To our delight, Borderlands 2 found its way to PAX East. Since we both loved Borderlands, we knew this was going to be good, and it most certainly was. For those expecting the mold to be completely shattered, then it is time to think again. There was an already strong foundation of work and the team here took that foundation and built upon it. Some may be disappointed that more wasn’t done to the formula, but we believe that this is going to make fans of the series quite happy, and we commend Gearbox for keeping to the stuff that made the game famous.
When we started the game we were placed in, what looked like, a storage hangar. We walked around for a while and saw lots of containers full of credits and ammo. We did open quite a few containers and didn’t find any new weapons. This seems like a stark contrast to Borderlands since there seemed to be new weapons under every rock, but this was an alpha build, so you can’t really pass judgement at this point. As we were walking around this storage facility, we noticed a number of things about the game itself.
The graphics still maintained the cell-shaded look that they always have, though I think there was a slight improvement. I could be mistaken, but they seemed to have more detail than the first game. Either way, the guns were definitely improved and look much better than they did in the first game. The developers mentioned that the guns were improved, and I can say that it is a noticeable change. I also noticed that the sound effects for the guns were much improved, as well. The guns sounded more realistic, and it helped to immerse us further into the game.
Though we didn’t see lots of new weapons thrown around the environment, we were told that there are going to be a ton of new weapons in the game. Not only are there new guns but there will be tons of new mods, grenades and all sorts of weaponry to take down the creatures of Pandora. For the demo, we were equipped with a nice machine gun that did some fire damage. We chose the Brute class, so that may be their starting weapon, but it certainly did the job. We soon found the exit and saw Pandora for the first time since the last quest. It looked just as good as it always did. There were a number of powered up bad guys waiting for us, so we hit the ground fighting. As we were locked in battle, my special ability was powering up and, within a few moments, I was able to pull out a grenade launcher of some kind, and that really did some damage.
After a lengthy battle, we gained enough points to start investing in the new skill tree. There were some familiar faces like the turret tree, but there were several new options ready for exploration. We didn’t have the time or points to see what they were about, but there were plenty to choose from. With all the new technology, weapons, and upgrades, these updates will surely keep gamers busy for a long time to come.
From this point, it was a similar experience for the remaining few minutes, kill, plunder, reload, explore and kill again. Some may not find that exciting, but that is where you’d be mistaken. Borderlands is about playing with your friends, and this game is going to make that an even more rewarding experience. There is 4 player co-op available in this game, and it is a drop-in drop-out experience. This way if one of your friends can’t continue playing, the game doesn’t have to stop. When you and your friends continue later, the friend that quit early will still be able to play with everyone else without having to backtrack too much. The strong point for Borderlands has always been the co-op aspects, and it seems this game will continue to carry the torch as the standard for co-op gameplay.
We really enjoyed what we saw here, and we are confident that Borderland fans will enjoy it too. We don’t think this is going to change anyone’s mind about liking Borderlands if they didn’t like it already, but for it’s fans, you couldn’t ask for a better sequel. This time around you’ll have more characters to choose from, tons more weapons, new grenades and mods, all while maintaining what made Borderlands such a huge hit. Look for Borderlands 2 to hit shelves on September 18th for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.