As the third full installment of the series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel faces a lot more challenges than Borderlands 2 did when it first came out. How do you bring more of the same without tiring it out? How do you make this feel less like a weird expansion and more like a standalone game? All sequels face these challenges, but it gets specially difficult when you have to build upon the stellar Borderlands 2, Mac Gamer HQ’s 2012 Game of the Year. For developer, 2K Australia, the answer seemed to make choices that were safe but interesting. But did it pay off? And even if it did, is the Mac version of the game up to the task?

You can get it from the Mac App Store.

 

Enter Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel for Mac

Borderlands: The Pre�SequelIf you’re going to add something to the game, it might as well be some verticality.

To shake things up a bit, you head off to the moon Elpis, and shoot tons of bad guys with a lot less gravity. If you so desire, fighting on the ground works fine, but using what the developers affectionately call in the game a “butt-slam” works wonders for breaking things up a bit. In fact, there is such a following for this particular technique, that it has people attempting to beat the game using only this attack.

There are a couple of other additions, namely the oxygen resource that never makes you in dire need, but something to watch out for, like your shields. The gliding around is fun, and as soon as you realize how far you actually can go, it’s even better. The vertical axis is very important in this game. Places you thought you couldn’t reach in Borderlands 2 are accessible to you.

Everything else is immediately familiar if you’ve played Borderlands before. It’s a giant loot piñata where the drops and chests abound. The traditional FPS elements are there: guns, ammo and targeting. But you also get something that can only (usually) be found on RPGs: special abilities and skill trees unique for every character class.

The only truly unfair gimmick you have against the mobs is the Second Wind, where if you die but kill an enemy in the process, you get some health and shields back. In co-op, taking a kill from a partner can be detrimental if the partner doesn’t revive you and also kills the enemies in the area. This could potentially leave some hurt feelings and a revival bill.

Dying in-game provides a location and cash penalty. Doing it also resets the mobs and bosses. Not paying attention to air locations and cover could get you in trouble fast. The A.I. can be brutal, but not oppressively so. Some fans have called this version slightly harder, and I couldn’t disagree with that. For a run and gun, this game is all about fun with some puns.

Borderlands The Pre Sequel Mac gameplay

Continuing on the theme of “more of the same”, the graphics are the same cel shadings you know and love – but some nice effects like blur and depth of field keep it interesting and engaging. The sounds and graphics are largely the same, with a lot of the same assets reused from past Borderlands. The HUD is not really obtrusive, but informative.

The design of the guns and item information lead to the futuristic nature of the environment. The leaving and entering oxygen rich (and safe) locations are obvious and easy to find. There is an interesting dynamic of how the lack of air can hinder your sight and health, much like how drowning in Half-Life 2 works – when you get air, much if not all of your health comes back. And the radar is useful and informative, even in three dimensions. With some exceptions, the voice acting is top-notch, funny, and engaging.

When it comes to multiplayer, keep in mind that the Steam version of the game is Steam-Play enabled and is the only version to support online multiplayer.

 

Mac Performance

Just as Borderlands 2, Aspyr was in charge of the Mac port of the game. But before getting into the actual Mac performance, you need to know that the Mac version of the game has all the bells and whistles that PC version has, including Steam-Play and cross-platform multiplayer.

And as usual, Aspyr did some amazing work with the game. Running on 10.10 Yosemite, this game ran like a dream on my late 2013 Retina Macbook Pro running at full graphics fidelity. I didn’t experience any crashes, any glitches, or unexplained phenomena that interrupted the experience.

Borderlands The Pre Sequel Mac gameplay 3

I can’t tell you how amazing it is to not have to detail all of the bugs I found in the game, and if there were, it wasn’t enough to remember them from all of the fun.

Do keep in mind that some Mac players have reported low performance (compared to the game running on Bootcamp). Let me know how the game is running and what Mac do you have. I’m sure this would be very useful for other Mac gamers. Your milage may vary, so here are the listed specs you need to run this game:

Minimum requirements:

  • OS: 10.9.5 (Mavericks)
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 2600 / NVidia Geforce 8800 / Intel HD 4000
  • Hard Drive: 13 GB available space

NOTICE: The following video chipsets are unsupported:

  • ATI RADEON X1000 Series
  • ATI RADEON HD 2400
  • NVIDIA 8600m
  • NVIDIA 9400m, 9600m
  • Intel Integrated GMA 950
  • Intel Integrated x3100

Also if you’re really worried about it, you can use the GameAgent Tool to sign up and see if your Mac meets the minimum requirements.

Aspyr is also working hard on all DLC packs, to make sure Mac gamers get them as fast as possible. In fact, Aspyr already released The Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack which let you take on the role of Handsome Jack himself. As “Handsome Jack,” you’ll be able to summon digital constructs of yourself to fight alongside you on your adventures across Elpis.

 

The Verdict

The Good

  • A fun shooter that can be played with friends
  • Some interesting platforming components with the glide mechanic
  • Keeps the same shoot and loot mechanics we love from previous versions

The Bad

  • This game is less revolutionary and more iterative in design.
  • Might not be worth your money if you weren’t a big Borderlands fan before. If you are, you’ve probably already bought it.

Final Word

Borderlands The Pre Sequel Mac

A fun game for fans and non-fans alike. This game knows their audience and brings just enough new stuff to the table without ruining the formula.

You can get it from the Mac App Store.

Note from Ric: This Review comes from Justin Goff. You can find him on Twitter.