"You're... GOING TO LOVE ME!!"
Forget Lilith. Zer0 wh0? There's a new vault hunter in town, an unstoppable force of pure chaos, and its name is...
...Claptrap? Oh no.
Oh yes. The irritating yelllow robot who everybody hates to love has finally got his chance to shine in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and having stepped into his chassis for an hour at Gamescom, he's possibly the most ridiculously brilliant character in the series to date.
And possibly the worst. See, whereas most vault hunters bring a single powerful primary ability to the table, literally anything can happen when you hit that left bumper. Sometimes you'll turn into a pirate galleon. Sometimes you'll force bizarre statuses on your entire team, such as infinitely throwing grenades or bouncing off all surfaces like a mad pinball machine. And then, damage done, you can ask for a high five. I'm going to regale you with my stories from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel soon, but right now, it's time to do the moon dance.
In basic terms, Claptrap handles much like any traditional shooter protagonist. He's oddly got the same viewing height and even need for Oxygen (erm... no, I'm not sure why either) as his comrades, and can access all the same guns and gear. So far, so vanilla.
Thankfully, quickly Claptrap starts to find his flavour in the skill trees. The Boom Trap tree allows him to explode on contact with melee attacks, willingly damage his own shield for extra health and summon a dubstep-dancing lure in Fight For Your Life. Meanwhile the aptly named I Love You Guys tree grants him a selection of teamwork-related abilities, such as creating healing 'friendship novas' on each kill with the 'You're... GOING TO LOVE ME!!' skill. Finally, Fragmented Claptrap options grant access to Subroutines, which randomly change Claptrap's damage output with different weapon types, shields and grenades without warning mid-battle, while nerfing others.
Chaos is the name of the game, then, making Claptrap an advanced character who's a slave to the RNG. However, unlocking key skills also unlocks new and utterly bizarre things that might -- might -- happen when you hit LB.
Claptrap's action ability, Vault Hunter.exe, is stupid. And wonderful. It's effectively a roulette wheel that makes something happen. Often this something is a hilariously lame rip-off of one of the other Vault Hunter's abilities, such as a tiny flying poisonous Claptrap that emits dubstep music in an effort to summon Bloodwing, or a miniature bobbleheaded Claptrap turret. Gunzerking? Try FUNzerking, which lets Claptrap dual wield weapons while automatically discharging both barrels.
These Action Packages pale into insignificance (and sanity) next to some of the odder weapons in Claptrap's arsenal, though. Torgue Fiesta gives all teammates infinite grenades for a time... but forces everyone to throw them each and every second. A straight fight suddenly becomes an orgy of explosions. Occasionally all team-mates become bouncy, uncontrollably springing off walls and floors yet also repelling projectiles. He'll sometimes turn into a suicidal bomb-equipped jack-in-the-box drone complete with burning fuse, or if you're lucky, a pirate galleon bristling with overwhelmingly powerful cannons.
That only fire in rhythm with the 1812 Overture, which triumphantly blasts out for the duration. Because, hey, why not.
After a few minutes, your team while either love you or hate your guts, so why not find out which with a high five? Pressing and holding the right stick sets up a slap, which grants your team a buff if they run up and give you some skin. Conversely, if they leave you hanging, you'll net a "screw you guys!' status effect with both positive and negative implications.
Put simply, Claptrap is mad, loveable and deeply, deeply annoying. But we knew that already. Stay tuned for more coverage of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel soon.