|System: PS3, PC, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Gearbox Inc.|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: TBA 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Borderlands came out back in 2009, delivering completely over-the-top cel-shaded shooter action combined with several RPG and dungeon crawler elements. It may not have been a completely flawless experience, but it was an absolute blast to play nonetheless, especially when teamed up with friends.
Borderlands 2 was unveiled just a month ago, and it definitely looks like developer Gearbox is prepared to answer some of Borderlands' major criticisms while keeping intact all the elements that made the first game so great.
One of the biggest downsides of the original game was that its environment remained pretty similar through the entire game. There was desert, and there was rusted metal. But Borderlands 2 is taking us to some brand new locations on Pandora, and believe it or not, the planet is not just one big junkyard of a desert. Even though different areas will have very different aesthetics, Gearbox promises the new locations will still have that trademark Borderlands feel.
Along with the new environments comes a broader assortment of creatures. Borderlands 2 seems to be embracing some fantasy elements, bringing us several creatures that are a bit dragonish in appearance. A more sci-fi enemy type is a robot called a Loader, and we've been told there are several various categories of Loader, each with its own skill set. Of course, the skags will be back, as will the classic psychos and midgets.
While new creatures might lend a bit of visual variety to the game, without decent A.I. they could fail to impress from a gameplay standpoint. Thankfully, this is something Gearbox is hard at work on. In Borderlands 2, not every enemy will rush you like it has some sort of kamikaze death wish; now you'll encounter baddies who actually utilize a bit of strategy.
Even though the first game was entertaining from start to finish, many fans complained that there was absolutely no story to speak of. While I tend to disagree (it's a fairly straightforward plot, but it's a plot nonetheless), Gearbox has heard these pleas. Borderlands 2 will have a much deeper storyline, and one that permeates the landscapes you'll explore. It sounds like many of the little nooks and crannies you find on your journey will be seeped in Borderlands lore, whether this takes the form of a strange bit of graffiti, ancient runic symbol, or an out-of-the-way character with a story to tell.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Borderlands game without guns. Even though the first game had a millions of possible weapons, Borderlands 2 dares to push this even further. In the original Borderlands, there were several different weapons manufacturers that each made different types of guns. For example, you may have picked up a gun that said Maliwan on it, and that gun would have a slightly quicker reload speed (as well as some other properties). However, the differences were hardly noticeable to anyone besides the serious number crunchers. In Borderlands 2, Gearbox promises the differences between manufacturers will be much more noticeable.
And we can't forget to mention the new Tediore guns, which will be disposable and explosive. You can fire a Tediore gun like normal, or you can throw it and watch it explode. The amount of damage this explosion does is based off how much ammo is left in the clip, so you might want to try tossing your gun when the clip is full. After the explosion, the gun materializes back in your hand with a fresh clip. Now, if this sounds a little ridiculous even for Borderlands, you have to be reminded that this sort of tech is already a part of the game world. Remember those digistruct stations that could materialize vehicles out of thin air? This is the same tech, only on a smaller scale. While this sort of weapon is way too over-the-top for just about any other game out there, it's actually a perfect fit for the Borderlands world.
The characters from the first game will be back, but only as NPCs. Their corresponding classes have been scrapped in favor of four brand new ones. Only the first of these classes has been revealed so far: the Gunzerker. The Gunzerker looks to be a heavier class build, and one that can dual-wield weapons. And this isn't just pistols here; the Gunzerker can dual-wield any two weapons in the game. You like your rocket launcher with a side of sniper rifle? Go for it. How about two shotguns at the same time? Yup. Or even better, how about two sniper rifles, each with a different damage type? It sounds like the real fun of the Gunzerker class will be just letting your imagination run wild and coming up with the most insane weapon combos you can think of.
With Borderlands 2 still so far off (all we've been given for a release date is the year 2012), what we know at this point barely scratches the surface of what will be included in the final product. Stay tuned to Cheat Code Central into the following year as we slowly peel back the shroud covering this very exciting project.
CCC Editor / Contributing Writer