If you’re a lover of Borderlands then you already know that Game Informer has a massive twelve-page
spread on Borderlands 2, filled with glorious details on the game, its guns, its
enemies, its characters, its world and so much more. But wait, Game Informer is an American magazine,
what about us UK folk? Don’t panic; if you can’t wait for Game Informer to post
everything up on their website, here’s the lowdown on Gearbox’s epic shoot ‘n’
Please remember that I only compiled the information and typed out this
preview. All credit goes to Game Informer
for getting a twelve page exclusive to the game.
Borderlands 2 takes place five
years after the events of the first game where our four heroic Vault Hunters
defeated the evil Atlas Corporation and shot the crap out of the alien badass.
But for all their effort, they were left with nothing and these past five years
have seen them split up and scattered across Pandora, simply trying to earn a
living. But a new character called Handsome Jack has emerged, and he’s claimed
the credit for our hero’s deeds and used the spoils to buy Hyperion, the massive
weapon manufacturer. With that he’s taken over Pandora and promised to rid the
planet of its seedy underbelly, which just so happens to include all the
civilians and the four Vault Hunters. He’s a regular, evil dictator. He also
happens to have a loving of blood sport and owns his own arena, and it’s there
that the player will pick up his or her controller and get cracking. You’ll be
forced to fight through the arena to earn the top prize; a pile of loot. But, in
true evil fashion, once you get there Handsome Jack denies you what’s yours and
leaves you for dead on an icy Tundra. It’s here that you’re contact by the
mysterious Guardian Angel from the first game and told it’s up to you to take
Jack down and save Pandora. To do this you’re going to have to track down the
original vault hunters and get some help.
Because of this, Gearbox is promising a richer back story for the original
vault hunters and more personality now that they’re not playable characters. In
the first game the only real personality they had was the way they dressed and
the one liners they delivered in combat, but in many respects this allowed many
players to form a connection with their avatar, because they could slot their
own personality into the shell of whoever you were playing as. But this time
it’s up to new characters to take over that role and let out original Vault
Hunters show their true colors.
Only one of the new playable characters has been revealed; Salvador, a
Gunzerker, is an inane Dwarf whose special skill lets him dual wield ANY
weapon for a short period of time. This includes rocket launchers and
mini-guns. This ties into the tweaked skill system which returns from the
original game. The triple branched system returns, but skills are now promised
to be more defined, instead of simply offering stat boosts. One such skills, for
Salvador, allows him to increase a guns fire rate the longer a trigger is held.
This is great for guns with a slow fire-rate, but it also ties in with his
dual-wielding ability, creating an absolutely devastating combination. Gearbox
are working hard to ensure that skills such as this will be cross compatible and
will offer a wider variety of class builds.
But taking down Handsome Jack won’t be easy, despite your dual-wielding
skills; that rich *** has certainly set himself up as the all-powerful ruler
of Pandora, even going so far as to create a huge base on Pandora’s moon which
features a massive Hyperion “H” that blots out your view of the moon itself.
It’s not just for show though; the games robotic enemies can be delivered from
this orbiting eye-sore directly to the battlefield along with supplies.
These enemies are also going to be providing much more of a challenge thanks
to some radically improved AI over the first game. Enemies are now more capable
of using the environment to their advantage, climbing up on to metal containers
and finding vantage points from which to give you seven kinds of hell. Of
course, if you’re feeling a bit brutal yourself you can now shoot out their legs
and leave them to crawl around the battlefield screaming for help. They’ll also
work together now, as proven by a new type of robotic droid that floats above
the battlefield deploying bullet reflecting shields and repairing enemy
But the best example of increased enemy intelligence and interaction comes
from those pesky Skags. Imagine a group of Skag Pups from the first game; not
much of a threat, right? Now imagine them with a Badass Adult Fire Skag. A
little more of a problem. But now, in Borderlands 2, that Badass Fire Skag can
let out of a stream of fire, engulfing the pups which will then be covered in
flame, granting them increase offensive and defensive abilities, as well as
resistance to fire damage. It’s a temporary buff, but the Badass Fire Skag has
been hanging around the battles outskirts, and once the flames down it calls the
pups back and re-ignites them.
This improved AI doesn’t just apply to enemies, though. All NPC’s will now
interact more with their environments, move around and generally behave more
like real people. Marcus, the shady gun dealer from the first game, will now
move around inside and outside of his shop, playing darts to pass the time or
commenting on your actions. Brand new mo-cap technology will also ensure that
the clunky and stiff animations from the first game are a thing of the past;
NPCs and enemies alike will now move like real people, with enemies reacting
more naturally to gun fire.
If improved AI and interactions weren’t enough, you can also expect a bigger
and wierder variety of enemies to be vying for your blood. One of the most
interesting examples was a new type of Bandit called a Nomad Torturer who
carries a shield that covers his entire front. Chained to the shield is a midget
who soaks up damage, but shoot the chains to free the midget and it’ll turn on
its torturer, thereby giving you a chance to flank him and gun him down. Another
new enemy is the Bullygong; a giant enemy which can climb around the environment
with easy, leal huge distances and throw any object it finds at your face.
You’ll encounter all these new and terrifying enemies during the games more
dynamic missions. Gearbox listened to the fans who complained about rigid and
repetitive missions from the first game, and they’ve responded by crafted a more
dynamic and varied system. The example given to Game Informer was during a
mission where the player had to fight through enemies to get to Roland who was
being held in a floating prison. Should the player take too long to get to
Roland, the cage will get away. You’ll then have to deal with the consequences
of your failure in later missions. Another example was during a mission where
the player has to transport a beacon; the beacons signal attracts a certain type
of creature, and should you happen to let one of these irritating buggers eat
the beacon you’ll have to track it down and kill it to get it back. There’s some
heavy improvements going on under the hood to make sure that Borderlands 2′s
missions are more robust and enjoyable for the player.
A brand new element is also being introduced alongside the games returning
fire, acid, shock and explosive elements. It’s called Eridium, but instead of
dealing damage it serves to augment the other elements powers. However, it also
serves as a super-currency of sorts on Pandora, and Gearbox has hinted that the
games most powerful weapons can only be bought with Eridium. The new element is
also the main ingredient in power-ups, a mid-battle item that can be activated
for an immediate and powerful buff. Enemies will also have access to this new
item, but a precise and keen-eyed player will be able to shoot them out of an
enemy’s hand before he/she/it has a chance to use it.
Vehicles will be making a return to Borderlands, but will also feature some
hefty improvements. These new wheeled wonders will be able to power slide around
the landscape and will feature more precise hit detection. Gearbox has also
emphasised that vehicles will have four seats so that none of your four-player
co-op party (yes, it’s returning) will get left behind in the looting madness.
Here’s hoping for some sweet vehicle levels.
Class Mods and Artifacts will also be making a return, and like the rest of
the game they’re going to have had a bit of a face-lift. Class Mods remain
relatively similar to their Borderlands counterparts, but will now offer a wider
variety of class tweaks, meaning plenty more customisation choices for the
player. Artifacts have gone from being simple things to an all encompassing
items that offer a massive variety of abilities. Gearbox have stated that
they’re being used to implement abilities and powers that wouldn’t fit into
other systems. There’s nothing set yet, but examples of possible abilities
included giving vehicles a health regeneration aura, or making it so firing a
bullet had a chance of not depleting any ammo. I’m keeping my fingers crossed
for one that gives you a cape and lets you fly.
But I’m saving best for last; the patented and hugely successful random
generation system from Borderlands that gave us million of weapon variants has
been thrown out the window, along with all the old weapons, and completely
redesigned. The basic premise of random generation is still there, but Gearbox
has responded to fans criticisms that, despite millions of stat variants, the
different manufacturers weapons all tended to look the same and feel the same.
Many players also failed to realise that different manufactures had different
stat characteristics; such as Jakobs offering the most power and Hyperion
offering the best accuracy and weapon stability. Now, each company will feel and
look radically different. Each manufacturer will have a distinctive visual
style, allowing for immediate identification of a weapons make and its
characteristics. For example, Vladof assault rifles, SMGs and rocket launchers,,
because the company has the highest rate of fire, will feature spinning barrels.
A Vladof assault rife will also feature a AK-47 styled build, in comparison to
something like a Dahl which will have a military style look.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the fact that these
manufacturer characteristics can also play an even bigger part on the
battlefield through some rather odd ideas. Tediore guns, instead of being
reloaded like a normal weapon, are like the disposable razors of the Borderlands
world; when you need to reload you simply throw the weapon away where it will
then explode (the more ammo left in the gun, the bigger the explosion). A small,
hand-held digi-struct (used in the first game to spawn vehicles) will then
create a brand new copy of the gun in your hands, fully loaded and ready to
fire. It’s an utterly bonkers idea, but one that shows both Gearbox’s
inventiveness and humour are still intact.
A new material system will also be implemented into Borderlands 2, not only
to make guns look even better, but also to allow players to identify their
quality at a glance. The new system will allow for reflective patterns, improved
textures and transparency on guns. The example used by Gearbox was a wooden
Jakobs rife, which was scuffed and had a worn look, compared to a shiny,
A brand new manfacturer is also going to be joining the ranks. The new
“Bandit” brand of guns are unique to the Bandit enemies in the game, and will
feature the larget magazines of any company.
Finally, there’s going to be wider variety of unique weapons in the game, and
these can also come with some rather interesting features like custom decals and
accessories. Again, Gearbox gave a rather interesting example; lets say you kill
Nine-Toes from the first game and pick up his gun. Now, that gun might have his
missing digit strapped to it as a keepsake.
And to top it all off, everyones favorite robot will be returning. Despite the
vault hunters thrashing his butt during his Robolution, his view on things is a
little different; he doesn't blame the vault hunters for what happened. No, he
blames those evil b**tards at Hyperion. Therefore, you're not the only one that's
going to fighting Hyperion; Claptrap will fighting them as well, and you're
going to meet him quite a few times on your journey.
So there we have it; you’re guide to everything you need to know about
Borderlands 2, until Gearbox release even more details on their mammoth
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little preview, but remember that all credit goes
to Game Informer. Check out their website at: http://www.gameinformer.com/ where
they’re promising plenty more news on Borderlands 2, as well as interviews and