My memories of Borderlands are lackluster, muddled by a haze of repetition- live skags, dead skags, big skags and bigger skags. Perhaps I’d been distracted at the time, but the original game never truly captured my attention. Borderlands 2 looks like it might just track me down, wait for me on my doorstep, and punch me out in retaliation for not persevering. What I saw in that guided demo at PAX Prime not only intrigued me, it had me earnestly excited for a sequel to a game that I thought I loathed.
I left my demo feeling a bit sheepish, uncertain whether or not I had the right to express my enthusiasm for Borderlands 2 after I’d just spent months ragging on it. The demo was narrated by Steve Gibson of Gearbox, whose contagious enthusiasm was greatly appreciated. We jumped about a third of the way into the game to rescue Roland, where we were introduced to the new blue-haired, playable siren, Maya. While we saw very little of her, we did, in fact, see plenty of new enemies, weapons, and what Gibson claimed was a “full, true sequel.” Five years have passed since the end of Borderlands and Handsome Jack has taken over the moon. That’s just not going to fly.
The core systems were either re-touched, or replaced, giving Borderlands 2 a whole new feel. The AI is smarter, learning about its environment. If you frustrate a bullymong, it’ll hurl a car at you. Shoot something and it’s going to do everything it can to take cover. With improved AI comes an even larger selection of weapons. Manufacturers have more themes, more weapons and throw-aways. Quests will change as you move, enemies will adapt and learn from you, and the co-op mode is much-improved. Missions will also now sync regardless of each player’s plot progression. Finally. Team up and go.
Dozens of psychos later, we came upon a boss fight. Nomad plus Midget, a goofy but effective means to display the gunzerker’s battle prowess. We saw some serious dual-wielding and watched as our hero was unceremoniously thrown off the cliff, flipping off the bastards as he plummeted to the ground. A fitting end.
Borderlands 2 looks like Borderlands on crack with more guns, blue-haired ladies, angrier bad guys, and I want some right now. It looks awesome and much more intriguing than the first. Enemies are smarter, more diverse, and there are a gajillion guns to keep the killing fresh. What more could you ask for?
Borderlands 2 will be rampaging its way onto store shelves sometime in 2012. Are you ready?