It was a novel choice for the playable characters in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to be returning characters from previous titles (and DLC) in the series — but with the first add-on content for the game, Vault Hunters are going to have the option of playing as a much more notable character than any of those in the base package.
Handsome Jack will be added into the game in the aptly-titled ‘Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack’. As the name suggests, it won’t be the actual Jack that you play as — since the Pre-Sequel dips into the character’s backstory, that would result in some strange inconsistencies — but his doppelganger should still give you an authentic taste of life as the eventual Hyperion CEO.
The other characters plucked from NPC status and thrust into the role of protagonist for the game were all given very appropriate skills to ensure that playing as them will ring true for long-time fans who are familiar with the intricacies of the series’ lore — and Handsome Jack is no different. A great example of this is the way that Jack’s lust for space-dollars is expressed through buffs when he picks up money.
His legendary narcissism can be seen in his ability to summon multiple Digi-Jacks to join him in battle. These Doppelganger-Doppelgangers can be upgraded as you level up, which can grant you extra bonuses or allow them to give you your ‘Second Wind’ while you ‘Fight For Your Life’ after having your health depleted.
Sometimes DLC can seem like a rip-off, but it’s a good fit for the Borderlands series — the quest for loot is what these games are all about, and a drip feed of good content to keep that experience fresh will be warmly received by the fans who pour countless hours into these games. The inclusion of Handsome Jack seems like a worthy start to the scheduled content available with the game’s season pass, which is also set to include another new character, an upgrade to the current level cap and a new campaign.
The fact that Handsome Jack is so pivotal to the plot of the Pre-Sequel as well as being included as an add-on character — not to mention the fact that he seems to appear in Tales From the Borderlands — speaks to just how prominent the character is to the series, despite the fact that that his fate seemed to be sealed in Borderlands 2. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not this proves to be the character’s send off.
However, the fact that Handsome Jack is playable might ring some of the same alarm bells that Claptrap’s role as a player character did — it seems that the Pre-Sequel is using fan service to hide some of the flaws of its base product. That being said, this is the sort of DLC that caters to fans of the series, and they’ll likely get a lot out of it. Even if its overpriced.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The ‘Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack’ will be available on all formats from November 11, and will cost $9.99