Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Bloody shooter series treads water with average semi-sequel.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Primary aim is to entertain players with bloody, sensational sci-fi gunplay. Occasionally delivers positive social messages through casual exchanges between characters, such as speaking out against homophobia by using humorous dialogue.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonists are heroes in the lightest sense of the word. Their primary interests seem to be fighting and finding loot stashes. Some nonplayer characters appear to have noble goals but end up committing acts of evil in the process of achieving them. Narrative suggests that people are generally morally ambiguous, and their actions don't always mirror their intent.   

Ease of Play

Basic first-person controls should be easy to pick up for most players. Death doesn't really have an impact; in most cases, you'll simply respawn and pick up where you left off. Noticeably easier when played in groups.


First-person sci-fi gun combat with rifles, rocket launchers, pistols, machine guns, and other projectile weapons. Robots explode; human enemies scream in pain and gush red blood. Weapons-based violence is at the core of the experience. 


Occasional sexual references in dialogue, including the words "slutty" and "lady boner."


Fairly frequent language, including the words "jackass," "bastard," and "bitch."


Third game in a popular series of sci-fi shooters.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is a sci-fi first-person shooter/role-playing game with frequent, intense gunplay and lots of violence. Players use a broad range of rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenades, and other weapons to destroy robots and kill human enemies, who gush blood and scream in pain before dying. The story follows a character from a later period in the series' time line and shows how he transforms from a somewhat decent fellow into a villain, suggesting that worthy motives don't always result in virtuous actions. Mild profanity ("bitch," for example) and sexual references are used in the game, which is the third title in the franchise. Online cooperative play means players can join together and communicate with strangers with the option to engage in open, non-moderated voice communication, which could raise safety and privacy concerns.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGamingForParents December 31, 2016

Parents, listen up. Everything you need to know about getting this for yourself or kids.

We have all been there. Your kiddo wants a Mature rated game and you don't want to let them down. I've been there, it sucks. Listen up, cause my job i... Continue reading
Adult Written byCarmen A May 15, 2020

It's a good game for kids but they do say some pretty bad words

This game is awesome with a ton of challenges, but I find it hard to say this is an 11+ game. They do say some pretty sexual words like d---bag and ladyboner bu... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byMannyReviews November 8, 2020

Stick to the main storyline.

In terms of violence, its not that bad, language is horrible as is in any borderlands game. What really makes this game suck is the campaign. There was not a lo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 June 5, 2019

Though not as good as others, but still very fun and awesome to play

Borderlands The Pre Sequel is probably slightly better than the first game, it is amazing. Violence is constant. With a large vary of guns, you shoot your way t... Continue reading

What's it about?

Set between the first and second Borderlands games, BORDERLANDS: THE PRE-SEQUEL! -- the first game in the popular sci-fi shooter/RPG series not developed by franchise creators Gearbox Software -- reveals the origin of Handsome Jack, the primary antagonist of Borderlands 2; turns out he's actually a pretty decent guy at the start of this game. Players begin by choosing one of four characters, each representative of a specific class with distinct special abilities -- ranging from a shield that absorbs attacks and turns into a weapon to a bizarre computer program (executed by the franchise's always witty robot ClapTrap) that has unpredictable effects when executed (such as spawning a disco ball or bouncy rubber-ducky suits). The action is set on a low-gravity moon, introducing a new dimension of movement to the series by allowing players to leap much higher, control their direction in midair, and easily bypass smaller environmental obstacles. Players can opt to work through the campaign alone or join with up to three additional players online in team-based cooperative play.

Is it any good?

Despite tweaks such as low-gravity movement and a healthy dose of comedy courtesy of ClapTrap, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! is less a full-formed entry in the popular sci-fi series and more -- as its name suggests -- an extended filler episode designed to patch up a few narrative holes while giving series fans more of what they enjoy. The firefights are just as slick and intuitive as in previous games, and collecting loot is as addictive as ever, thanks to the introduction of oxygen kits, which are necessary to breathe on the moon's surface, come in various capacities, and offer different kinds of bonus effects.

All that said, a heavy blanket of sameness is draped over the proceedings. Mission and character progression feel very similar to that of previous games, and the story and characters tread ground that's already been covered. It's largely only more of what players have already experienced and shorter than they might expect. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! could have been an amazing piece of downloadable content for Borderlands 2, but as a full-priced standalone sequel, it falls short.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online safety. What precautions do you take when playing online games? What sort of behavior from other players do you actively avoid?

  • Discuss the draw of speculative storytelling, especially with games such as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! What is it about science fiction that continues to appeal to our culture? The alien worlds? The advanced technology? What do you like most about stories set on distant planets or spaceships in the future?

  • Talk about violence in games such as Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! Is the violence OK because of the art style and tongue-in-cheek nature of the game, or is it hard to justify a violent game like this?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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