Home Editorial Borderlands 2 impressions from E3 2012

Borderlands was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed, but felt was very deeply flawed, especially for those who had to play alone. Of course when you have swag like I do, everybody wants to be in my game, but I still felt I should see what improvements Gearbox has made for Borderlands 2. So I turned off my swag, sent off my entourage, left my sword at bag check, and headed over to 2K’s booth for a demo of Borderlands 2.

For the demo, I was lead into a dark, menacing room filled with only the Xbox 360 version of the game. This was more than a bit disheartening. During a sword fight with Shigeru Miyamoto over the lack of anything Pikmin related last year, I unfortunately lost my right thumb. As such playing with a controller is rather difficult, and I can’t aim properly. This is the only reason that I would not be good at this game, and have nothing to do with my skill level when playing with a controller. None whatsoever.

The demo was a single mission in which a claptrap is directing you to destroy propaganda statues of Handsome Jack (the main villain, revealed in their latest trailer). This requires a lot of time following a giant evil laser robot around while defending it from Handome Jack’s troops and robots. I decided to play as Zero for the demo, because when you can’t aim properly a sniper rifle is always the weapon of choice.

If you remember how the dialog changed from Portal to Portal 2, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect here. The characters definitely managed to make me laugh several times, and it didn’t feel like a departure from the previous games per se, but there was definitely a different feeling to it. You could definitely tell the writers were trying or even forcing the humor at certain points.

The gameplay was definitely much more varied this time around. In the first game, all enemies fell into the category of guy with gun, big guy with big gun, skag, or a buffed up version of one of those. This time around I counted at least 16 varieties of enemies in this installment alone. Many of them had interesting abilities such as a mortar style missile launcher that can hit you in cover, the ability to spawn more enemies, the ability to heal/repair certain kinds of enemies, etc.

As such I died. Very violently, and very often. Again I would like to stress that this has absolutely nothing to do with me sucking at console games, but is only due to my incredibly badass defense against hundreds of ninjas. With jars of spiders they threw at me (fuck spiders). The mission itself also was much more interesting than the previous game, which was always nothing more than kill x enemies, pick up y objects, or talk to z person. And given the escortish style of this mission, it forced a very different style of combat than I would have had otherwise. Assuming this is something to change up the pacing, and not the norm, this is going to lead to a much more enjoyable game.

There were also a lot of quality of life changes. When you hold down the pick up button to grab ammo and money, it stays turned on for several seconds afterwards removing the issue of that one piece of ammo being just out of reach. The game also started auto picking up instahealth vials for me if I was at low health when running over them. There were also a lot of neat effects such as a holographic screen appearing in front of team mates when they’ve got the menus open.

It’s also worth mentioning that the level took place in what appeared to be — until recently — a major population center. It’s possible that civilization on Pandora might be a bit more… civilized this time around.

Eventually, the robot died, and I failed the mission. They did, however, have a ploy going to get people to their booth. If you beat the mission, some cool loot drops and you will get a code for the full game to keep it, and a badge insert indicating that this has happened. I lost. And they gave it to me anyway. I WON’T BE A PAWN FOR YOUR LIES GEARBOX! I DID NOT GET ANY LOOT! I WASN’T COOL ENOUGH TO BEAT YOUR DEMO! I WILL NOT BE SIL—

Disregard any dissent. Borderlands 2 is the best game ever made. All hail the Claptrap overlords.

You American meatbags will go to the nearest pleasure repository on September 18 to purchase this amazing product. The rest of you will do it on September 21st. You will now enjoy these incredible pictures of what is clearly the pinnacle of modern gaming.

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