gamescom 2012: Borderlands 2 Preview
You might have played the first Borderlands game, so it’s not unlikely that you can guess what’s coming next. With that said I will run you through some of the cool new powers I played with at Gamescom last week.
Once again they have nailed that rough and ready feel that helps this frenetic RPG/FPS stand out. The newest and most interesting bits are the powers that fill out the top end of the progress trees. They gave us just enough points to stock up a single tree and see the end result of it – I opted for the assault class, who could drop turrets. With three progress trees per character I had a look through the final part of each; an added rocket launcher to the turret, an AOE shield on the turret, and an upgrade that let off a small nuke each time you deployed the turret. It wasn’t a hard choice so I filled up the tree and set off into an arena.
To start the mission I had to speak to a frazzled looking robot that called itself ‘Innuendo Bot’. After spouting some really terrible puns that it felt it had to explain, I was counted down to the start by the robot shouting “3, 2, 1, SEX!”. Waves of robots and guys flew inwards to fill me with lead, so I promptly disassembled them by throwing a highly explosive turret at them. It felt good.
I was also provided with what was described by the devs as “the disposable razor of guns”. Every time I finished a clip I would throw it away and a new one would spawn. The gun would then explode, doing more damage depending on the amount of bullets that were left in it. It also added corrosive damage, which affected the robots more. This helped while getting rid of the annoying healer bots that floated over head of the bigger Metal Gear look-a-likes. They all had different attachments; while some would sprint towards you then stand still and explode in your face, others had massive cannons. My least favourite (by which I mean the most fun to kill) were ones that had spinning blades. Shooting the blades was entirely ineffective so you had to run away and try not to get diced Indiana Jones style.
I also saw the really cool Assassin class’ ability to create a decoy and become invisible, while another let him go into first-person mode and create timed combos that insta-kill normal enemies. The Mechromancer class was demonstrated and with her “best friends forever” skill tree you can miss an enemy and hit them with a ricochet from the ‘Close Enough’ power. We were told that this is effective for new and old players alike; new gamers would be able to hit some things no matter how bad their aim, while more skilled players could use it to shoot round corners and hit multiple enemies when using a shotgun.
The hands-on made it clear that they have recognised the strengths of the last game and are playing to them. From what I saw I can guess there will be lots more arenas and more big boss fights. One that was demonstrated to us was a fight with a huge serpent that had a beefy health bar. Four full level characters were taking it on while trying to stick to the cliff face so that they wouldn’t get knocked into oblivion…
Borderlands 2 is looking like a better version of the first, which is how it should be!