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Destler Dodge

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, one of the most anticipated games of the year, gives players the opportunity to explore Elpis, the moon of Pandora. As the name suggests, the game takes place between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2. This time around, you play as one of four vault hunters under the employment of a Hyperion computer programmer named Jack. Yes, the same Jack who would later be known as Handsome Jack. In fact, two of the playable characters, Wilhelm and Nisha, appear as bosses in Borderlands 2.

Much of the game remains true to the Borderlands formula. Lots of enemies, lots of guns and a four-player co-op. Where the Pre-Sequel really shines, however, is in what’s new. The first thing many people will notice is how much more talkative their characters are. Each vault hunter will converse with non-player characters (NPCs) along with each other throughout missions and travels, not just during combat. This gives the playable characters a new degree of depth and personality that previous games did not achieve.

Combat on Elpis is a bit different from combat on Pandora. Oxygen packs, called Oz kits, give players more than just the ability to breathe on the moon. Ejecting air from their packs gives players two new abilities: the double-jump and the butt-slam. Double-jumping, combined with the low gravity of the moon, allows players freedom of movement like never before, while the butt-slam is a new shockwave attack that can cause sizable damage to nearby foes. Combat feels much more “free” and allows players to quickly move to the most strategic position they can find.

A slew of new weapons has been added to the mix as well. First is a new type of elemental weapon. Cryo weapons can freeze enemies solid and leave them vulnerable to being shattered into a million pieces. Also new to the game are laser weapons: pistols, rifles and even shotguns that fire blasts of pure energy. Included in the line-up of laser weapons are guns reminiscent of "Ghostbusters" that fire a continuous beam.

The Pre-Sequel also attempts to fix a common problem found in the previous games: many times you would find yourself with a large number of guns that were good, but not as good as what you currently had equipped. As a result, you would sell the extra weapons, but the store never had any guns for sale that were better than what you had equipped, either. This left you with tons of cash and no use for it. Now, instead of selling your guns, you can take them to the Grinder. The Grinder allows you to combine three guns of the same kind to make a better gun. Now, you can take weapons slightly worse than what you have equipped and combine them into something better than what you already have.

Aside from new weapons and features, the game’s humor has received a massive boost in the form of one of the playable characters; I am, of course, referring to Claptrap. His dialogue is hilarious as it is, but his special ability is the icing on the cake. Upon activation, he will randomly select one of several possible power-ups, ranging from dual-wielding weapons to blasting enemies with cannon-fire. The real fun comes from using this skill while playing with other people. More often than not, his skill will affect his teammates as well. Side effects can range from being unable to stop shooting to bouncing uncontrollably. Essentially, if you’re not playing with Claptrap in your group, you’re playing the game wrong.

Overall, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel brings in enough new content to make the game significantly more fun than its predecessors. If you were a fan of the original games, you’ll love the newest installation. If you thought the previous games were dull and contained too much monotonous grinding, the Pre-Sequel brings in enough new aspects to both combat and characters to fix those issues. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is now available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.