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Borderlands 2  



Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2


7:00 AM on 04.04.2012
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo



Gearbox Software took gamers by surprise in 2009 when they launched the role-playing shooter Borderlands. Released among the shuffle of the year's Q4 titles, like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, it was uncertain whether or not this new property would find an audience. As it turns out, it surpassed expectations, and fans have been clamoring for a sequel ever since.

The team at Gearbox is finally answering the call this year with the release of Borderlands 2, a direct sequel to the original loot-and-shoot game with more character classes, more weapons, and an all-new adventure on the planet Pandora.

Recapturing the magic and excitement gamers had in 2009 is a tough job, but it doesn't look like Gearbox is falling short of achieving it.

Borderlands 2 (PC [preview], Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release: September 18, 2012 

Taking place five years after the original, Borderlands 2 pits you and up to three others in a more engrossing tale this time around. Handsome Jack, the game's main villain, is in fact a bad dude: one who's on a quest for power, and who was placed into the campaign to not only provide an opponent, but to give those who decide to go it alone an antagonist they love to hate. 

There's an overall tighter experience with the plot, which leads you along a more intricate mission structure. But that doesn't mean the entire game is structured this way; there will still be a ton of side-quests and extra incentives to stray from the main arc.

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While there is a bigger emphasis on story in Borderlands 2, don't expect it all to unfold in a barrage of cutscenes; you'll still be fed information on the fly more often than not, but it will be more fleshed out than usual. Some of the missions also offer varying paths and endings. Senior level designer Zack Ford said there will be times where ending a quest at one point as opposed to another will offer a different result. 

It's hard to neglect how gorgeous Borderlands 2 is. The first one was aesthetically pleasing, sure, but the art direction was chosen late in the game's development. Given that, Borderlands 2 shows that Gearbox took the last few years to really flesh out the cel-shading style and take it to a new level, surpassing the original by far. There's a much more varied color palette throughout the world, whereas Borderlands strictly stuck with a bleak, post-apocalyptic feel, and that even shows in the game's vast new arsenal. Everything just pops more now, and in my eyes is the epitome of the term "eye candy." I should note that 2K Games had set us up with Xbox 360 controllers on an early build of the PC version running at 1080p, which made everything look particularly pretty.

And, yes, there are a bazillion more guns.

"We gutted the gun system and rebuilt it," said design producer Randy Varnell, while emphasizing that all of the same goals were present. There are a slew of new weapons to collect here, and Gearbox worked hard to make sure each is highlighted in its own way, assuring that one Dahl sniper rifle isn't the same as another. 

The bandits are also a weapons manufacturer now, with their guns being ragtag assemblies of mixed-and-matched parts from various manufacturers. Their results can be devastating, though, like the "Rockit Launching Mashine Gun," which is exactly how it sounds -- deadly.

There's a new item-trading system in Borderlands 2, a Pokémon-esque setup that allows each player to highlight the applicable items and confirm the trade. Traversing the backpack menu and cycling through weapons to drop is now a thing of the past. Trading ammo, however, isn't present, which is kind of a bummer.

Drop-in/drop-out cooperative play also returns in Borderlands 2, which can be done throughout the entire campaign, regardless of level differences. Again, this can be with up to three other people, and vehicles now compensate for this, allowing all four to hop in at once.

My time with the demo was spent playing the new "Gunzerker" class, which can be played as either a defensive "tank" player or a balls-to-the-wall gunner. How you ultimately end up playing depends on which skill tree you drop your points into, and new points are acquired with each level gained. One branch of the Gunzerker tree is dedicated to being a tank, while lending points to another makes him more offensive. One of the tank skills is called "Come at me, bro," which, in typical co-op fashion, has the enemies focus on you as your teammates pick them off. In Gunzerker fashion, though, this is done by first flipping the enemies off to draw their ire.

Although the original game had a huge world, a lot of the foes you encountered were similar to each other. I'm happy to report that I saw at most five skags during my time with the demo. Most of the enemies I killed -- or got killed by -- were robots. Lots and lots of robots. They make their debut in the series in a big way, coming in many shapes and forms. One such robot features propeller-like hands, and shooting at him while his hands spin reflects any bullets fired back toward you. These arms don't protect his back, though, if you get my drift.

Gearbox Software may not take us by surprise with Borderlands 2, but they are on track to offer another great cooperative experience, one filled with an insane amount of weapons, a new part of Pandora to explore, and plenty of "wub-wub." Tailoring the game to work just as well for single-player adventurers as it would for a squad of four assures more accessibility, which is a good thing, because any fan of shooters will not want to miss this.

Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo
Preview: Shooting a bazillion more guns in Borderlands 2 photo




Celebrate Borderlands: The Handsome Collection by stocking up on Golden Keys photo


Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch is leaving Gearbox photo


Gearbox 'ready to start' Borderlands 3, begins hiring process photo


These are the most popular Borderlands characters photo


Don't want to grind for those new Borderlands 2 skins? Just be patient instead photo


Free Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skins coming to Borderlands 2 on Tuesday photo


Borderlands 2 Vita hitting EU a bit later, arriving at the end of May photo


Borderlands 2 Vita to PS3 cross-save functionality coming photo


Borderlands 2 on Vita has co-op capped at two players photo


Borderlands 2 PS Vita bundle available May 6 photo


Borderlands 2 Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







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Borderlands 2



5:30 PM on 03.24.2015
Celebrate Borderlands: The Handsome Collection by stocking up on Golden Keys

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today. One of the major selling points for those who have already played Borderlands 2 and/or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on last generation hardware is the ability to import save d...more



9:30 AM on 01.30.2015
Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch is leaving Gearbox

Almost five years ago, Anthony Burch went from being a Destructoid staff member to a Destructoid alumnus, moving on to work as a writer at Gearbox Software. On his personal Twitter account this morning, he announced that he w...more



7:10 PM on 01.25.2015
Gearbox 'ready to start' Borderlands 3, begins hiring process

During the official Borderlands panel at PAX South, Gearbox chief Randy Pitchford confirmed the company was "ready to start" production on a new game in the franchise, later taking to Twitter with an open call to developers l...more



3:45 PM on 01.08.2015
These are the most popular Borderlands characters

Per the official Borderlands Twitter account, Krieg, Claptrap, and Tiny Tina are the series' most popular characters amongst Borderlands fans. There's no clear indication which character received the most votes, but I wager C...more



6:30 PM on 07.16.2014
Don't want to grind for those new Borderlands 2 skins? Just be patient instead

Yesterday, a set of new skins and heads for Borderlands 2 released, featuring the Vault Hunters dressed as characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. As it was announced, the customization options would be made available as...more



1:45 PM on 07.14.2014
Free Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel skins coming to Borderlands 2 on Tuesday

Over the weekend at GaymerX, Gearbox announced that it would be releasing free Borderlands 2 customization options tomorrow. The idea behind them came from the prolific Borderlands cosplay community, so the Borderlands 2 char...more



8:00 AM on 05.09.2014
Borderlands 2 Vita hitting EU a bit later, arriving at the end of May

For those of you who just picked up your shiny new Vita Slim in North America, you probably found a redemption code for Borderlands 2. Europeans have been enjoying it for about a month or so already, but without the...more



11:30 AM on 05.08.2014
Borderlands 2 Vita to PS3 cross-save functionality coming

For those of you that are lamenting the lack of cross-save functionality in the Vita version of Borderlands 2, fret no more, as an official Gearbox support representative has confirmed the mechanic on its forums. Answer a que...more



6:15 PM on 05.02.2014
Borderlands 2 on Vita has co-op capped at two players

Ever since the announcement of Borderlands 2 on PlayStation Vita, we have been hopeful about Gearbox's first-person shooter lootfest on Sony's handheld. After the first footage of it in action came out, it seemed clear that t...more



4:15 PM on 04.08.2014
Borderlands 2 PS Vita bundle available May 6

Sony has announced a release date for the Borderlands 2 PlayStation Vita bundle today via PlayStation Blog. The bundle, which marks the first release of the handheld's slimmer hardware redesign in North America, will be avai...more




Borderlands

5:30 PM on 03.24.2015
Celebrate Borderlands: The Handsome Collection by stocking up on Golden Keys

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today. One of the major selling points for those who have already played Borderlands 2 and/or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on last generation hardware is the ability to import save d...more



4:00 PM on 03.19.2015
Lots of games are morally bankrupt, we get it

With Hotline Miami 2 recently released, I realized I am really, really tired of games that belong in its genre. When I say "genre," I refer not to "action games" or "indie games" or even "violent games," but a subtler, more h...more



8:00 AM on 03.18.2015
Gearbox details process for importing saves into the Borderlands Handsome Collection

When you pick up Borderlands: The Handsome Collection later this month, you'll have the opportunity to transfer your old save file for both included titles. It's actually pretty easy this time around, as all you'll need ...more



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