9 tips for kicking ass at Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (2023)

By David Roberts


Life in zero gravity

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You might have thought Pandora was an unforgiving wasteland, but you haven't seen anything yet. From insane monsters to even crazier citizens, Pandora's moon Elpis (and the super-laser-equipped space station hovering above it) can pose a serious threat to any Vault Hunter that attempts to tame its harsh galactic wilderness. That's where this guide comes in.

While the Pre-Sequel shares many (and I mean many) things in common with prior games, there are a few new features to keep in mind as you explore. And whether you're a newbie to the world of Borderlands or a veteran of the vault, these tips will help you get on your feet and shooting fools in no time.

Co-op is way better than single player

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Hell might be multiplayer in virtually every other scenario, but in Borderlands, other people make the game that much better. The different character classes complement each other, and the numerous dangerous enemies fall much faster under the might of a handful of players. You will have to fight over who gets what loot, though, so keep that in mind.

That's not to say solo players will find the game impossible, but they will have a much harder time than those who bring a few friends along, especially by the last third of the game. Having someone there to revive you in case you die makes the massive boss fights that much more palatable. Plus, you'll find yourself taking on more sidequests, as you have to make up for the lack of a buddy with a higher-leveled character.

Use the intro level to test out each individual class

One positive about the Pre-Sequel is how much faster the game starts out compared to previous entries. Within minutes, you've got your ECHO communicator, and you're off shooting Dahl troops in the face. The intro level means you can find out which class you like before you even make it to Elpis' surface.

The Pre-Sequel's intro sees you helping Jack escape from the newly-hijacked Helios Space Station, and this action-packed sequence will not only get you acclimated to the controls, but also to how each class performs. You'll gain a good three or four levels and your main class ability in the span of a half-hour, so if you find that you're not a fan of your chosen class' attacks, don't be afraid to try out another one. Each class' abilities are wildly different from one another, and you'll likely find at least one you enjoy playing as during this time.

Take advantage of the lower gravity every chance you get

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The biggest addition to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is Elpis' low-gravity atmosphere, and you should take advantage of it as much as you can. Double-jumping isn't just a great way to maneuver through the various environments, it's also a fantastic opportunity to change up your shooting strategy. Clamber to the top of buildings for vantage points, leap over your foes and shoot them in the face, or slam down on the ground with a well-timed butt slam. You'll also find jump pads strewn about that'll launch you even higher than you could get normally. The verticality adds a whole new element to Borderlands' combat, and use it whenever you can.

That said, you need to watch your oxygen levels, as your jump pack uses a little each time you decide to boost. Run out, and you'll watch your air levels slowly deplete. Oxygen vents, air bubbles, and O2 tanks can be found everywhere though, so it's never a huge inconvenience, but it'll catch you unaware if you're not careful.

Don't get too attached to your guns

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Borderlands is known for all of the crazy weapons and items you'll find, and the random loot generator is in full effect here in the Pre-Sequel. This means that there's always some new gun to find around the corner, either by opening up treasure chests or finding them from off the bodies of the recently deceased.

Loot drops so frequently, though, that it's hard to get too emotionally attached to any one gun. Use this as an opportunity to experiment. Just because one gun isn't as strong as another, it might fire faster, meaning you'll do more damage in the long run. Keep experimenting, and you'll be surprised with what your weapons can do for you. And don't worry if you have to sell or drop your inventory to make space; there's always another gun to grab nearby.

Carry multiple weapons with different elemental effects

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Each gun you find will likely have several different attributes (as long as it's uncommon or better), but one thing you want to keep in mind is the elemental status effects it can inflict on enemies. You can deal shock, incendiary, explosive, corrosive, and new to the Pre-Sequel, Cryo damage. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses; incendiary damage is good against human enemies, while shock damage is good against shields, for instance. And the new Cryo effect will, naturally, freeze your enemies in place.

The problem with these elemental effects is how many enemies later in the game are immune to different attacks. For instance, a bandit that shoots corrosive bullets will likely shrug off any corrosive damage done to him. To combat this, make sure you have multiple weapons that carry an assortment of elemental effects, so you can switch to a different gun, if you need to. It doesn't matter how powerful your arsenal is if you can't actually damage your enemy.

Be as awesome as you can be, and get rewarded for it

Badass Ranks are back in the Pre-Sequel, and they can help give you a slight edge over your enemies. If you don't know what they are, you earn Badass Ranks by doing awesome stuff, whether it's simply killing a specific amount of Elpis' indigenous wildlife or getting critical hits with specific weapons.

Be rad enough and you'll earn tokens which you can then redeem to permanently increase a wide variety of stats. These ranks and stat boosts are shared across all characters you may create, which will help make things a bit easier should you choose to run through the game again with a different class.

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There's another way to earn Badass Ranks, and that's by completing hidden challenges in each level. These range from beating specific bosses without using jump pads, wading up lava rivers without dying, or finding hidden Vault symbols strewn about each area. Completing these objectives (in addition to being their own reward) will give your Badass Rank a huge boost, and will sometimes take you to areas with hidden weapons caches as well.

There are dozens of secret bosses, hidden alcoves, and mysterious emblems to find. While they're not mandatory, they'll get you to explore the vast moon of Elpis and the Helios Space Station to its fullest.

Do the sidequests

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While the Pre-Sequel's main story line is merely OK, the sidequests are where the real fun lies, and where the best writing shines through. You get to meet the Borderlands versions of C-3PO and R2-D2, or help a British explorer hoist a flag while he makes trumpet noises with his mouth, and you only get to do this if you explore off the beaten path.

Not only is this a great way to see how goofy the Pre-Sequel can truly get, it's also a fantastic way to earn new gear and level up, especially if you're rolling solo. Each quest is marked with a level requirement and its difficulty, so you'll know whether the gear you'll earn will be worth the trouble or not. Though, even if a sidequest is marked as "trivial," it might still be worth checking out, if only for a few chuckles.

Don't forget to call Nel a dick

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I mean, seriously. Look at that guy. He totally deserves it.

It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there

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This should get you through the first few hours of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel without much trouble. Do you have any tips you'd like to share with your other fellow Vault Hunters? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to find out what we thought of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Be sure to check out our review! (opens in new tab) And if you're a fan of weapons (and who isn't?), take a look at our list of the most difficult weapons to unlock (and how to find them). (opens in new tab)

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David Roberts

David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.

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