Shoot ‘em and loot ‘em…
The original Borderlands may have been an unlikely combination when first penned; taking an arguably over-saturated FPS market and trying to jam in the loot-heavy stylings of compulsive RPGs – but there’s few out there that would deny it worked well. At this kind of base level there’s little different about Borderlands 2, but from even a quick play it’s clear that Gearbox are looking to tinker and tweak with all they can whilst delivering a massive, fresh world to explore and plunder all over again.
We played a section of the game set in a neatly cordened off plaza in co-op mode, where the mission was to get a robot operational that would routinely zip about the area and take down self-promoting statues of the game’s lead bad guy, Handsome Jack. Less than pleased about this, Jack was trying to take down our handy de-construction bot, and routinely leaving us messages that provided a chuckle or two whilst we carried about it. With Roland (and the other 3 bounty hunters from the first game) missing from the line-up, we took up the opportunity to try out his near-equivalent Axton in his debut public appearance – filling the role nicely by setting up turrets whenever possible (and when we remembered to… oops!).
As before you’ve four weapon slots to fill, and we began with a familiar setup of shotgun, pistol, sniper rifle, and assault rifle. A lot of the promotional material for the game has focused on the different weapon manufacturers and how they give you different characteristics, and whilst we didn’t get to explore this too heavily we certainly did feel a bigger scope in terms of what could make a weapon powerful – as before there’s stats to pore over nearly everywhere you look, and along with this new variable and an upped output from the system generated unique weapons, there’s a huge number of variations on a common theme of things that go ‘bang’. Whilst there’s no idea yet as to the size of the game in its entirity, it’s already looking like those after top-end gear will be spending a lot of time grinding away for those extra couple of damage points.
Visually there was little to tell the game from apart from its prequel aside from some slick new UIs that overlay the game’s action in a much better integrated fashion. If anything the frame-rate was improved on the original; especially impressive given the pre-release nature of the game, and provided there’s enough creativity and variation in the areas there’s really very little to worry about on a looks front. All in all it’s shaping up wonderfully; it’s being given the due care and attention it deserves, and provided these short sections are an accurate reflection of the full game, anyone that’s got space in their heart for a little more loot-hunting should be passified to know that their trigger fingers will soon have many new homes to break in.