hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Gearbox Software

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...

A quick guide to all four Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skill trees

Sep 19 // Darren Nakamura
Athena the Gladiator Action Skill: Kinetic Aspis. Press F to raise your Aspis and absorb all frontal damage. The Aspis can store a finite amount of absorbed damage as energy, based on your level. The Aspis is thrown at the end of the active duration, or if you press F again. The Aspis creates an explosion upon impact, dealing base damage plus double the stored energy, before returning to you. Skill tree: PhalanxFocus: Defense for Athena and teamNotable skills: Prismatic Aegis: The Aspis now stores the elemental damage type of absorbed damage. Multiple elemental damage types can be stored and all stored damage types are dealth by the Aspis when thrown. Clear!: When thrown, the Aspis' explosion grants Second Wind to friends within range. In addition, you gain a Damage Bonus while in Fight For Your Life. Wrath of the Goddess: The Aspis will ricochet to up to four additional enemies, each taking less damage than the last. The Aspis will return to you after it hits the final enemy. Skill tree: XiphosFocus: Melee damageNotable skills: Rend: Your melee attacks cause enemies to bleed, inflicting damage over time. The damage is increased against higher Health targets, and the damage also benefits from your Melee Damage bonuses. Epicenter: Slam Alteration Skill. When you Slam you now create a singularity, pulling nearby enemies closer and dealing damage to them. Blood Rush: Melee Override Skill. Press V to dash toward an enemy and strike them with Xiphos with increased Melee Damage. This ability has a cooldown. If this attack applies a Bleed to a target that isn't Bleeding, or kills a target, the cooldown is immediately reset. Perform a regular melee attack when Blood Rush is on cooldown. Skill tree: Ceraunic StormFocus: Incendiary and shock elemental damageNotable skills: Maelstrom: Dealing Incendiary or Shock damage causes you to gain stacks of Maelstrom. All Elemental Damage dealt is increased for each stack of Maelstrom. Stacks will decay over time, and this rate of decay increases as you accumulate more stacks. Smite: When you are airborne, shooting an enemy will Smite them, causing Incendiary and Shock Damage in a small area. Smite damage increases as you accumulate more stacks of Maelstrom. This ability has a cooldown. Zeus' Rage: When you throw the Aspis, a devastating Fire and Lightning Storm will spawn at the target location, doing area damage for several seconds. The damage of the storm increases based on the amount of damage absorbed by the Aspis. Hades' Shackles: Slamming links you to nearby enemies with a Shock Tether for a short duration, electrocuting them. The tether is broken if you lose line of sight to the target. Any enemies still tethered at the end of the duration, or who die while tethered, release an Incendiary Nova, and you gain bonus Maelstrom stacks for each enemy affected. This ability has a cooldown. My planned build (click for interactive version): I plan to play Athena when I play cooperatively, and this build is all about supporting teammates, at the cost of a lot of skills that would increase Athena's damage output. Vanguard and United Front help to keep teammates' health and shields up, and Hold the Line supplements those by increasing the duration of those effects. Given the usefulness of instantly reviving teammates (especially for raid bosses or other high-level content), Clear! is a must-have skill for team play. One point in Prepare for Glory brings aggro to Athena, making sure the Aspis is charged fully for the secondary abilities like Zeus' Rage. With the shock damage from Smite, Superconductor, and Hades' Shackles, Athena can take down enemy shields quickly, allowing teammates to specialize in incendiary or corrosive to wear away at flesh or armor. Wilhelm the Enforcer Action Skill: Wolf and Saint. Press F to summon Wolf and Saint, your trusty combat drones. Wolf will roam and attack enemies, while Saint will stay close to you and replenish your Health. Saint has a protective shield, but Wolf can be damaged by enemies. Press and hold F to recall Wolf and Saint and have some of your Cooldown refunded. Skill tree: Hunter-KillerFocus: Wolf's damage outputNotable skills: Laser Guided: When you activate Wolf and Saint, or press F while they are active, Saint will Paint the target under your reticle. Wolf will focus attacks on the currently Painted target, and the target will receive increased Damage from all sources. If a target is killed while Painted, time will be added to Wolf and Saint's Duration. Kill Switch: Wolf Ability. Whenever Wolf is recalled, runs out of Health, or expires, it will dive bomb enemies with explosive effect! Omega Strike: Wolf Ability. Wolf periodically launches a deadly missile strike against its targets. Skill tree: Cyber CommandoFocus: General abilities augmented through cyberneticsNotable skills: Power Fist: Cyborg Augmentation: Arm. Melee Override. Press V to perform an explosive punch with extended range. This ability has a cooldown. Shock Absorbers: Cyborg Augmentation: Legs. You can shoot while Sprinting. While doing so, you gain bonus Gun Damage, and suffer no accuracy penalties. Vengeance Cannon: Cyborg Augmentation: Weapon. Whenever your Shield becomes depleted, you activate your shoulder-mounted Vengeance Cannon. The Vengeance Cannon fires Incendiary Laser Blasts in tandem with your equipped weapon and lasts for a short period of time. Your Shield must fully recharge between activations. Skill tree: DreadnoughtFocus: Saint's protection abilitiesNotable skills: Termination Protocols: Fight For Your Life is replaced by Termination Protocols. During Termination Protocols you can walk at a reduced speed, fire your weapons, and you constantly shock nearby enemies. If the timer runs out, your power core goes critical, releasing a Nuclear Explosion. Zero Hour: Saint Ability. When Saint is recalled or expires, he explodes, deploying a Healing Zone underneath you. You and your friends Regenerate Health while standing in the zone. Overcharge: Saint Ability. Immediately after being summoned, Saint will release an Energy Wave that will Overcharge you and any nearby friends for a short duration. Overcharged players gain increased Movement Speed, Fire Rate, Reload Speed, and Ammo Regeneration. My planned build (click for interactive version): Wilhelm's drones Wolf and Saint make him an ideal solo play candidate, so this build maximizes the abilities of the Surveyor bots. Fire Support, Venom Bolts, Kill Switch, and Omega Strike all increase Wolf's offensive capability, while Energize, Zero Hour, and Overcharge improve Saint's healing and shield buffs. Fortify, Man and Machine, and Scramble all help to ensure Wolf stays alive to keep fighting. Laser Guided, Auxiliary Tanks, and Rapid Reinforcement extend the amount of time that Wolf and Saint are active, and decrease the amount of time waiting for them to recharge. Nisha the Lawbringer Action Skill: Showdown. Press F to activate Showdown, causing you to Automatically Aim at enemies and gain increased Gun Damage, Fire Rate, Reload Speed, Accuracy, and Bullet Speed with all gun types. Holding Mouse-2 and flicking Mouse in a direction allows you to quickly cycle to another target. Sniper Rifles and Rocket Launchers do not receive the damage bonus.  Skill tree: Law & OrderFocus: Gaining strength as damage is takenNotable skills: Order: Every time you take 15% of your maximum health in damage you gain a stack of Order. Based on your number of Order stacks, you have a chance to instantly heal double the damage taken. Order stacks are quickly lost when outside combat. Rough Rider: Slam Augment. Your Slam attack's damage is increased by 25%. Dealing damage with Slam grants you five Order stacks per enemy damaged. This skill also raises your Order Stack Cap by five. Discipline: Upon reaching 10 Order stacks, your Shields are restored to full. Also, while at 10 or more Order stacks you gain improved Melee Damage, Gun Damage, and Shield Recharge Delay for each Order stack. This skill also raises your Order Stack Cap by five. Blood of the Guilty: When you or an ally kills an enemy, you gain a stack of Order and have 5% of your health restored. This skill also raises your Order Stack Cap by five. Thunder Crackdown: Melee Override. Your Melee Attack causes a large cone-shaped Shock Burst, dealing increased damage for each Order stack. This skill also raises your Order Stack Cap by five. Skill tree: Fan the HammerFocus: Increased non-elemental damage and Showdown abilityNotable skills: Short Fused: Kill Skill. After killing an enemy, all your shots deal bonus Explosive Damage for a short time. The closer the enemy is to you, the higher the damage. Pickpocket: Your Melee Attack steals up to six bullets from your enemy and instantly loads them into your current gun's magazine. There is a cooldown for this skill. Does not work with Rocket Launcher ammo. One for Each of Ya: When using a Pistol, you get an exact copy of that gun in your offhand. While using Ironsights, you shoot with your main hand only. Skill tree: RiflewomanFocus: Shooting from the hipNotable skills: Fistful of Bullets: Increases your Magazine Size with all gun types by three. Impatience: Killing an enemy grants you a stack of Impatience, increasing your Reload Speed by 20% for each stack. All stacks are lost after reloading. Stacks up to 21 times. The Unforgiven: During Showdown all shots that hit enemies ricochet toward other nearby enemies, dealing 10% weapon damage per hit. Also, showdown ending triggers an Explosion on all enemies who have been shot by you. My planned build (click for interactive version): Showdown looks great for dealing a ton of damage in a short period of time, and with Nisha's cowgirl aesthetic and One For Each of Ya skill, I picture her wielding Jakobs pistols (high damage, no elements, quick reload) almost exclusively. This build plays to that idea with a lot of straight gun damage increases like Magnificent Six, High Noon, Quick Shot, Crack Shot and Tombstone. Interestingly, some of the single-point skills are neglected here. Fistful of Bullets is left out because it works against the synergy between Magnificent Six and pistols. Impatience is not used because One for Each of Ya encourages use of pistols, and most pistols (Jakobs revolvers in particular) would not benefit much from it. Four points are allotted to Bona Fide Grit as the only health recovery skill outside the Law & Order skill tree, but if Nisha is paired up with an Athena, Wilhelm, or Claptrap with group-healing abilities, those points could easily go into Saddle Up for additional speed and gun damage. Claptrap the Fragtrap Action Skill: VaultHunter.EXE. Press F to run your VaultHunter.EXE program. It will analyze the situation, determine which Vault Hunter would do the best job, and then load an ACTION PACKAGE allowing Claptrap to fight in that manner for a short period of time. It also gives you Full Health and Health Regeneration. VaultHunter.EXE is still in beta and its definition of "Vault Hunter" is questionable at best. Warning: VaultHunter.EXE is currently classified as malware. Your allies may be affected.  Skill tree: BoomtrapFocus: Explosive damageNotable skills: Second Wind (by Tediore): When you enter Fight For Your Life, throw a digistructed copy of yourself which explodes like a grenade, and you continually emit Explosive Novas. I Am Rubber, You Are Glue: Kill Skill. Whenever you kill an enemy, bullets have a chance to reflect off you and towards enemies for a short time. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE Torgue Fiesta. Torgue Fiesta: Whoops! Drop a large amount of grenades that damage enemies and friendlies. Livin' Near the Edge: Increases Fire Rate and Reload Speed. The lower your health and shields, the greater the bonus. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE Pirate Ship Mode. Pirate Ship Mode: Turn into an AWESOME PIRATE SHIP! With CANNONS! Skill tree: I Love You Guys!Focus: Healing and increasing stats for all teammatesNotable skills: Kick Him While He's Down: While in Fight For Your Life, you draw aggro from nearby enemies. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE Clap-in-the-Box. Clap-in-the-Box: Digistruct a giant bomb that hurts everything around it when it explodes. You're... GOING TO LOVE ME!!: Killing an enemy creates a Friendship Nova centered on the enemy, Healing you and your friends in the radius. Allies who are low on health are healed for more. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE Gun Wizard. Gun Wizard: You and all allies gain drastically increased fire rate and reload speed. It's a Trap... Card: When your Shield becomes depleted, you release a Mega-Nova centered on yourself that heals you and your friends, but hurts enemies. Targets low on health are healed for more. Your Shield must fully recharge between Mega-Novas. HIGH FIVES GUYS: Hold V to request a High Five from your friends! A successful High Five increases your and your awesome friend's Gun Damage, Fire Rate, and grants Health Regeneration. Woo! If you don't have any friends, or they leave you hangin', gain increased Gun Damage and Health Regeneration for a few seconds, because screw you guys! Skill tree: Fragmented FragtrapFocus: Unpredictability?Notable skills: All the Guns: Gun Subroutines. You randomly pick a Subroutine focused on a gun type, making you more effective with that gun type, but less effective with all others. Upon selecting a Subroutine you gain 100 Frag Stacks, which decrease over time. When you run out of Frag Stacks, your Subroutine will be replaced with a new one. Safety First: Defensive Subroutines. You randomly pick a Subroutine focused on either Health or Shields, which grants increased Capacity and Regeneration for the chosen attribute. The catch? You deal reduced damage with all gun types. Upon selecting a Subroutine you gain 100 Frag Stacks, which decrease over time. When you run out of Frag Stacks, your Subroutine will be replaced with a new one. Rope-a-Derp: Melee Subroutine. You randomly pick a melee-focused Subroutine, which grants you a massive melee damage bonus but reduces your damage with guns. Tripleclocked: Multiplies the Bonuses and Penalties of the current Subroutine by up to three. The fewer Frag Stacks you have, the greater the multiplier. Defensive Subroutines always receive Triple Capacity regardless of stacks. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE One Shot Wonder. One Shot Wonder: Every shot empties all bullets from your clip. Element of Surprise: Elemental Subroutines. You randomly pick a Subroutine that Increases Damage with a chosen element, but Decreases Damage with all other elements. Upon depleting your shield, filling your shield, or entering Fight For Your Life, you release a Nova of the chosen element. Rainbow Coolant: Whenever you initial a new Subroutine you emit a Rainbow Nova. The Nova consists of all elements, humongous in size, and makes your team super happy. Also, unlocks ACTION PACKAGE Laser Inferno. Laser Inferno: Shoot lasers in all directions at nearby enemies. My planned build (click for interactive version): Hmm. I will admit, I had some trouble deciding what to do here. Though some of the skills in the Fragmented Fragtrap tree sound pretty great, the Subroutine idea that the tree is based on sounds really difficult to optimize, especially in a multiplayer game where pausing to rearrange equipment loadouts in the middle of battle is not an option. Most of the skills in the I Love You Guys! tree were chosen to best benefit the team as a whole. In particular, Through Thick and Thin works well to allow teammates access to more reliable Action Skills more quickly, but requires Claptrap to use his own Action Skill. To supplement that, all of the additional ACTION PACKAGES from both the Boomtrap and I Love You Guys! trees are unlocked. Even with this build, Claptrap is a wildcard, but he can at least explode a lot of people and really buff up teammates. So these are my initial reactions are to the full skill trees, but of course, the mark of a well-designed skill tree is its adaptability to different play styles. I built Athena to play a support role, Wilhelm to let his drones do all the work, Nisha to deal as much gun damage as possible, and Claptrap to make his teammates more awesome and not get too much in the way. Feel free to share your builds with what you would do differently.
Borderlands skill trees photo
A gladiator, an enforcer, a lawbringer, and a fragtrap walk into a bar...
In case you have not yet heard, the full, interactive skill trees for all four of the Vault Hunters in the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel have been released for public consumption. Some of the mathematics governing the ...

Battleborn photo
Battleborn

First gameplay footage of Battleborn's cooperative campaign


'Destroy the hell out of it!'
Sep 19
// Darren Nakamura
In a whopping 18-minute video released today, Gearbox Software's Andrew Goldfarb, Aaron Linde, and Randy Varnell discussed the factions and characters in the multiplayer shooter Battleborn, before showing off the first gamep...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Everything there is to know about Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, as told by Hammerlock and Torgue


PEW PEW MOTHERF#$%ER
Sep 18
// Darren Nakamura
With coverage ramping up for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel leading up to its release in less than a month, several commenters have expressed confusion on what role this game is supposed to fill. To help demonstrate everything ...
Battleborn photo
Battleborn

Battleborn is made of MOBAs, spice, and all shooters nice


Just hoping Gearbox brought the Chemical X
Sep 17
// Abel Girmay
When Battleborn was first announced, there were certain trigger words my mind immediately connected before I had read a single word about the game. "Gearbox, shooter, color. Oh, I wonder what the loot drop rate is like," I sa...
Borderlands on Steamworks photo
Borderlands on Steamworks

Borderlands on PC is playable online again, now through Steamworks


Because you were all dying to play this five-year-old game
Sep 15
// Darren Nakamura
I know, I might be the only remaining person who cares, but Borderlands (that is, the original 2009 title) is now playable online on PC again. I recently got a few of my friends into the series via Borderlands 2, and some of ...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Get a closer look at the four playable characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel


Part three of four in the behind-the-scenes series
Sep 15
// Darren Nakamura
Gearbox Software has been slowly releasing a four-part behind-the-scenes series of videos on the making of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, leading up to the title's October 14 release. Episode One looked at the initial announce...

I could've been a pirate ship but I was a disco ball instead in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Aug 31 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]279529:55279:0[/embed] Being a non-carbon entity as he is, Claptrap's abilities are based around running a series of random computer sequences. A variety of different effects can take place like getting bumped up to full health or spawning a little minion helper, but once every few times, a disco ball appears and lights up the party. When this happens, enemies need to stay off the dance floor. The disco ball launches an area-of-effect attack that hits baddies with every elemental damage type at once. Every. Elemental. Type. Yeah, it's badass. Moon jumping around, power bombing on enemies, then melee attacking while the shiny ball does its thing makes quick work of most everything around you. Apart from the quirky capstones, playing as Claptrap had another major perk. Being a robot and all, he doesn't need to be constantly aware of oxygen levels like the other characters do. This means you can jump, jump, jump to your heart's desire and not really care about suffocating. Robots don't have lungs, at least not yet. Other than that, The Pre-Sequel felt a lot like more Borderlands. Shocking, right? The new emphasis on verticality will maybe frustrate anyone looking to get to the next waypoint as quickly as possible. However, loot hunters should find it appealing because of all the extra nooks and crannies where chests can be hidden. And, if you get bored doing that, just throw a disco party; it should liven things right up.
Borderlands photo
Disco ain't dead
As I sat down for my appointment with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I had to make my toughest decision at PAX Prime. Running through Claptrap's capstone abilities, I was faced with the following dilemma: Do I want to become a ...

Deals photo
Deals

Play Borderlands 2 for free on Steam this weekend


Shoot and loot like it's 2012
Aug 21
// Jordan Devore
As part of a 2K sale on Steam this weekend, the publisher is giving folks a chance to play Borderlands 2 for free on Steam today through Sunday at 1:00pm Pacific. Borderlands 2 has also been marked down to $4.99 to own, or $9...
 photo
I'll crush the whole moon with my butt
I've been buried in gamescom news this week, but I've surfaced to relay the stories I'm most excited about to you. Life is Strange is an unusual adventure game from the creators of Remember Me. No Man's Sky allegedly would take actual millennium to explore. And we finally see what Claptrap has up his sleeve in Borderlands The Pre-Sequel. Turns out, it's a whole bag of tricks.

Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

Claptrap shows off his action skill(s) in this Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel trailer


Who is that mysterious woman?
Aug 13
// Darren Nakamura
2K Games has been trickling out information about the playable characters in the upcoming Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but while it has featured Athena the Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer, and Nisha the Lawbringer, the publi...
Borderlands Pre-Sequel photo
Borderlands Pre-Sequel

The Making of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Episode 2 focuses on the moon


2K Australia thinks lasers can only exist on the moon
Aug 07
// Darren Nakamura
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set on Pandora's moon Elpis, and this episode of the "making of" series focuses on that fact. For starters, players can see that the moon experienced some serious cosmetic changes between Borde...
 photo
I'm out of cowgirl puns
I got to spend a little time with Nisha the Lawbringer from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and yippee ki-yay is she a fun character. Nisha brings Old West sensibilities to this moon shooter, and a few new tricks as well. And a bullwhip.

Borderlands photo
Borderlands

Borderlands multiplayer moving to Steam, SecuROM DRM is out


Steamworks support coming in a separate update
Jul 29
// Jordan Devore
The original Borderlands was one of the notable titles affected by the shutdown of GameSpy Technology at the end of May, but 2K said it would eventually use Steamworks in an effort to keep multiplayer going. That's still comi...
Battleborn photo
Shoutouts to Podtoid
It doesn't feel like it has been that long since former Destructoid reviews editor Aaron Linde moved on to work in the game industry, but it has been almost six years now. In that time, he has contributed to a number of deve...

 photo
Even Sonic would tell him to cool it
Back with more impressions from playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, I had some first-hand playtime with the cybernetic tough guy, Wilhelm the Enforcer, which I would like to relate to you with my mouth. Wilhelm may not be all he's cracked up to be, yet. But he's got a couple of interesting surprises.

Borderlands 2 skins photo
Borderlands 2 skins

Don't want to grind for those new Borderlands 2 skins? Just be patient instead


Good things come to those who wait
Jul 16
// Darren Nakamura
Yesterday, a set of new skins and heads for Borderlands 2 released, featuring the Vault Hunters dressed as characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. As it was announced, the customization options would be made available as...
Borderlands 2 skins photo
Borderlands 2 skins

Free Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skins coming to Borderlands 2 on Tuesday


Vault Hunters cosplaying as Jack's minions
Jul 14
// Darren Nakamura
Over the weekend at GaymerX, Gearbox announced that it would be releasing free Borderlands 2 customization options tomorrow. The idea behind them came from the prolific Borderlands cosplay community, so the Borderlands 2 char...






Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
What is the meaning of life, and do you have any more pizza rolls?
You may remix all content on this site under Creative Commons with Attribution
- Living the dream, Since 2006 -