Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is out today in the UK, and our full review will be going live very soon. It's a fun and famililar burst of shooting and looting, meaning that our Borderlands 2 survival guide is still packed with plenty of relevant tips, but the low-gravity setting, ace bouncy combat, new enemies and brand new characters mean that even Vault Hunting veterans can potentially be caught unawares.
Never fear, because I'm here with a few useful, practical and sometimes completely esoteric survival tips that are as spoiler-free as humanely possible! Ten, in fact, though I don't really see much point in ordering them this time.
Master The Double Jump...
Double-jumping is all the rage these days. Taking a look back at the platformers of yesteryear, Titanfall did the business and now everyone else is falling over themselves to follow suit.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, however, takes a totally unique approach to double-jumping. In a low-grav situation, you'll gain extra height if you hit the button without touching the stick, but holding a direction turns it into a powerful lateral boost instead (depending on your momentum at the time). You'll need a few hours to fully get used to it, as the additional altitude can be used to pour devastating firepower down on foes or engage aerial foes in the air.
Conversely, the boost provides a major speed increase, the ability to circle strafe in the air or the extra oomph you need to make it to a distant platform. Or even pulling back from a botched jump and ensuring you return to the platform rather than falling into the abyss. Practice makes perfect.
...and the Butt Slam
Ground Pounding is cool. Every action game needs it and The Pre-Sequel has it, providing a great way to damage and debilitate groups of enemies. As such it's great for crowd control, but also provides some useful extra functionality that you should take full advantage of.
First of all, Butt Slams are a great way of losing altitude quickly. This sounds like a basic point, but when a squad of Lost Legionnaires have you dialled in, being exposed and airborne is tantamount to suicide. Hover above some potential cover, then drop like a stone. As an added benefit, Butt Slams don't interrupt reloading, making them invaluable for staggering enemies while completing a lengthy reload animation. You'll be surprised at how handy it is, even if you use it more as an evasion tool as opposed to an offensive weapon.
Pack The Right Oz Kit
Oz Kits are a brand new part of the Borderlands experience. On a basic level, they provide the Oxygen you need to breathe (and more importantly, power your double jump), so you'll naturally want to chase after the green arrows as much as possible.
However, Oz Kits also provide a host of sweeping extra effects, some of which are more useful than others. Automatically shattering face masks with Butt Slams is a neat idea, as is adding elemental blasts to your ground pounds, but be on the lookout for Oz Kits that decrease the cost of double jumping by 50% or increase your gun damage depending on the amount of Oxygen you have left. 25% chance of free grenades and damage reduction are also well worth considering, and can make choosing an Oz Kit with slightly lower air capacity worthwhile.
Lasers are perhaps the most pleasing new addition to the formula, coming in several flavours and making what used to be rare Eridian tech free for all. Personally I'd suggest steering well clear of the inaccurate 'Splitter' and cumbersome 'Railgun' variations and stick with the much more versatile 'Blaster' and 'Beam' varieties, sourcing a scope if you can (Maliwan variations are great for this, whereas Dahl's burst fire is a liability), and spending Moonstones on the SDU ammo upgrades as soon as possible. You'll be able to store over 1000 units of ammunition, making for a deep and dependable source of lasery death.
Mr Torgue might hate them, but I'd recommend always having one handy.
Freezing enemies feels like a natural part of the Borderlands experience. So natural, in fact, that you might even forget that it's brand new and seriously useful.
Its major use should be obvious: locking down big enemies (brilliant for power suits and aircraft!) or shattering smaller ones. You'll therefore want to find a weapon with the highest elemental effect chance you can, use your skills and badass ranks to increase that percentage yet further, and/or use a rapid-fire weapon to quickly stack the effects and maximise your chance to proc.
Erm, that's about it. Freezing enemies is cool. Do it. Unless they're classed as "snowball" enemies, who will resist your icy blasts all day long. As a neat tip, freezing an enemy at a high altitude can result in them plummeting to earth and shattering on impact.
Know Your Role!
Borderlands games thrive on multiplayer, but I'd argue that the Pre-Sequel provides the most synergistic and complimentary selection of classes yet. Working together and understanding your characters' strengths is the key to survive and dominate as a team.
Nisha and Willhelm are both effective damage dealers, but Athena and Claptrap both excel in a more defensive role. Athena due to her fantastic shield that can practically save the entire team's hides in a punch, while Claptrap's randomised action ability affects the entire squad. Indeed, Claptrap is arguably a dedicated support class due to the fact that an entire skill tree hinges around co-op and the High Five action ability only works in multiplayer. Plus, his survivability passives are all double-edged and make him very squishy in solo mode.
So spec yourself at a New-U appropriately (talking to your team-mates as you do so), then keep each other informed and ask for help well in advance so Athena can get involved. Oh, and Claptrap, please tell your team-mates when you're about to activate Vault Hunter.exe...
Shock The Atmosphere Domes
Here's a fun piece of trivia. Did you know that Shock weapons can cycle atmopshere dome-shield pillars dotted around the environment? Rather than running up to them, you can switch them on and off with just a single bullet at range.
Why bother? Good question, to be honest, but personally I find it useful when a group of human enemies are clustered around an inactive dome and I have a fire weapon. You can only set people on fire in atmosphere, so, yeah, strategy and stuff. Conversely, if you've shattered the helmets of nearby enemies, shutting down the dome will cause them to asphyxiate.
Okay, I admit, I just wanted to shoehorn this little tip in somehow.
This is less 'survival' advice and more of a 'bear this in mind for later' teaser. An incredibly powerful firearm lurks in the Stanton's Liver stage, which you can find by heading north from the Western end of the bridge on the West side of the map. Hug the cliff face, leap over the platforms and discover the legendary weapon. It's name is Excalibastard, and it's a seriously beastly bit of kit.
The catch, unfortunately, is that you'll need a badass rank of 2500 to pull it from the stone. So... yeah, have fun with that.
Do The Sidequests As They Come
Let's be honest here: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is poorly paced. Very very VERY VERY poorly paced. A horribly slow start, saggy middle and padding galore makes for an experience that buries impactful moments beneath huge amounts of repetition.
What's important, however, is that there's a sharp difficulty spike at the final quarter of the game, following what feels like a climactic battle (but isn't, not by a long shot). Chances are you'll ignore some of the sidequests that appear just before this point to push the story forward, but if you do, there's a good chance you'll find yourself underlevelled for a VERY tough gear check mid-boss and even standard enemies down the line. To save on backtracking (and killing weaker enemies with low XP rewards), do them there and then.
'Favourite' Your Best Gear... Or Lose It
Borderlands 2 introduced the concept of tagging items as 'junk' or 'favourite,' allowing you to keep tabs on your best gear and automatically selling the trash. In the Pre-Sequel, however, this has been changed dramatically.
'Junk' tags are no more, meaning that you can only tag items as 'favourite,' while the auto-sell option gets rid of EVERYTHING ELSE.
That's right. Every inventory object that hasn't been manually tagged will be sold if you hit Y at a vending machine, so be sure to check and mark anything that you feel could be useful down the line.
Stay tuned for our full review, but until then, let us know what you're making of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! If you've got any sage advice to share, we'll add and credit as per usual.