True to name, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes place after not only before Borderlands 2, but time skips to ahead. The narrative frame is set as the Vault Hunter Athena (any DLC players from Borderlands 1 will recognize her) is set to be executed by the original gang of Vault Hunters (Lilith, Brick and Mordecai), taking place sometime after Borderlands 2. The time skips back to before Borderlands 2 as Athena recounts her story, setting the story as truly, a pre-sequel. While this sort of narrative trick has been done countless times, it’s not unwelcome as there’s a lot of opportunities to inject some humour into the narrative, as the old Vault Hunters chime in with their opinions and exclamations whilst Athena recounts her story.
There is a lot of focus on one Handsome Jack before the Handsome: one of the more memorable villains in the franchise, he’s given a lot of screen/voice time as he slowly evolves into the pretentious asshole that eventually becomes the big baddie of BL2.
There are few memorable characters outside of the old bunch (Mad Moxxi, Vault Hunters, prototype Claptrap, etc) but the new gang of Hunters are surprisingly well focused and interact with each other to really make it feel like they’re a group working together. Previous instalments lacked this sort of touch, and it was enjoyable to see Athena interact with Wilhelm or Nisha. Each Vault Hunter has appeared in some form in previous games, so fans will immediately recognize the playable characters. Nisha appeared in Borderlands 2 as the sheriff of Lynchwood, Athena appeared in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (BL1), Claptrap is pretty much the mascot of the franchise and Wilhelm was the major second boss of BL2.