Borderlands 2 Preview

Welcome to page two of our Borderlands 2 Preview

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While the new classes seem to diverge only slightly from their previous game counterparts (the Solider, the Sniper, the Berserker and yes, the Siren), they're different and interesting enough to be intriguing in their own right. I'm guessing three quarters of all players below the age of 16 will play as Zer0. He looks like he got lost on his way to a Metal Gear Solid cliché convention. But Zer0's ability to plant a decoy to distract enemies while he turns invisible, allowing him to get in close and make the most of his sweet sword, is pretty cool. Axton is very much a souped up version of the solider from the first game; he has an auto sentry like Roland, only this time it has plenty more tricks, such as teleporting.

Handsome Jack sure knows how to build a monument... to himself.

And I suppose I should explain what a Gunzerker is while I'm on the subject of character classes. A traditional Berserker class will soak up bullets like a garden sponge and rain melee blows like a hammer, but a 'Gunzerker' seems to do the opposite. The idea being that nothing is going to get close enough to the angry midget because of the vast amount of bullets that are emitting from the guns he wields. Put simply, he can duel wield any gun, including rocket launchers. Maya is a Siren like Lilith, except instead of phasewalking like Lilith did in the first game, Maya can Phase Lock people, freezing enemies and taking them out of the fight for a short while.

These new heroes start the game as gladiators playing to Handsome Jack's Caesar fetish, fighting others for a fabulous prize, as well as for Jack's amusement. Suddenly afraid that these fighters might become more popular than him, he denies them their prize and leaves them for dead in the frozen tundra. It is at this point that the guardian angel, who lead the first hunters to the vault, contacts the new four and tells them Handsome Jack must be eliminated. But those of you who played the first game will know that this 'angel' lies and manipulates, so where do this mysterious creatures true motives really lie?

The locations and enemy design is going to be much more varied.

One of the criticisms aimed at the first game was the lack of variety in its environments. While they were pretty, many of them seemed to have a common theme of brown of grey. Gearbox's concept designer Scott Kester gave an interview about the game recently where he talked about the game's setting and location. He said that the individual stages of the previous game are gone, and are now a single huge seamless area. He also said that the areas are much denser and have a lot more going on.

Borderlands was a unique beast. Not only did it give us an unusual style of gameplay in its 'role-playing shooting', it also had a really nice art style and a wicked, very self-deprecating sense of humour. It might seem very MMOish to many people out there, but the cast of characters as well as the huge focus on multiplayer gave almost everyone something to like about Borderlands. I foresee Borderlands 2 going in much the same direction and really sticking out amongst its competitors following its release this September.

Richard Wood

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2K Games
Gearbox Software
21st September 2012
PC PS3 360