|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Gearbox Software|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: September 18, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Adam Dodd
Before Borderlands came along, if a game had said it had a bazillion of anything I would've met its outlandish claims with an exaggerated roll of the eyes and a loud, unamused yawn. Then it came out, and while it wasn't without its flaws—including but not limited to a serious case of repetition—it successfully managed to blow my mind. The different weapon types, their attachments, special ammo, and unique abilities created literally millions of different guns, practically guaranteeing you would never play with someone who shared the same gun as you. In Borderlands 2, the arsenal is but one of the many areas that have seen serious improvement, and, from what we've seen of the game so far, it looks to be shaping up quite nicely.
Before we dig into the rest of the game, let's talk a little more about the weapons. For the sequel, developer Gearbox Software has implemented a brand-new procedural system that exponentially increases the game's arsenal. This upgrade isn't limited to the guns either; this means there are more shields, grenades, alien artifacts, and class mods to choose from as well.
Using these weapons are the five new characters that are being introduced. Don't worry, if you developed a strong bond between you and your character from the first game, they will be returning, though not in a playable capacity. The first new class is the Gunzerker, a man named Salvador who's more than a little adept at the use of guns. His mad firepower skills grant him the useful ability to dual-wield any two weapons in the game. Dual rocket launchers? Check. Machine gun, assault rifle combo? Check. The possibilities are endless.
The second new class—and the one that I'm most likely to be spending an unhealthy amount of time with—is the sword-wielding stealth character who goes by the mysterious moniker Zero. He can duplicate himself to create a decoy on the battlefield or use his cloaking ability to sneak up on a baddie Predator-style. He looks incredibly intimidating in the trailer, but it's the katana that really sold it for me. My diet of pizza and video games might say otherwise, but I'm pretty sure I was a deadly assassin in a past life.
Another new character is Maya who, like Lilith from the original game, is a Siren. This means she has similar powers, as well as a few new abilities like Phaselock, which can be used to levitate an enemy above the battlefield so the team can focus their fire on it.
Axton is a lot like Roland, the soldier from the first cast, and he too relies on turrets. Axton's balance of offensive and defensive powers could turn him into the backbone of any strong team.
The fifth and final class is still mostly under wraps, but what we know so far is her class is called the Mechromancer—possibly my new favorite gaming term—which, assuming her title didn't give it away already, means she can control mechs. However, the Mechromancer won't come with the game; instead, she'll become available in post-release DLC.
One of my major issues with the first game was the intensely repetitive environments. Most of the locations in the game shared that brownish desert aesthetic that got boring to look at after spending a few hours with the game. This time around, it seems we're exploring a more varied part of Pandora that will include arctic tundras, expansive grasslands, massive caverns, and much more. A little extra variety in the scenery will undoubtedly make Borderlands 2 a lot easier to spend all-night gaming marathons with. Also, while not much is known about how this is being done, Gearbox has said they're looking into making the transitions (i.e. the brutal loading screens between each level) a little more bearable. What that means is anyone's guess, but it's good to hear.
Inhabiting each of these locations are tons of new enemies that may or may not make Crawmerax look totally harmless. Some of the many new enemies being introduced in Borderlands 2 are the Bullymongs; lumbering gorilla-like creatures that you probably don't want to get to close to, and the vicious Stalkers. Hyperion's mechanical army will also be trying to kill you, and Hyperion's name should sound familiar to fans of the first game, since they were one of the better weapons manufacturers, second only to Atlus.
What's a Borderlands game without intense four-player co-op? Not a Borderlands game, that's what. Of course, the multiplayer is one of the primary focuses of the game. That means you'll be able to drop in and out of other games without restarting them, split-screen is available to those who like playing their games with people in the same room as them, and LAN is there for anyone who still has the occasional LAN party.
Borderlands 2 promises a bigger, badder Borderlands, and, for most of us, that's all we need. If you're still on the fence, I'd like to throw out a few highlights for you: 87 bazillion guns, more Claptrap, five classes, and four-player co-op. If that doesn't sell you on just how fun and addictive this game is going to be, I don't know what will. Perhaps you'd like a little more "wub wub"? Because it totally has that too.
Date: May 22, 2012