I do not envy the folks who were tasked with writing the Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel strategy guide. The Borderlands franchise has always been one with sprawling maps, countless enemies, and so many weapon variants that it boggles the mind. Anyone who has agonized over swapping out a gun that deals more base damage over one that fires corrosive bullets knows exactly the pain I’m talking about. With new characters, new powers, and a whole new world to explore (with reduced gravity!) the BradyGames crew does an admirable job delivering a comprehensive, informative guide that serves as a vital companion to the experience.
What originally struck me as funny when thumbing through the guide is that the main story walkthrough is actually a fairly minor section. Don’t get it wrong, the guide does a fine job of walking you through the main story missions and letting you know how to effectively get around Pandora’s moon of Elpis, it’s just that in the grand scheme of the game the primary missions are but a small piece of the overall experience. Still, the guide dutifully takes you from point-to-point in your adventure, complete with extensive maps and helpful screenshots to guide you to those hard-to-find locales.
In a brilliant bit of foresight, the strategy guide also has special callouts at the end of each relevant story mission to let you know which side quests have unlocked. Borderlands titles have always been mostly about losing yourself for dozens of hours completing secondary and tertiary mission’s for the world’s eccentric (and mildly insane) citizenry, and it’s truly helpful to know when and where you can pick up new missions as they become available. Sometimes, the guide even points out that a mission may be unlocked, but it’s more beneficial to wait a bit before starting it because you’ll be in the same area later on doing another task. Having a comprehensive strategy for conquering the chaos of these bonus missions is potentially the guide’s greatest strength.
In addition to the step-by-step mission guides there’s also an exhaustive beastiary, a full breakdown of Achievements/Trophies and Badass Challenges, as well as a great primer for new players and a few handy tips on new mechanics for franchise vets. One of my favorite touches is the recommended builds for both solo play and co-op for each of the main characters, as well as a great analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each skill tree. In previous Borderlands games I always felt like I was flying blind as I built up my character, so it’s great to have a template from which to build.
Some players may be a bit sad to hear that the weapons breakdown is fairly straightforward, merely laying out the different manufacturers and their weapons’ unique qualities. You won’t find an exhaustive list of every possible weapon in the game, but to ask for such a thing is foolhardy anyway. Since weapon/loot drops are random and there are countless possible combinations it would be impractical (if not impossible) to try and list them all. What is offered is perfectly sufficient, and the guide will call out specific weapons that are either granted as part of a mission or as a reward for completing a quest.
I’ll admit that when I first picked up the guide for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel I had no idea how anyone could possibly explain this incredibly huge, complex game in a way that made sense. I was very happy to find that not only can it be done, but done in such a way that feels effortless. Every time I boot up the game I’ve got the guide at my side, not because I have to for the purposes of a review, but because I want it at my fingertips to help me beat every baddie and uncover every secret. I can’t imagine higher praise than that.
SGR Rating: 5/5
Author: Rick Barba and Michael Lummis
Editions available: Paperback
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