Saturday, July 14, 2012

Borderlands 2 Impressions

Everyone loves Borderlands right? Well, surprisingly not. The first Borderlands did really well, especially on PC due to the co-op based sales that sold four packs of the game for the price of two copies, but people still have legitimate gripes about the game due to its lackluster singleplayer mode. However, for anyone who enjoys shooters with rpg mechanics, like random loot and leveling, and likes to play games with a few friends then Borderlands is fantastic. Borderlands 2 is still focusing on delivering a stellar cooperative experience, but they are also trying to improve the story sections of the game in order to appease people who found that portion of the first game to be lackluster.

Adam and I played Borderlands 2 twice at the E3 and the first experience left us with a sour taste in our mouths. We first played it in the Microsoft section of the showfloor on one of the booths, on Xbox 360. The demo there was a open area and it just kind of threw you in without any story or customize options. We spent the majority of the demo there wandering around looking for ammo since the players before us left us both with empty guns. This demo also made the game out to be very ugly, graphically. The textures were bad, the terrain was clipping and the once pleasant graphical style looked very dated. However, the next day we got into a semi-private demo of Borderlands 2 that let us both play through a single story in the game.

 The version of Borderlands 2 that we played in this room with twelve or so other attendees was a much different version than the show floor one. The graphics, at least in this area, were much more impressive, especially as we were presented with an industrial area with looming towers overhead. We were also able to pick from any character and customize their skills up to a pre-set level. This story level had us activated a large mechanical robot in order to destroy a bunch of statues of some big timey jerk wad, Handsome Jack, who owns the whole area. We had to defend the robot as it went from statue to statue and it was not easy. Adam and I were dying left and right, but thankfully we kept helping each other up and we kept the robot alive. At the end of the level a massive robot boss appeared and sent out all kinds of destruction upon our heads, nearly ending the both of us and making us fail the demo, but we struggled through it and loved every second of it. 

Despite how enjoyable our second demo of Borderlands 2 was there were a few issues I noticed, like the lack of weapon variety between characters. I was playing at Zero the Assassin and Adam was playing as Salvador the Gunzerker, but we each had rocket launchers and very similar weapons. Sure my character had a sword and a sniper rifle and Adam's didn't, but we both found it very tough to not use the powerful rocket launcher for every single encounter, especially when it came to one of the very challenging fights like the boss. Even sniping people in the head didn't have the same impact as hitting them square on with a rocket, despite the fact that I had put tons of points into sniping related abilities. It was also odd that every effort I made to do Assassin like activities, like stabbing people with my sword, was less effective than using the machine gun and rocket launcher, two weapons we both started with. This was most likely a problem just with the demo, especially since we both started with set weapons and very similar ones, but I was surprised to see my assassin pulling out these soldier-like guns and using them with ease. Before I go any further, take a look at this very recent Borderlands 2 trailer.

I never quite understood why people loved Claptrap so much until I watched that trailer, but anways back to impressions. At the end of E3 both Adam and I walked away from Borderlands 2 very pleased and looking forward to it's release. The co-op is still excellent and if they can keep all of the story segments as interesting as the one we had in the demo then the game is going could be consistently challenging and delightful. They have released two trailers recently, the one above and a gameplay one, but they are both great and I demand that you watch them and enjoy them. Borderlands 2 comes out September 18th in North America and September 21st Internationally. Thanks for reading all of my little words and have a fantastic weekend.
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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