Borderlands 2 Preview
Here’s what you typically want from sequels, especially in the shooter genre: Bigger, better, flashier, and in this case, “96.5% more Wub Wub.” Admittedly, I wasn’t overly impressed with Borderlands, but based on everything I’ve seen and heard concerning the sequel, I have to say…Gearbox is doing just about everything right this time around. Or so it seems, at least. With a longer and more robust campaign, more challenging and more dynamic enemies, more character classes, a more sophisticated combat mechanic…it’s just more, more, more!
Perhaps one of the most attractive upgrades involves the overhauling of the enemy AI. The creatures are going to exhibit different attack patterns and you’ll have to constantly adapt and assimilate to emerge victorious. Plus, with the gigantic arsenal and inventory you may have at your disposal, you’ll be looking at one of the deepest and most fulfilling shooter experiences yet. To add even more fun, just bring in a friend or two and see if you can nail down a few all-important phaselocks. Only the Siren has this skill; it holds a foe in midair so you can happily and calmly annihilate it.
That’s just one example of the many class-specific abilities that will be on display in this highly anticipated sequel. You’ll earn those skills and upgrades by leveling up and gathering skill points; the recognizable skill trees will allow you to customize your character’s development. You can either focus on a few powerful abilities or you can be more of a jack-of-all-trades. Me, I like the idea of specializing so if I was a Siren, I’d take that phaselock skill and keep upgrading it until it also adds an explosion, refills my health, and even revives a friend. Of course, various missions and enemies will require some experimentation and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But maybe you’re not into the Siren idea. Maybe you want something that sits on the other side of the spectrum…perhaps the Gunzerker is more your speed. He takes a ton of damage and inflicts even more, so his skills will unsurprisingly focus on amping up his straight-up combat power. Wanna dual-wield? Did you know you could have a rocket launcher in one hand and a machine gun in the other? Is that just completely insane? And the more he dual-wields, the more he’ll be vulnerable, so keep his health high and boost his reload speed. Just a few obvious suggestions.
Oh, and there are more guns. The 87 bazillion guns from the original just got “bazilliondier.” If you’re familiar with the first game, you know why: There are essentially a limitless variety of weapons because even the same type of gun can have a different magazine size, firing rate, and reload speed. My only problem with this advertising is that I found the vast majority of those “87 bazillion” guns in the first title to be virtually useless. I get the philosophy behind it, but it just irked me. However, I will never be guilty of knocking weapon variety in a shooter. Not ever.
Gearbox is promising a much longer and deeper campaign as well, which is definitely the primary reason to be excited (at least as far as I’m concerned). I know the majority will want to have tons o’ multiplayer fun with this, and that’s understandable. And the way things are shaping up, Borderlands 2 will dominate your gaming schedule for a loooong time if you get sucked in. …you will, won’t you?
7/3/2012 Ben Dutka