tolentino
My Steam clock tells me that Homeworld Remastered Collection unlocks in less than nine hours, but that just means there's just enough time left to put up this here launch trailer, which is brimming with all the bombast ...
Homeworld trailer photo
Homeworld trailer

Homeworld Remastered Collection trailer shows off sexy-voiced cultist or something


'If you will not join, then die'
Feb 19
// Darren Nakamura
All right, I'll admit it: I know almost nothing about Homeworld. After reading the plot synopsis on Wikipedia (yeah journalism!), I got the gist of how things go, but with all of the alien races involved I can't really place...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Borderlands leaving old gen behind


New gen gets all the newness
Feb 03
// Robert Summa
Coming out of an always-exciting earnings call that publishers love to have, it was revealed that the next Borderlands game will be for next-gen only (or new gen or current gen or whatever gen you want to fight about on the I...
Burch leaves Gearbox photo
Burch leaves Gearbox

Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch is leaving Gearbox


Going to Los Angeles to work on a new RocketJump project
Jan 30
// Darren Nakamura
Almost five years ago, Anthony Burch went from being a Destructoid staff member to a Destructoid alumnus, moving on to work as a writer at Gearbox Software. On his personal Twitter account this morning, he announced that he w...
Lady Hammerlock video photo
Lady Hammerlock video

Borderlands' Sir Hammerlock thinks his sister is an 'exceedingly bad person'


'She's wealthy, she's merciless, she's not a hero'
Jan 27
// Darren Nakamura
The Lady Hammerlock Pack of downloadable content is out for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel today so 2K and Gearbox have released an introduction video for the Baroness. While she is not really a villain, she is not exactly a he...
Borderlands 3 photo
Borderlands 3

Gearbox 'ready to start' Borderlands 3, begins hiring process


This could be you, apparently!
Jan 25
// Mike Cosimano
During the official Borderlands panel at PAX South, Gearbox chief Randy Pitchford confirmed the company was "ready to start" production on a new game in the franchise, later taking to Twitter with an open call to developers l...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's new downloadable character is out this Tuesday


Gearbox hints about the upcoming story DLC too
Jan 25
// Darren Nakamura
The inaugural PAX South is wrapping up today, and Gearbox's panel just ended. We heard about the plans with Homeworld earlier, but the studio's cash cow for the past several years has been the Borderlands series, so of course...
Homeworld Remastered photo
Homeworld Remastered

We Can Go Homeworld Again: Gearbox sets date for Homeworld Remastered


Engine trails ahoy!
Jan 25
// Josh Tolentino
Finally! The Mothership has arrived. It's been quite a while since we last heard word from Gearbox and its plan to spruce up the Homeworld series for a much-needed rerelease, but more details have just jumped in, includ...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

These are the most popular Borderlands characters


As decided by the fans
Jan 08
// Mike Cosimano
Per the official Borderlands Twitter account, Krieg, Claptrap, and Tiny Tina are the series' most popular characters amongst Borderlands fans. There's no clear indication which character received the most votes, but I wager C...
Borderlands Remaster photo
Borderlands Remaster

Australian Classification Board listing points to Borderlands collection on current generation consoles


You all saw it coming
Dec 11
// Darren Nakamura
It seems like every post about Borderlands has the same comments in it: a scathing remark about Aliens: Colonial Marines, a proclamation to wait for the Game of the Year Edition, and a prediction that 2K and Gearbox will...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Bonus mission for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel ties into Tales


Help Dr. Nakayama with a secret project
Dec 09
// Darren Nakamura
[Update]: In an email to Destructoid, 2K has confirmed that the Handsome AI bonus mission will be included for free as part of the update adding Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, not part of the Holodome Onslaught DLC pack that ret...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's second piece of DLC is out December 16


Welcome to the Holodome
Dec 04
// Darren Nakamura
2K Games announced today the second DLC pack for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and as with the first pack, it is commendable in some ways but disappointing in others. In The Holodome Onslaught, Axton and Gaige join the crew in...
Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Catch a jaunty tune (and an elbow to the grill) in this Tales from the Borderlands trailer


Episode One: Zer0 Sum
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
Telltale titles and Borderlands are almost polar opposites. One has you constantly making tough, game-altering decisions. The other only asks that you decide between shooting everything and dying. (Hint: you defini...
Borderlands screens photo
Borderlands screens

Here are more than 100 Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum screenshots


Telltale art
Nov 25
// Darren Nakamura
I take lots of screenshots. It's just something I do. The signature cel-shaded art style of the Borderlands series lends itself to grabbing sharp, colorful screens of crazy weapons, breathtaking vistas, and intense cutsc...

Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum

Nov 25 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: November 25, 2014 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Any who have played a Telltale game in the past few years will find few surprises here. Play is split into sections of walking around and examining the surroundings, making dialogue choices that sometimes have profound effects on the path of the narrative, and navigating interactive cutscenes through quick-time events. That said, Tales from the Borderlands includes a few new lore-appropriate features. Rhys, one of the two protagonists, is in management at Hyperion. Three years after the fall of Handsome Jack, he has schmoozed his way into the upper echelon of the corporation. In doing so, he has access to advanced technology that grants him special abilities. His left eye is a cybernetic Echo Eye that can be used to scan objects for additional information, which often contains funny descriptions. His right arm is entirely robotic, and can be used to communicate with his friends or call down a custom combat Loader bot when the situation gets hairy.  Fiona, the other main character, is a Pandoran scam artist. Without a large company's assets at her disposal, she instead relies on her wit and the power of cold, hard cash. Having money on hand opens up additional narrative options through purchases or bribery. In contrast to the core titles in the series, money is a finite resource here; if it is spent early, it will not be available for potential use later on. This type of quandary also comes up with Fiona's hidden pistol: It has one bullet in it and the choice of whether to use it or not at any given point is not an obvious one. [embed]283779:56317:0[/embed] The narrative moves back and forth between Rhys and Fiona, who form a fragile alliance toward a common goal. The two get separated occasionally, each sent to experience a different set of simultaneous events. When the two come together, it has an almost Tarantino-esque feel, where the player gets to see the same scene play out through another viewpoint and with additional context to frame it. Part of that effect stems from the fact that the story is being told through flashback by the two not-quite-trustworthy characters. There are points when one or the other is obviously embellishing the story, which brings up the question of whether they are stretching the truth in other, less obvious instances. One slight disappointment with the storytelling is the illusion of choice it sometimes helps to create. In one sequence, the player is asked to describe what "the most important part" of the story is, and a handful of very different choices are made available. Though it initially seems like this choice could drive the story in one of a few hugely different directions, it turns out that all of those choices happen and it is only a matter of which the character emphasizes. That said, the overall narrative is fantastic. Despite the shift in focus from gunplay to wordplay, the events that unfold are sufficiently exciting, violent, and absurd to fit into the Borderlands universe. If anything, the tone of Tales is a little less wacky than that of Borderlands 2. There is still the over-the-top depiction of a lawless land, but a back alley stabbing in Tales feels heavier and more real than a bandit dissolving from a corrosive shotgun blast in previous games in the franchise. The writing does a superb job of capturing the dark comedy of the Borderlands universe. There are probably as many "laugh out loud" moments in Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum as there are in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which is impressive because the latter is about ten times longer than the former. And some of those moments are not just snorts or chuckles, but actual sustained laughter. This might be the funniest Borderlands game to date, and it is at least the densest in that sense. The downside to Telltale's focus on crafting a great story is that it seems like classic adventure gameplay takes a backseat here more than ever. Exploration sections are cut short before the player can finish scouring an area and the only things close to being puzzles are Rhys's decision on how to spec his Loader companion for an impending battle and a simple memory exercise for Fiona. The Telltale Tool engine might be showing its age with other new releases, but it shows off Borderlands' signature comic book style well. Pandora is every bit as bright and colorful as a desert wasteland can be, and it looks great despite the low polygon count. Aside from the disappointing lack of puzzles and limit on exploration, Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum is excellent. Where the first episodes of other Telltale series can start off slowly, Tales maintains high energy throughout. Its consistently funny writing and duo of unreliable narrator protagonists set the stage for a great overarching story, and it feels very much like it belongs in the Borderlands franchise. If the rest of the season maintains this level of quality, Tales from the Borderlands will be up there in history with the other great recent Telltale adventures. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Telltale Borderlands photo
Two tales worth telling
[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] When Tales ...

Telltale Borderlands photo
Telltale Borderlands

Tales from the Borderlands behind the scenes video vaguely answers a question about Handsome Jack


Yes, Handsome Jack is dead
Nov 22
// Darren Nakamura
Back when Tales from the Borderlands was first announced at last year's VGX, one of the questions that came up was, "Wait, why is Handsome Jack in the trailer if this occurs after the events of Borderlands 2? Shouldn't he be...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's Jack the Doppelganger is too sexy for his shirt


But he leaves it on anyway
Nov 11
// Darren Nakamura
I frown on the idea that additional Vault Hunters are being offered for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's season pass in place of story DLC (rather than in addition to it, as Gaige the Mechromancer and Krieg the Psycho were in B...

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel illustrates the danger of nebulous season passes

Nov 03 // Darren Nakamura
To be clear, I was never one to complain about how Gearbox handled Borderlands 2's season pass. Where many would rail against the developer for producing content that was not included in the season pass (or even the Game of the Year Edition), I always saw it from a more measured viewpoint. Borderlands 2's season pass promised four pieces of story-based downloadable content, and it delivered four pieces of story-based downloadable content along with a bonus level cap increase that those without a season pass had to purchase separately. I bought it in good will before the game came out, and I felt like I got my money's worth. The fact that Gearbox continued to produce content for Borderlands 2 after the season pass had run its course never phased me. People wanted more stuff to do on Pandora, and were willing to pay for those experiences. The extra characters and Headhunter packs were far from essential to the experience, and they were never stated to be included in the season pass to begin with. As an informed consumer, I did not feel cheated. However, there were those who did feel cheated, and that might have contributed to this current mishandling. Many in the Borderlands community complained that BL2's season pass/Game of the Year Edition did not include all of the post-release content, and according to Gearbox Product Manager Chris Faylor, this move is an "[attempt] to address that." So now, instead of four story-based DLC packs that are included in The Pre-Sequel's season pass, along with other pieces of downloadable content that are available for additional fees, it sounds like the total amount of content is being reduced in order for it all to be included in the season pass. Worse yet, if we take the official Borderlands blog post's words literally, we can expect "another character, a level cap upgrade, a new campaign, and more," which lays down a particularly dismal tentative DLC schedule. Where previous games in the series featured four additional story packs, are we really meant to expect only one this time? Looking back at the Pre-Sequel season pass announcement, it is not that 2K lied or even blatantly misrepresented what players should expect in the season pass. So little information is there that the developers have quite a bit of leeway with it. Even on the official blog post, there is never any mention of what type of DLC is planned. The only information given are the phrases "new characters," "new challenges," "new missions," and "new experiences," which in hindsight are incredibly vague. All that is concretely stated is that there would be a season pass, that it would include four undefined pieces of content, and that buying the season pass would cost less than buying all four pieces individually. The problem here is one of expectation. Borderlands featured four pieces of downloadable content, and all four were story-based additions that included new areas to explore, new enemies to fight, and new missions to take on. Borderlands 2 continued that tradition with its four main DLC packs, along with a bevy of other content. I am certain that I am not alone in having made the assumption that the four add-on packs promised in The Pre-Sequel's season pass would follow that same pattern. I do not mean to belittle the amount of work that must be necessary in the design, balance, and playtesting of an entirely new character or even something like Borderlands 2's Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode (Playthrough 3). I do not doubt that the teams behind those additions feel that they put a lot of effort into producing something worth selling for ten bucks, and I do not begrudge them for it. However, while those add-ons may require comparable amounts of work, the value of those additions for the consumer is much lower than that of the traditional story packs. So even though no promises are technically being broken, and 2K plans to deliver four digital additions to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for the price of three through the season pass, I cannot blame any who bought it for feeling cheated. The content fits the requirements laid out, but the value is not there. Even if the plans were to change from here onward and the season pass ends up including one new Vault Hunter and three story DLCs, the value of the pass over purchasing content piecemeal hinges on the quality of all three packs, and the series does not have a perfect track record on that front. Even for somebody who did not purchase the season pass, this news is disheartening. With a shorter base campaign and the possibility of only one story-based DLC pack, the lifespan of this game looks to be much smaller than those of its predecessors. It's like walking into a shipping container expecting a pizza party, only to find that the pizza is a hologram and the shipping container is about to be shot out of a cannon at the moon. In the months after Borderlands 2's release, there have been many in the community expressing extreme disappointment when it comes to the handling of post-release content. However, for those who complain that there exists content not included in the season pass, the intended solution was never to reduce the total amount of content in order for it to fit. Though it might have been an attempt to appease disgruntled fans, Jack's Doppelganger as DLC #1 for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has only bred more contempt in the community.
Borderlands DLC opinion photo
Glad I skipped this one
Over the weekend, details came out of PAX Australia regarding the first downloadable Vault Hunter for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. At first, it looked to me like a commendable gesture for a series that receives a lot of criti...

Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Jack's doppelganger in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will fight using digital clones


Just like Handsome Jack does in Borderlands 2
Nov 01
// Darren Nakamura
2K announced at PAX Prime that one of Jack's look-alike bodyguards would be the first DLC Vault Hunter for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but information past that was scant. Pieces of his back story can be found via semi-hidde...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Here are the details of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's Bloody Harvest Celebration


Lots of exploding pumpkins, basically
Oct 31
// Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's free, limited-time mini event Bloody Harvest Celebration just launched a couple hours ago. The teaser image has several pumpkin-flavored pieces of art, but little extra information. I jumped into...

What I want from Borderlands 3

Oct 28 // Bill Zoeker
 photo
Other than, like, it being announced
[WARNING: This video contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel] I finished the story mode in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel the other day which subtly teases what we might be seeing in Borderlands 3. It got me real excited, and seeing as I'm a big old Borderlands nerd; I couldn't help but postulate on what Borderlands 3 might be like... if it ever gets made.

Excalibastard photo
Excalibastard

I picked up the Excalibastard in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel


Kind of unfair, since I had a head start
Oct 17
// Darren Nakamura
There has been a bit of talk about an interesting legendary weapon in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel that is in plain sight, but unavailable at first. Excalibastard is stuck in a stone in the area Stanton's Liver, and only those...
Dibs on DLC Character #1 photo
Dibs on DLC Character #1

You fools! I have dibs on [DLC Character #1] in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!


Because the best things in life aren't free
Oct 13
// mrandydixon
Fools. You poor, poor, poor, poor fools. It's almost as if you don't even like winning at life. I mean, I guess there's nothing wrong with choosing Athena, Claptrap, Nisha, or Wilhelm as your go-to character in Borderlands: T...
Borderlands screens photo
Borderlands screens

Here are more than 200 Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel screenshots


Perhaps I went a little overboard-erlands
Oct 13
// Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out tomorrow, and you can read a 3,000-word review on what I think about it right here on Destructoid if you would like. However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, this post is basic...

Review: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Oct 13 // Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed], PS3, Xbox 360)Developers: 2K Australia, Gearbox SoftwarePublisher: 2K GamesReleased: October 14, 2014MSRP: $59.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit There is a symmetry to be appreciated in The Pre-Sequel's in-between feeling, given that it is chronologically set between the first two games. Specifically, it is set after the events of The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, but before Claptrap's New Robot Revolution, the third and fourth pieces of downloadable content for Borderlands, respectively. Taking place largely on Pandora's moon Elpis, the first regressive parallel to the original title in the series reveals itself: the moon is largely made up of desolate gray-blue rock dotted with industrial complexes. In the same way that our first adventure to Pandora spent entirely too much time in vast brown deserts, the first half of the romp across Elpis occurs in areas that are indistinct from one another. Getting lost is easy at first, even with the minimap and its waypoints. Eventually, the story works its way back to Helios, the Hyperion space station, and the environments become a bit more diverse. Even with the additional biomes found on Helios, the number of different looking areas to explore pales in comparison to Borderlands 2's tundra, temperate, desert, tropical, industrial, civilized, volcanic, and other environments. [embed]281294:55659:0[/embed] Other small oversights pop up in the level design here and there. Expansive areas meant to be traversed in a moon buggy lack vehicle stations at every entrance, sometimes causing the player to have to trek on foot when backtracking or if the rover is destroyed. There are natural progression blockers that are not completely functional once the requirement has been met. Specifically, there is a gap early on that can only be jumped in a vehicle, but even with four wheels and a rocket booster, I found myself falling into the lava chasm beneath the ruined bridge about half the time. Some of the smaller areas have no Fast Travel station, an annoyance compounded by side missions that require returning multiple times. On top of that, not every area has vending machines near the entrance, which makes dumping junk loot a bit of a pain when visiting the offending locales. One area in particular (Stanton's Liver) has everything going against it: unmemorable environmental art design, no Fast Travel, no vending machines, and several optional missions pointing toward it. Generally, these are minor quibbles regarding the level design. A lot of the time, traversing the environments is made easy through circuitous layouts and the new freedom afforded by the low gravity of Elpis and the Vault Hunters' ability to double jump. Other times this freedom is a double-edged sword, where the new ability allow for more verticality, but highlight the need for a more thoroughly upgraded map. It now shows whether enemies are above or below the player, but still represents only two dimensions, despite that a lot of the areas now make extensive use of the z-axis. Indeed, one of the most touted new features of fighting on Elpis as opposed to Pandora is the use of the moon's lower gravity. On paper, it does not seem like a big deal, but it surprised me to find out just how much it affects gameplay. In addition to being able to jump higher, the double jump allows for a lot of aerial control, and the new Gravity Slam move is both satisfying and useful. The double jump functionality is a lot deeper than it initially seems. Depending on when the second jump is activated, it can be put toward additional jump height, additional jump distance, increased traversal speed, or increased maneuverability. The slam damages nearby enemies, typically with an elemental effect, but one of the key features of it is that it does not interrupt other abilities like activating an Action Skill or reloading. This opens up the viability of a lot of weapons that were previously too cumbersome to use regularly. Weapons with long or frequent reloads like Jakobs shotguns or Scav (The Pre-Sequel's version of Bandit) rocket launchers can now be used more frequently, with firing punctuated by crowd-controlling slams. For instance, my Enforcer currently wields a Jakobs Quad -- a shotgun with huge damage, high ammunition expenditure, and frequent reloads. Most battles I get into are frenetic affairs, where I summon Wolf and Saint, double jump toward an enemy, slam to stun him, fire two shots into his face, mentally change targets, and double jump toward that one while reloading. It all happens quickly, and it is incredibly satisfying. Speaking strictly about combat, this is the most fun the series has ever been, and it owes most of that to the low gravity and corresponding abilities. In fact, the low gravity combat is so fun that I became noticeably irritated when the story takes the Vault Hunters back to Helios, where there is more standard, Pandora-like gravity. It is not that the standard combat is bad, it is just that the moon combat is so good. To expound a bit on the story, it opens in Sanctuary as it floats among the clouds. Clearly taking place after the events of Borderlands 2, Athena is forced to tell the story of the time she helped Handsome Jack years before. The playable portion of The Pre-Sequel is all told as Athena's flashback, regardless of which of the four available Vault Hunters is in play. What Athena describes is meeting Jack, a middle management Hyperion employee who saves her life and eventually the lives of countless people living on Elpis. Players get to see firsthand why Jack considers himself a hero, and they get to watch his slow decline into depravity, and his eventual transformation into Handsome Jack, the man wearing the mask. It is an interesting arc to watch, although it is still difficult to be sympathetic toward Jack's character through most of the story. The logical and moral leaps he makes, even when fueled largely by self-defense and paranoia, are still the product of a deeply disturbed individual. Even so, The Pre-Sequel does a great job of showing exactly why Handsome Jack despises bandits as much as he does, and it ends in a way that highlights the moral ambiguity of Borderlands as a whole. Without spoiling too much, the ending upset me initially. I felt betrayed, and I felt like it would not have and should not have happened like it did. Upon further reflection, I realize that while it caused me to see a character in a different light than I previously had, it perfectly encapsulates a major theme in the series. The bad guys are at least a little bit good and the good guys are at least a little bit bad. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which. There is one extra thing regarding the story that more serious players will appreciate. For the first time, there is a believable narrative explanation for the second playthrough, True Vault Hunter Mode. There is additional dialogue to go with it, so players have more incentive to go through the higher level content. It is a small thing, but it is a welcome touch. I would have really appreciated a slightly different or expanded ending for those who make it all the way through twice, and the narrative would have allowed for it, but that is not the case. At about 25 hours to get through the campaign once, The Pre-Sequel runs shorter than Borderlands 2, but provides a good amount of entertainment. On the downside, the plot left open a few points that I was expecting to be addressed. Clearly, Athena is alive and in Pandora's vicinity between the point of her introduction in The Secret Armory and some indeterminate point after the events of Borderlands 2, so she lives through the Pre-Sequel, but the story never gives an explicit explanation on her whereabouts during Handsome Jack's tenure as CEO of Hyperion. Considering she was there to witness his insidious rise to power, there should be a good narrative reason that she would not help to bring him down. The Eridian race is also a bit of a mystery. They are present on Pandora during Borderlands, present on Elpis during The Pre-Sequel, but absent during Borderlands 2, and fans are left to continue speculating on the reason. In fact, the story presented here even fuels the fire of speculation by introducing more variables to the question of why they cannot be found later in the timeline. The writing as a whole maintains the classic Borderlands charm, though it does seem a little less wacky than that found in Borderlands 2, again striking a balance between the two previous titles. A few familiar faces show up; most current characters have a least small speaking roles. There are several new characters as well: the eastern European Nurse Nina, the not-quite-as-annoying-as-Tiny-Tina child Pickle, and my favorite new character Janey Springs. Springs is one of many denizens of Elpis, most of whom are the Australians to Pandora's Americans. She is immediately endearing, and has some of the best lines in the game. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, and overall the writing is smart and snappy. There are no Internet memes, except for one easily missed reference to an old Destructoid mantra that 99.9% of players will gloss over without a second thought. There are a number of shout-outs to other works of fiction, including Star Wars and Pokémon. One of the best new developments for the writing in Borderlands was the decision to have the Vault Hunters participate in conversations, giving each one more personality, and offering a non-gameplay reason to play through with multiple characters. This is especially important through Jack's campaign to save Elpis, as each character will react differently to his methods and evolving morality. Although Athena is my girl, the morally bankrupt sadist Nisha has some of the most hilarious retorts and insults. Weapons received a major overhaul between Borderlands and Borderlands 2; comparatively, the differences here seem slight, but their consequences reach further than it may initially appear. Slag weapons do not exist yet, since the first vault was only recently opened and the engineers are just beginning to study it. In its place is the cryo element, which slows enemies, damages them over time, and can eventually freeze them solid to be shattered into hundreds of shards. Lasers also appear as a separate weapon type, rather than being reserved for the relatively rare E-Tech weaponry found on Pandora. There are several different flavors of laser weapons, including Ghostbusters-style streams, Star Wars-esque blasters, and powerful railguns. Most useful is that laser weapons generally have low recoil and good hip fire accuracy. This pairs extremely well with the aforementioned low gravity combat. It is common to double jump across a pit and headshot an enemy with a railgun from the hip in the process, and it feels totally rad to do it. Where combat in Borderlands was like Call of Duty in a lot of ways, the fighting in The Pre-Sequel feels more akin to Halo. One other welcome addition to the loot system is the Grinder, which turns out to be a double entendre of sorts. By feeding it three items of the same rarity level, it has a chance to spit out an item with a higher rarity. Any three items can be fed in, but best results seem to come from matching equipment. For instance, grinding three common pistols will usually result in an uncommon pistol. I found myself keeping various weapons that I had no intention of using, because they would go well in the Grinder and return something I may want. With enough of a collection, several common weapons can be combined to eventually produce a rare item. Sadly, rare items cannot be used to create legendary items. The Grinder can feel random at times, and I wish there were more structure to it. Feeding it three Jakobs sniper rifles can produce a Maliwan sniper rifle, or feeding it three incendiary lasers can result in a cryo laser. It seems weapon type is the only attribute conserved in the grinding process. The Grinder also functions through a sort of recipe system, but there is no in-game method for tracking which recipes have been tried, what worked, and what did not. The Grinder is a great idea to deal with all the unwanted loot in Borderlands, but it could have been taken the extra mile to function well without outside support. Of course, some of the most fun in Borderlands comes with multiplayer, and The Pre-Sequel has made some strides to make this even more interesting. While each of the four Vault Hunters can be built to play solo, Athena, Wilhelm, and Claptrap have skills that benefit the whole team in unusual ways. Now, a well-formed group of four can be much greater than the sum of its parts. An obvious example of this is that many of Claptrap's Action Packages will affect the entire team, but a more subtle effect emerges when playing with Athena. As the group's shieldbearer, I acted as the tank, soaking up incoming damage that would have otherwise gone toward glass cannon Nisha. Although previous games have had similar abilities (Salvador could draw aggro and buff his defense), the character diversity and focus on team abilities allow for the potential to be more tactical than ever before. A lot of the best multiplayer moments have come from raid boss fights. Introduced to the series in the General Knoxx DLC, they have required some of the most intensive team interactions, and Gearbox learned a lot about making interesting raids over the course of the Borderlands 2 DLC schedule. 2K Australia has a lot to learn on that front, because the raid boss included in the core game is just a disappointing retread of the final boss fight, except that it has more health and deals more damage. Another arena in which The Pre-Sequel falls short of its predecessor is in general polish. A lot of common, benign bugs can be found, like enemies clipping through environment geometry (see above) or shields that glitch such that they recharge immediately and infinitely, rendering the player effectively invincible until restarting. I ran into a few more off-putting bugs over the 60 hours I spent playing. The most egregious resulted in one of my characters not being able to progress the story, just one area before the final boss fight. 2K has assured Destructoid that this particular bug has been isolated and addressed in a day one patch, so retail versions will be free from it. Regardless, it was heartbreaking to put 40 hours into one character only to be stopped just short of completion. At least two missions show up in the menu, but point toward the wrong location to accept the mission. One even points toward an area that the player might not have even found before, existing as an ever-present missed connection, with no guidance on how to actually take it on. In Borderlands 2, side missions were generally discovered organically, placed in the main path where they could not be missed. Here, many side missions require backtracking just to take them on, and that is backtracking that the player would not do naturally. Otherwise, there are issues with form and functionality that do not technically qualify as bugs. For instance, Wilhelm has a skill that sets up a healing aura around a point on the map, but that aura is denoted by a perfectly horizontal circle on the ground, centered at one point on the surface. In areas where the terrain is not completely flat (i.e. most of them), part of the circle is hidden from view. Other areas feature terrain that hides it entirely. In case it is not already obvious, I love the Borderlands series. I have followed it since its debut in 2009, and I have put hundreds of hours into using bullets to make numbers pop out of bad guys, digging into the lore, and hanging out with friends. Loving the series means knowing just how good it can be, and it means always measuring it against those high standards. 2K Australia nailed the combat with The Pre-Sequel. It is fast, fresh, and more tactically interesting than ever before. The writing hits the right notes, although the overarching plot is not quite as emotionally powerful as other entries have been. For many, that is enough to be a great experience. I had a lot of fun playing through, and I anticipate I will keep playing for months as more friends obtain copies. Despite that glowing praise, I am torn, because I also recognize that it is far from perfect. The environmental art direction gets dull too quickly, the level design is lacking in basic conveniences, and a general sloppiness is present when looking closely. Some of the cool new features like multi-leveled areas and combining weapons could have been enhanced further if the user interface and systems had been updated to play to those strengths. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a solid entry to the series, but I hope that the development team takes some of the failings to heart and delivers excellence in the future.
Borderlands review photo
If it ain't broke...
[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, one of the writers for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] "If it ain't ...

Dibs on Nisha photo
Dibs on Nisha

To all you would-be Borderlands cowboys and cowgirls, I have dibs on Nisha


Shoot the flesh, whip the wounds
Oct 12
// Abel Girmay
"Behind every great man is a great woman." Screw that, says Nisha. While Handsome Jack is sitting in a climate-controlled bunker, cowering from the awesome might of the Vault Hunters and bandit gangs, Nisha fights her enemies...

To any Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel players out there: I have dibs on Athena

Oct 11 // Darren Nakamura
She has a sword. When the bullets run out but the fight is still on, melee attacks become crucial. Sure, smacking somebody with the butt of a gun is practical, and cracking a whip across someone's face is showy, but you know what is terrifying? About two feet of bloody, sharpened steel. Athena is a trained assassin, so she knows how to use her Xiphos blade. In fact, she has an entire skill tree dedicated to causing pain with it. If that isn't enough, there is a skill that allows her to apply a unique status effect to enemies: she can make them bleed. You might be content with burning, electrocution, corrosion, and freezing, but I will have those and the ability to cause exsanguination. Also, later on, when an bleeding enemy dies, he explodes. She has a shield. What is the peanut butter to a sword's chocolate? That's right, it's a shield. Athena's Kinetic Aspis is not just a regular old "protect you from damage" shield though. It protects her and her friends from damage, then sends that damage back to the enemies twofold. Also, it explodes. Up to five times in one throw. Mister Torgue would totally approve of Athena's arsenal. In addition to the fact that throwing an explosive shield is rad on its own, the Kinetic Aspis is the most different action skill from any previous Borderlands game. Wilhelm's Wolf and Saint drones act a lot like Gaige's Deathtrap, Nisha's capability for raw gun damage output is comparable to Salvador's Gunzerking ability, and Claptrap literally just copies other Vault Hunters' abilities with his VaultHunter.EXE. With Athena, the focus can be shifted from damage output to damage protection. With this, interesting interactions emerge during cooperative games. Instead of a group of four lone wolves fighting near each other in the same manner that they would when fighting alone, the Kinetic Aspis assigns Athena the specific role as a defender, allowing her teammates to specialize further in other abilities. Athena is a great friend to fight alongside. In fact... She is the most important teammate to have. Yes, my Kinetic Aspis can protect you from taking damage, and you should be very grateful about that alone. But that's only a small part of why Athena is the best. Tara touched on it when she called dibs on Maya, but the ability to revive a teammate instantly at range, as opposed to having to be nearby and spending precious seconds in a vulnerable state, ranges between very helpful and utterly crucial. Athena's "Clear!" ability is similar to Maya's "Res," except that it can affect multiple teammates at once. Imagine three other Vault Hunters, lying in pain at the feet of a raid boss, largely due to their own hubris and poor judgment (because they left Athena's motherly protective embrace), only to be mass resurrected by the wise shieldbearer. Considering the Borderlands series' focus on high level, post-game content, "Clear!" will absolutely be the single most important skill for any serious group looking to take on raids. Sure, Claptrap has a skill tree devoted to buffing teammates, and Wilhelm has some skills spread around that do the same, but none of those hold a candle to Athena's ability to keep her friends in the fight, especially against bosses where death would lock them out of it. You can thank me now, since I have dibs on Athena. She doesn't end up dead. Probably. Look at that picture. That's Nisha: a total badass who strangles puppies, at least until Salvador and company come along to wreck her day in Borderlands 2. Then, she's just a dead body that flopped onto the ground in the most absurd position. She joins Wilhelm, who is killed even earlier under Handsome Jack's reign. Claptrap? His entire product line was obliterated before Borderlands 2 even begins. But Athena? We don't know what she did after the fall of Atlas. We don't know where she was when the events of Borderlands 2 were occurring. Her story is completely open-ended. She has the most space for growth, change, betrayal, sadness, and ultimate victory. Her story is innately more interesting because we don't already know how it ends. Assuming Borderlands 3 eventually comes into existence, Athena will probably be there. It is entirely possible that she dies in the events of the Pre-Sequel, which could explain why she is absent throughout Borderlands 2. Even if that is the case, finding that out is still more exciting than knowing how it ends right from the start. But that's probably not the case, because Athena is the best, and the best can't die. Probably. She has a functioning moral compass. Nisha strangles puppies. Wilhelm shows no mercy if the price is high enough. Claptrap just does what he is programmed to do. Athena actually knows right from wrong as she is impaling Scavengers and exploding dangerous creatures. Sure, an assassin's job description is technically "kill for money," and that kind of makes her like Wilhelm, whose job as a mercenary is also precisely to "kill for money," but Wilhelm's motivation is the promise of lavish riches. Athena needs money to feed herself. She is basically like Aladdin, except that she canonically snaps people's necks sometimes. Where Nisha is lawful evil, Wilhelm is neutral evil, and Claptrap is chaotic neutral, Athena is the only truly moral character as a chaotic good. I would even say that she is not just chaotic good, she is chaotic best. Because she is the best. Dibs, by the way. Dibs on Athena. Seriously, dibs.
Dibs on Athena photo
Sorry, she's mine
Two years ago, Chris, Tara, Conrad, and Andy each called dibs on a Vault Hunter for Borderlands 2 before I ever could, and so I was never able to play it. All I could do was sit there looking at my copy, wishing I had ca...

Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

The final 'making of' video for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel looks at 'Weapons and Beyond'


Guns, guns, guns!
Oct 09
// Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel comes out next week, and 2K Games has now released the final episode of the four-part series behind the scenes at Gearbox and 2K Australia. Episodes One (To the Moon), Two (From Pandora to th...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Ten minutes of Claptrap ruining everything in this Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel video


No, I will not high five you
Oct 03
// Darren Nakamura
Back when I spent way too much time playing with the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel interactive skill trees, I admitted that I was not really sure what to do with Claptrap's highly random play style. This video shows off some o...






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