Returning to Elpis

Been playing Borderlands 3 since release and just went back to playing The Pre Sequel on the Handsome Collection, to finish off some missing trophies. Can’t believe the difference, and apologies for the long post, but after a short time playing, here’s my immediate thoughts:

  • Starting with a new character sucks (had all the mission trophies except the first, weirdly). You have no slam, no slide, no mantle, nothing. It feels slow and annnoying. No wonder slamming in B3 sucks, if this is what not having an OZ kit is like. Amara, FL4K, Moze and Zane need to get their hands on some OZ kits, stat.
  • Reaching Elpis and getting an OZ kit, that sluggishness changes immediately. Still missing sliding and mantling, but the slamming feels amazing. And I can boost while jumping, it’s fantastic. Slamming in B3 feels like jump, wait, slam, wait, wait, move, action. Slamming in TPS is more like jump, slam, move, jump, slam, action, jump, action, slam, action. There’s no pausing before moving/meleeing/shooting. It feels so much better. If B4 can combine TPS jump and slam, with the B3 mantle and slide, it’ll be a perfect parkour shooter.
  • Starting from the beginning, the speed of getting into the action is great. Less than a minute (after the cutscene ends) and I’m shooting and getting shot at.
  • Like Texas, everything’s bigger on Elpis. Numbers-wise, at least. I switched to a level 50 character for my next trophy and looked at the gear I had, all between level 40 and 50. Pistol did 2k damage, SMG did 1500, AR was 2100, shotgun did 3Kx5. My sniper was just a vladof and did 3200. Rocket launcher was 100K and my lasers were 1K to 4K. My shield had 10K hit points and it wasn’t even a turtle shield or anything. I had 2 grenades, a MIRV which did 12Kx9 and a leech which did 4Kx7 (not as cool as the weird combos in B3, but way more powerful). Looks like the B3 VHs are weaklings, so far, even including Amara.
  • I MISS LASERS! I’d love to see them come back at some point, maybe with something new.
  • Cryo was so different. I’d forgotten it was just a DoT effect and froze enemies solid almost randomly.
  • Everything’s faster up here, too. WHOOSH! My menu is zooming along at hyperspeed, I swear. I needed some level 1 guns for the grinder, so I used my player 2 controller to make some new characters. Honestly, I managed to make 6 new characters (one of each), one after the other, open their menu, move to the inventory, drop their 2 equipped guns, back out, quit out of the game and select the next VH. Afterwards, I deleted all 6. It had been less than ONE MINUTE. In B3, it’d be longer than that for each one, I reckon.
  • Dropping loot as FragTrap, I realise I’ve emptied my gear onto the floor and I’m quitting before the game can finishing rendering the character. He’s just a floating eye/camera and a pair of arms. It’s good and bad, because the game is fast on menus but slow on loading other stuff, but that’s still good, as it focuses computer power where I want it to be.
  • Luneshines. I’d forgotten them entirely, but now I realise they’re just anointed loot. Maybe they’re not done as well, since you mostly have to use the grinder to get them, but some of them are better than the B3 anointments, IMO.
  • Speaking of the grinder, I have to use it to finish some challenges, and I remember something. It sucks. It’s a massive time suck and I never got the hang of some of the recipes. I stick 3 guns in and it refuses them, swap one pistol for another (same level and rarity) and it gobbles them down immediately. It’s level 1, so costs no moonstones and spits out a Luneshine weapon that increases the XP I receive. Cool. It’s useful and it spits out legendaries (including every legendary in the game, I think. No M4 restrictions, no opening the golden chest and finding the same few items each time, no getting a woodblocker every 10 minutes) in a predictable manner, but I still prefer going around, playing the game, over anything that keeps you in the same place for long periods of time.
  • There’s no anointed enemies. Anywhere. I look, but can’t find them. My VH does a little dance of excitement, never knowing the reality of having to face them. I mean, there’s still some other annoying enemies, obviously, but not in the same league.
  • I MISS CLAPTRAPS! I love going back to the older games and seeing all the different models of claptrap in the games. I know lots of people hate him, but I think they’re awesome.
  • Something else I notice that B3 does better: having to manually pickup everything from lootable objects (loose money and ammo) is annoying. I then go to fast travel and remember I need to go to a fast travel point, instead of just opening my map. So much better in B3.
  • The bank in B3 is better too, especially now its been upgraded to a more decent size. I spot the old customs locker for swapping items between characters and remember having to move them 4 at a time. So annoying. I stopped bothering and used a player 2 mule character, to be honest.
  • Messing around with the legendaries I have on my character, they feel more wacky, more fun to play with, but they’re all more powerful then the purples of the same level I’m seeing. Unlike a lot of the ones in B3, these feel special. Maybe it’s because they’re rarer, especially the Luneshine ones, but they seem better than the B3 ones.
  • I go to sell some loot and click sell all non-favourites. No choosing the junk, it just offloads the lot. It’s quicker and I wish it was an option in B3, but I also remember accidentally selling loot I wanted, so I still scroll through and favourite items I like before hitting the vending machines next time.
  • While browsing my inventory I recall something and toggle the sort mode. Sort by Value pops up and I scroll to the bottom. This needs to come back in B3, I think. So much better than sorting by score, as I can quickly drop the lowest value goods and sell the highest value ones. So much better.

TL;DR = TPS does a lot of things better than B3, on reflection. It does a lot of things worse, too, but Gearbox should definitely go back to TPS and learn some lessons.

Anyone else gone back to earlier games and noticed changes they’d forgotten? Any thoughts on features B3 should bring back?

14 Likes

I’ve seen a few laser-like BL3 guns (e.g., the Laser-Sploder) In the end, on TPS, I had little use for their erratic shooting patterns.

May I present to you – the Mutator Arena (Claprap DLC)! Level 9 with the Vampire modifier and 5H4D0W-TP spawning can match or exceed any annoyance anointed enemies can dish out!

I was doing the BL3 Scraptrap farm just today – not for XP or gear, just the insane satisfaction of easily annihilating wave after wave of Claptraps!

Yeah, I was disappointed that there was no way to slam like in TPS. I’m just hoping that them giving us an anointment for +damage when shooting from the air is a hint that they will be adding hovering?

1 Like

Haha excellent. Yes I love TPS too.

What is amazing is that TPS and BL2 still have quirks over BL3.
THC & BL3 are two different devices and quite frankly, I just consider the two held together as ONE.

Shootloot RPG with 16 classes, we get a bit of next gen flavour with 3 and BL2 is a long walk if you want to be an aesthetic completionist.

If I take a break from 3 I’m heading back to Elpis and Athena

1 Like

Yeah. I’ve found a couple of “laser” guns in B3 and they’re awesome, but I don’t know why they are one offs, rather than a class like in TPS. Or the eridian “lasers” from B1, which were awesome, too.
And loving the scraptraps in the new DLC, as well as the clapstructor. The more, the better. =]

TPS is no longer on my hard drive. BL1, BL2, and now BL3 will probably never leave. I thought TPS was simply boring.

1 Like

Eh arguably the first hour of TPS is more fun than BL2…

But hey I’m Australian so I was both honoured and slightly disturbed that they chose our humor because most of the world doesn’t understand Australian heritage which TPS is full of and jokes about throughout the game.

Also, Athena is bae

5 Likes

I found TPS boring at times, agreed. But there are boring moments in them all, I think. Maybe more in TPS.
But comparing gameplay mechanics, each has its own positives and negatives.

As a Brit, I appreciated all the Aussie stuff. Apparently, some of the early demo work was done with local VAs using their regular voices, and the concept of “Australia in space!” stuck so… Made a nice change, and it certainly gives TPS a unique flavour.

2 Likes

What really struck me about TPS over BL3 is just how much better the skill trees were. Most skills in BL3 and stat boosts and nothing major or visual, but in TPS almost everything had an immediate and often visual effect you can see all the time. It was awesome

5 Likes

If you are talking about boring sections I think BL3 takes the cake with their needlessly sprawling , empty , convoluted maps that serve nothing but force you to use paper thin vehicles and pad the length of the game for no reason

2 Likes

Trust me VH, the Aussie humor is so thick in TPS I knew the world reception was going to be jaded. While TPS has mechanics that do irritate BL2 diehards personally from my view Pre-Sequal is a great game. It’s a little different but if everyone was Australian it would have been a critical hit.

Anthony Burch said during an interview with ABC’s Good Game Australia;

“What I like most is Elpis is soooo Australian while still staying true to the core of what a Borderlands game is.”

It only came about because yeah lol the test VA’s sent to Gearbox were 2k Australian employees just mocking up voices so they could start to hear the game, Gearbox loved it and so Elpis became an Aussie kinda place.

3 Likes

Wait you drive? I use a snowdrift relic +103% slide speed and spam sprint slide sprint slide. I’d rather have open spaces than a confined hallway, personal preference is I welcome open spaces, enjoy the size. Its not a bad thing

1 Like

I dont want all confined spaces, more like maps in the Moxxi DLC , or Athenas, as opposed to maps like Eden 6 and the Splinterlands etc , i.e big empty barren spaces with needlessly winding and overlapping roads

1 Like

Played a little more, noticed a few more things:

  • TPS seems funnier. Aussie humour isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but then neither’s poop/fart jokes. I like humour in TPS and I found myself wanting to read things more while playing it.
  • The mission menu actually works. By which, I mean, I can read through the mission descriptions (worth doing, as they’re funny and actually update during missions in B2/TPS, unlike B3) and change missions easily, whereas the mission menu in B3 is a mess. It’s a total nightmare trying to change missions sometimes.
  • Somehow, I feel like more of a badass. Not sure why. I’m fighting enemies that are several levels higher than me and they’re tough, but I’m holding my own and suddenly realise that I’m essentially in Mayhem level whatever, without the modifiers.
  • I realise that I can stagger enemies, especially by using slam. It’s great, really helps when facing tough enemies, as I can knock them off-guard and gain an advantage, I can also be staggered myself, which sucks (but makes sense). I get set upon by 3 rabid stalkers at once, all of whom stagger me with their attacks. They destroy me, and I take care when respawning, eager for vengeance.
  • The rabid stalkers feel difficult, but not just because they have too much health/shields, or because they turn immune. They have a difficult mechanic, which I’m forced to think about and adapt to. With some effort I can defeat them without having to use OP items or just keep shooting at them for 5 minutes. I walk away from their bodies feeling satisfied, rather than annoyed.
  • I’m noticing the cult of the vault symbols in the game. Still not sure - are these the Children of the Vault, or a different cult? The COV don’t use the same symbol and the Cult aren’t mentioned.
  • I’m playing Aurelia and can’t help noticing how different she seems to in B3. Sure, it’s like 10 years earlier and the TPS story affects her, but she feels like a different character.
  • I also play as Timothy, and his progression to the B3 DLC version feels much better. They did a better job with him, and I hope any future characters returning in the DLCs will get the same treatment.

  • I’m in TVHM and I love the voice over additions to the story that come from the fact that its a retelling of the first playthrough’s retelling. The team behind this game actually put some thought into the idea of replaying through the story and they tried to keep it feeling new and interesting. It still gets boring once you’ve done it a few times, but it takes longer.
  • The same with the unique character dialogue. B3 added it, but it wasn’t done as well, especially with Zane - he’s brilliant, but NPCs don’t react to his lines very well. There’s much more back and forth in TPS, rather than just changing the VH speech and keeping the NPC one the same each time. It’s not perfect in TPS, mind (As Aurelia, I make a comment about having to buy a new house and the NPC replies as if I said the same thing as the other characters) but it’s way better.
  • I find a slam puzzle, further reinforcing the idea that this game was build around the concept of slamming, instead of feeling like slam was tacked on last minute to stop fans complaining it wasn’t there.
  • As if to emphasise this point, I notice that the OZ kits all come with elemental damage, or explosive damage as standard. Slam in B3 is just normal damage and doesn’t synergise, whereas in TPS I’m combining elements. I freeze an enemy with my gun and slam them with explosive damage. I can electric slam a group of shielded enemies to weaken them up before using my gun to finish them off. Like I said, it feels like part of the gameplay.
  • Curious, I check an OZ kit. At level 50, slam gets a 15k damage bonus. Next time I’m in B3, I slam an enemy and check using photo mode. I did 1200 damage. Weak. Why bother?
  • I get contacted by echo and notice the picture in the corner of my screen. I wish more B3 characters had echo images, because they were great for when you didn’t meet a character and wanted to know what they looked like. Given that the echo system is basically like a mobile/cell phone network, I find myself wondered why I constantly had to “go speak to Lilith” so often, rather than just phoning her. In TPS, people are constantly calling me up and chatting back and forth, not interrupting the flow of the game. Sure, I may occasionally need to duck out of combat so I don’t miss the dialogue, but I have subtitles switched on so I don’t have to worry too much.
  • In Jack’s Office, I find the “office Claptraps” are making an echonet game. Their comments are brilliant and I can’t help feeling like they’re making B3, given some of their comments, like “Just add a one-tenth of a second delay. That’ll fix everything.”

So, yeah. Again, TPS has so many things gearbox should have learned from, but didn’t. And so many things which got improved on in B3. Hope B4 draws from both, cus if it does it’ll be AWESOME! =]

5 Likes

The lower numbers in BL3 is actually better for scaling.

Artifacts give elements to slams. Explosive damage is normal damage now. So slams are technically explosive by default. IIRC, OZ kits essentially were the artifact slot of TPS.

Aurelia doesn’t seem that different to me.

And I enjoyed the AU-ness of TPS. As an American, too! Didn’t need to be a Brit, Kiwi, or Aussie to keep up. The Waltzing Matilda side quest particularly amused me.

1 Like

Yeah, OZ kits were the artifact/relic slot, but they all increased slam damage by default and most added an element, as well as their other effects. In B3, it’d be like having every relic in the game give a slam bonus.
And explosive damage isn’t an element in B3, just splash damage + normal damage. In TPS it dealt extra damage to frozen enemies. That’s not necessarily better or worse, just a difference, really.

Also noticed that the text seems smaller in B3, probably because they’ve added extra stats and stuff. Plus I noticed that movement decreased accuracy in previous games. Had forgotten how much it affected combat when you’d been running. Glad that isn’t in B3, at least. =]

I think most of the time I just equipped that OZ kit that made OZ pickups act like health or something utilitarian like that, and kept it for that effect even when significant slam damage upgrades presented themselves. Even with low gravity making slams more readily usable I rarely used them.

1 Like

For me personally The Pre-Sequel was 9/10! I loved everything about it except the lack of endgame DLC(which couldn’t be helped because 2k Aussie went tits up).

It’s unbelievable how much BL3 missed mechanically by not referencing TPS.

Even the story line was left in ab amazing place yet not capitalized on.

A lot of potential wasted by not referencing TPS’s standout eye for detail.

5 Likes

Thats because BL3 is more like a side story/spin-off.

1 Like

This makes sense. BL3 sure does feel like a side story.

1 Like