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2K Games
2K Australia
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Release Date:
October 14, 2014

Okay, so it’s not technically “Borderlands 3.” But for the better part of 2014, developer 2K Australia (in conjunction with Gearbox Software) promoted Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as a full, complete installment in the acclaimed franchise. It’s not a spin-off and it’s not a simple cash-in attempt on an established IP. That was the message gamers received, again and again. Now, while I freely admit that we’re not seeing any innovative upgrades here, we are seeing an entirely fresh adventure that features the Borderlands atmosphere fans know and love.

When I first began my quest, I realized with a smile that The Pre-Sequel looks great on the PS3. It’s really one of the better-looking games currently available on the aging machine, as the game’s design is top-notch and the animations remain fluid and appealing. That being said, it’s clear that the developers are really pushing the boundaries of the PS3 architecture, because we get texture pop-in and the occasional glitch. During an especially chaotic encounter with a huge boss, the game completely froze for a second. I suppose it’s inevitable when you stretch the system’s capacities to the limits, though.

The sound encounters similar technical hang-ups here and there, and the balancing between voices, music and effects isn’t perfect. But you’ve still got stellar voice performances – most of which will make you grin – and an excellent soundtrack. Good actors bring the colorful, charismatic characters to life, while the sweeping score, infused with a wee bit of playfulness, keeps you emotionally involved. The bottom line is that this game looks and feels exactly as it should: At least from a technical perspective, it’s Borderlands to a “T,” and that will undoubtedly satisfy the die-hard fans.

If the title still confuses you, let me explain: This game takes place between the first two entries in the series and this time, players get a different perspective. The playable characters come from Handsome Jack’s camp, and the addition of the always entertaining Claptrap is amusing, if not entirely necessary. There’s Wilhelm, who boasts cyborg implants and utilizes remote drones that can attack and heal, and there’s Athena, from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC. She uses a shield as a weapon, which mixes up the gameplay quite a bit. Lastly, there’s Nisha, sheriff of Lynchtown, who loves to utilize a wide variety of guns. I selected Nisha, just ‘cuz she reminded me of Wild ARMs .