One of the most anticipated games of 2012 is 2K’s loot-crazy first person shooter Borderlands 2. While at the show, I had the opportunity to do some hands-on with a cooperative preview of the game. Needless to say, getting hands on the game was pretty fantastic.
2K gave us around 30 minutes to play the game, allowing us to play any of the four initial classes available in the game. The game does a great job of feeling familiar to Borderlands veterans. The layout of the weapons and menus have been refined, giving a newer, sleeker look to the interface. I tried out Axton, the soldier with a powerful deployable turret, “Scorpio Turret 2.0,” similar to the original Scorpio Turret that Roland wielded in the last game. The demo level starts off giving you a rather weak pistol, but also 15 skill points to distribute to the character. Flipping through the new skill tree, it was easy to see that many skills had been completely revamped. There are approximately 40% more skills for each character, allowing for a host of sub-classes to be created within each character. Even though Axton looks similar to Roland, you can see from his skill tree that they have the potential to play as completely different characters. Axton lacks the health regeneration skills of Roland, making the play-style you need for him a little different. Way too eager to get rolling, I tossed points into skills to increase assault rifle damage and turret health, then dropped into the middle of the firefight.
The quest made me responsible for knocking down giant statues of Handsome Jack, the game’s main antagonist. I took my pistol over to the giant, green monstrosity and started taking potshots, but to no avail. The guy at the station a few feet away from me was also in the same game, but he wasn’t able to do any damage either. Right around then the s*** hit the fan: bring in the robots. The new mechanical terrors started to swarm in from all sides, proving to be a pretty big challenge for me and my piss-poor pistol. A claptrap eventually directed me to the location of a giant robot I could use to assist me, as well as to a cache of ridiculously powerful weaponry. The guns in this game are even more over-the-top than before; I found a ridiculously powerful acid rocket launcher, a shotgun which did 6X200 damage with explosive rounds, and a sniper rifle which unloaded 6 shots in rapid succession, amongst other things. Taking these beasts into battle only enhanced the fun.
The game stays true to the original Borderlands experience, but tweaks certain aspects to tighten the gameplay. For one, reviving a teammate takes almost twice as long as it did before, but if you are the downed team member, you’ll be able to crawl on the ground and move closer to your party. The menu interface has been cleaned up and feels much more streamlined than before. The new mechanical enemies look great and have fantastic attacks, requiring you to use tons of skill and teamwork to really be successful. Carrying even more action and excitement than the last one, Borderlands 2 is sure to be a smash-hit when it drops in September.