Preview: Borderlands 2

borderlands2

It’s no secret that Dave and I are huge Borderlands fans, so when the call came from 2K Games to swing on by and thrash out a few hours of Borderlands 2 we were squealing like little kids. We came, we saw and we kicked ass! Buckle up for awesome after the jump.

Why wouldn’t you like co-op? The idea of being back to back with a group of good friends fighting off waves of enemies has been adapted and implemented by some of the best franchises out there. Some call it Horde mode, others Firefight, but in all cases the concept is essentially the same, furious fast-paced action.

One game took a huge leap of faith and decided to make it the entire game’s focus. Gearbox took an FPS with four players, added RPG elements like character customization and fetch quests plus a metric shit ton of weapons and Borderlands was born.

The first game was great. It had solid shooter mechanics, plenty of customization and a huge sandbox to play in quickly becoming a fan favorite. However, the game was far from perfect and repetition set in long before most players fought through to the end game. Now, with the second game only months away it’s time to take a look and see if Borderlands 2 will be new and improved or just a repainted expansion with new features.

Zero was excellent at pest control

Guns, guns, guns:

With the last game boasting a ridiculous number of weapon choices it seems bizarre to hope for more guns, but fans of Borderlands will know there is no such thing as too many guns. The sequel offers more personality to its lineup. Guns now have adjusted recoil, fire rate, clip sizes, bullet types, the list goes on and on. On top of that weapons now have new decals, color schemes and moving parts, meaning your gun feels more like YOUR gun.

Grenades have also had an overhaul. I witnessed one much like a flamethrower equivalent to a garden sprinkler and another sucked everything into a wormhole singularity. The results were very entertaining to say the least.

Needs more class:

Same as the original there are four major classes.

Gunzerker:

Replacing Brick, the heavy character, this chap has the obvious ‘tanking’ bonuses, but Salvador can also wield any two weapons at the same time. Obviously certain weapons are more useful than others for this, two sniper rifles are kind of silly, but two assault rifles? Now your gonna make a mess!

 

Siren:

Maya is the spiritual successor to Lilith and has a re-imagined Psi-ability. Less about moving yourself around, Maya has the ability to “Phaselock”, a move which can lift and lock enemies in place and allow you and your pals to wail on then without fear of reprisal. Her other skills include team healing and crowd control moves.

 

Assassin:

With Mordecai out, Zero takes up the mantle of the fast and deadly killer. Armed with the ability to disappear and drop a decoy Zero can strike opponents with a devastating melee attack and execute most creatures with a single strike. Though his move is more like Lilith’s phasewalk ability, the focus on weapon damage will have Mordecai fans feeling right at home.

 

Commando:

Axton feels like a quicker more effective verson of Roland. His main ability is dropping the Sabre turret which has many types of ammo and augmentations to use. However this can also be upgraded with teleporting abilities and even a nuclear bomb detonation on launch!

 

Be more badass:

This is a necessary addition to the Borderlands 2 experience. Players have a menu which details the required tasks to complete, unlike quests the player will need to kill creatures in specific ways to add to their ‘badass’ levels. Each completed level unlocks a miniscule stat increase to help you along your way and even though they may only be adding a small percentage at a time there is said to be no end to the level cap on your badassedness, which is just awesome!

Change of scenery:

I have two guns, one for the each of ya!

One of the gripes people had with the original Borderlands were the rather repetitive environments. Thankfully those cries have not gone unheard and Gearbox Software has spent a lot of time working on a huge array of environments and locations. Deserts, jungles and snow-capped mountains are just a few of the many places you will be exploring during your stay on Pandora. With a sandbox said to be six to seven times larger that the original, players are bound to find some crazy places on their travels.

Nice to see old friends:

All of the original cast you know and love are still around. During the preview I bumped into Marcus the weapons dealer, Doctor Zed and ClapTrap. All with new zany jokes and dialog to entertain you. Plus, all four gun-toting maniacs are now NPCs within the world. Mordecai, Lilith and Roland all showed up offering missions or a helping hand during the course of the playthrough.

Overall:

Borderlands 2 is even better than you could hope for. There’s more to do, it’s beautiful to look at, super-addictive and chock full of new toys to play with. Fans will get the sequel they deserve and those who steered clear of the first game will have the opportunity to get into the action with a much more polished and competent shooter. Borderlands 2 is shaping up to be one of the best co-op experiences of the year.

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Joshua Philpott

Tech MacGyver
Games writer, podcaster and tech wizard. Obsessed with obscure horror films, crazy gadgets and caffeine. Passionate, argumentative and open minded. Freelance writer and co-founder rawDLC.

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  • DeadMeat44

    Game of the year

  • DeadMeat44

    The good news for dave is that in this game he can be an actual shotgun samurai :)

  • kozeeii

    And that’s exactly why I’ll be Zero on my first playthrough