Loot acts a bit differently when you’re on the moon. When enemies explode, dropping guns, cash, ammo, and anything else, the low gravity might throw it across the surface of Elpis, and you’ll have to scramble – jumping, sprinting and boosting – towards it, hoping to find a better randomly-generated gun. Lids of loot cylinders fly off with a satisfying pang, doors of lockers fly open as you search for the loot inside.
Loot acts a bit differently, due to the environment, but it’s very much the same in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as in previous incarnations. In fact, that goes for quite a lot of the game, but we’ll get to that in our review. This is all about the loot, those glorious, abundant pick-ups strewn all over the moon, the thing that truly makes Borderlands so engaging – the guns, shields, or class modifications that are personal to you because it’s extremely unlikely that anyone else in the world has the exact same combination; there are a bazillion of them after all.
Destiny – Bungie’s recently released co-operative shooter – has several ties to Borderlands: it’s a space-based sci-fi shooter with a lot of guns to find, multiple classes, first-person gameplay with elemental damage, and so on. And it’s a good game, but the way the loot is executed just doesn’t compare to Borderlands. In Destiny, you’ll find five chests on each planet and several more in specific missions or when hunting for materials, but I opened more of these in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in the first hour, and these were filled with guns and shields, rather than just one specific item or a single bit of spinmetal.
Sure, enemies drop engrams (that’s encrypted guns and armour) in Destiny, but these are few and far between unless you used a now-patched exploit. With that loot cave, we used Destiny to make it like Borderlands; there’s no need to spend fifteen minutes standing shooting at the mouth of a cave in The Pre-Sequel, because the rewards are timely and natural. After every large fight and in many secret areas you’ll find chests with three or four guns. Sure, they’re not always the best, but there’s a certain kind of excitement when you open a chest.
It’s like a gamble at times. You’ve fought through all these enemies (which you had to do anyway to progress) and then you’re seeing if it’s worth it by opening this chest to your dreams… or to guns that are much worse than the ones you have now. They’re all randomly generated, so you could get something incredible or something entirely forgettable. And The Pre-Sequel adds to this by bringing in new chests, which cost Moonstones to open and can still have totally rubbish items inside – as I discovered when we opened our first one, only to find shields with stats below what we currently had.
Borderlands’ genius also comes in the way that loot must be shared between the players there. Yes, there’s plenty of it, but you have to come up with a system that’s fair for everyone, rather than immediately getting something for yourself. If you’re the bad kind of player, you won’t tell anyone about the hidden chest you’ve found and steal all of the guns for yourself, but if you get a team of good, like-minded players, you’ll stand over a chest while you wait for everyone to catch up and then have a bit of a discussion of who gets which gun or item.
For class mods, it’s natural: those go to the player whose class it applies to. For guns, we’ve come up with a system where we choose our two favourite types of weapons and get first dibs on those if better ones show up, passing down our older ones when we’re done with them. It’s a system that goes hand-in-hand with the co-operative nature of the game, and something which really adds to it. Sure, you might be swapping out guns a bit too often to get attached to them, but the thrill of finding a better weapon never subsides.
Loot acts a bit differently in Borderlands compared to many other games, and while The Pre-Sequel may not be quite as polished as Destiny and can be a bit muddled in places, it’s all about finding the one of those gajillion randomly-generated weapons which suits you perfectly. Then you find an even better one about half an hour later. It’s so good at that.