Borderlands 2 preview
13th Jul 2012 | 13:30
Borderlands 2 may be the only shooter you need to buy all year
Borderlands 2 is, in a word, epic. Like its predecessor it takes a simple First Person Shooter (FPS) core and bolts it to structure of Role Playing Game (RPG), offering tons of content and awe-inspiring depth.
Borderlands 2: Characters
Of course, it helps immensely that Gearbox, the developers behind Borderlands 2, are building on rock-solid foundations. The brief here seems to have been to take everything that worked in the first game and flesh it out completely.
To begin with there are four character classes that players can choose from, which roughly correspond with the options they had in the first game – soldier, siren, sniper and… er, tank. However, in Borderlands 2 these characters have been beefed up significantly.
Instead of Brick, the tank, there’s Salvador, the Gunzerker. This is a small mound of muscle and attitude that, at low levels, is capable of wielding two guns. At higher levels, though he can juggle chainguns and rocket launchers and by switching between weapons he automatically reloads. He’s capable of causing more damage than the banking crisis.
The new siren can lift enemies into the air with a forcefield and heal mates, the commando can deploy turrets than become nastier and nastier over time and the new assassin, Zer0 deploys decoys and then moves in close with his katana. Each character has a talent tree that players can use to level them up, making them more deadly and hard to kill over time.
Borderlands 2: Plot
The game’s story kicks off shortly after the events of the first Borderlands. The original characters are now leading a rebellion of Vault Hunters against The Hyperion Corporation and its sadistic representative on Pandora, Handsome Jack.
The rebels seem to think that Jack’s after an item that will win him the war, which just happens to be hidden in a vault on Pandora. They’re determined to get hold of it first.
To that end, the player is recruited by the Vault Hunter rebellion who set them off on a lengthy list of quests that’ll take them through several large tracts of Pandora. In the build we played, all the action took place in snow-capped quarry filled with shantytowns and mining equipment. The area was also populated by giant insects and violent, gun-toting psychopaths wearing rags.
Borderlands 2: Features
Each enemy we encountered, however, was a potential treasure trove of delights. Much like in the first Borderlands, every opponent the player kills will drop at least one item, and these range from med-hypos to ammo to cash to weapon mods to new and interesting firearms.
This loot-drop aspect is what kept most players glues to the first Borderlands for hours on end, so it makes sense that Gearbox has kept it here.
It's also tweaked it somewhat; players no longer need to target money and ammunition in order to pick it up. They will, however, have to be a bit selective about the guns they collect as these have a bearing on how they play the game.
Fancy close-quarters combat? We’d suggest a shotgun filled with electric rounds or a damaging SMG that’s only accurate for about five feet. If you’re more a long-range type of player, how about a two-shot pistol with a telescopic scope on it or a sniper rifle that dumps three round bursts into enemies?
Then, of course, there are an assortment of pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers you can look into. There are even a couple of guns that you can use as grenades when you’ve emptied them.
Borderlands 2: Verdict
We were allowed a brief 5 hours at the controls of Borderlands 2 and we barely scratched its surface. This is a game that promises unparalleled depth and tons of excitement.
While many shooters shrug off their single-player mode by claiming their multiplayer mode is ‘da bomb’ Borderlands 2 offers co-op and single player action that are both as deep and as delightfully barmy as each other. This game is probably the most sound investment shooter fans could make all year.
Borderlands 2 availability: 21 September 2012
Borderlands 2 price: TBC