Borderlands 2: 10 reasons you'll be booking a ticket back to Pandora
29th Apr 2012 | 16:00
Borderlands 2 is right up there with the biggest games of the year. The first outing was brilliant: a dark horse, co-op spectacular, filled with loot and obscene amounts of weaponry. But the sequel's going to be even better...
1. ARMY OF FOUR
In Borderlands 2, much like its predecessor, co-op is king. While waiting for our fellow player to finish picking his loadout we venture out into the Wildlife Exploitation Reserve on our tod. Though it's a less lonesome experience in single-player (see number 6) our buddy's eventual bombastic arrival midway through a Stalker attack gave us cause to fist pump the air in delight.
2. CHARACTER CLASS
Of the four main characters to choose from, we're given the choice of Maya or Salvador. Maya is similar to Lilith from the first game though packs an enemy freezing kinetic special attack known as Phaselock. Salvador, meanwhile, is a Gunzerker - a gruff duel-weapon wielding manic. The other two characters, Zero and Axton, make up the numbers with blade waving and turret placing skills respectively.
Loot is back! Seeing a gleaming item fall from a downed foe made us warm and fuzzy inside. A great new feature means that you'll no longer have to stop mid-battle to look down to pick up dropped ammo. Now clips and so on will magically soar towards you.
4. CHECK OUT MY GUNS
It's not just the fact that there are so many different combinations of guns in Borderlands 2, it's that each and every one of them has a unique feel and look. As the dust settles after each battle we find ourselves stopping to check out each other's load-outs. The manufacturers whose names and styles emblazon the weapons are visually recognisable, whether through a sci-fi-esque stock or a spinning mini-gun barrel. We quickly came to love our high damage Jakobs Double-Barrelled Coach Gun, partly for its hefty punch but also for its oldie worldie western styling. Other makers include Valdof, purveyors of speedy fire rate bullet spewers and Torgue, for those explosive moments when subtlety occupies the lowest bullet point on your list of priorities.
5. CANNON FODDER
We stand atop a bridge looking down upon a group of Skags, returning beasties which attack rapidly and can spit volatile liquid/flames/acids from their gobs. Earlier we faced off with mecha robots and hapless engineers rushing to repair them. Moments before that we battled Stalkers, which can temporarily turn invisible. So many enemies... Just as well there are so many guns, eh?
6. I KNOW YOU!
One of the few criticisms of the original Borderlands was that the single-player campaign was a lonely old trek at times. The Arid Badlands only really came to life with buddies in tow. While the focus here remains stiffly in co-op, the single-player experience has been suitably tweaked. Missions have a much freer flow to them, with objectives changing as you meet Pandora's various inhabitants (including the first game's protagonists).
7. DRIVE BY
One of the confirmed vehicles in the game will allow four players to jump aboard at once. One driving, one blasting away from the attached turret and two loaded into the back. Sitting in the back doesn't mean you'll have time to admire the smooth, cel-shaded scenery however, as you'll be free to use your own equipped weaponry.
8. TRADE AGREEMENT
After locking eyes over a particularly sexy looking corrosive rocket launcher our budding co-operative relationship with our fellow player was in danger of imploding. Thankfully Borderlands 2's duel and trade system.
9. PICK 'N' MIX
Each character you might choose to play as comes with three skill trees. Players who pick Maya will have to choose between Motion, Harmony, or Cataclysm skill sets, with focus placed on movement, healing and elemental attacks. Gunzerkers, need to consider Rampage, Brawn or Gun Lust skill sets.
10. THINK ABOUT IT
Smarter AI has been pumped into the lobes of the game's enemies but that won't necessarily mean that the game will be harder. Gearbox's Steve Gibson tells us that, "If you have someone who approaches combat more tactically he can progress quicker through that particular area... particularly the guys who come from the role-playing angle." We found it thus, as we had to constantly communicate and rethink our stratagems when facing each group of foes.