Borderlands 2 – Preview
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Monday 23 July 2012
In a way, the original Borderlands was shackled by its aesthetic. For all of the wacky violence and seemingly infinite combinations of guns, the dull, dusty browns of post apocalyptic Pandora quickly lost their appeal, and the identikit goons you chopped down blurred into a homogenous singular. That’s something that the inevitable sequel seeks to put right, and from the demo level we saw at Rezzed, it succeeds with aplomb.
Playing a mission from late on in the story, with characters levelled up to 25, we’re thrown into a glittering city square, all lush green trees and shiny walkways. The cel-shaded style from the first game remains, but it’s clear that the engine is pushing the boat out further, and that the designers have been given much wider scope to explore the different possibilities Pandora has to offer.
The mission starts off with acts of petty vandalism, but soon escalates into a pitched battle between the four stars of the game, and the security forces that patrol the raised platforms and plazas that make up the intriguingly organic structure. There are choke points and sniping vantage points, all worked into a level that never feels like it’s been built solely to cater for a gunfight, but manages to fill the role perfectly.
All four characters are player controlled, and the HUD keeps you well informed of their position. The four different disciplines are the same as in the last game, with a few new twists, and they compliment each other well, with their roles in the ensuing chaos defined by the talents and abilities they posses.
That chaos is even meatier than it was in Borderlands. Guns recoil with a delicious snap, and the game sticks to RPG traditions by showering numbers out of enemies as you pepper them with bullets. It’s glorious to behold, as powers are thrown, turrets are built, and an angry hairy midget stomps around with a rocket launcher and machine gun blasting holes in the armoury of a variety of drones, walkers, and cutthroat troopers.
Working as a team is essential, and whilst the “last stand” mechanic from the previous game, which sees you resurrected if you manage to kill another enemy before a time bar runs out, is still present, a helping hand from a comrade is always welcome.
As the fire fight plays out, the suns of Pandora set and night breaks, bringing a palpable shift in atmosphere. It’s clear that Gearbox have attempted to right the wrongs of their first, fantastic but flawed attempt at mashing together the shooter and the RPG. The world feels more solid, the story fed out in snatches of dialogue between the characters rather than the reams of text that filled the first.
Worth the wait? The shooting at the core of the experience is certainly a more refined beast, the loot less incessant and the weaponry just as excessive. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether Gearbox can create a world varied enough to justify the thirty plus hour narrative that the game boasts. On this evidence, they’re certainly on the right tracks.
For: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
When? 21 September 2012
Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments
Life & Style blogs
Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
Porn film production 'must stop in Los Angeles' after actor tests positive for HIV
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Senior ...