When Borderlands released back in 2009 the world was taken by surprise at just how incredible the post-apocalyptic neo-wild western shooter-cum-RPG was. Not only was it a really rather unique game to play, it was also pretty damn special to look at. Immitators arrived on the scene, mostly in the form of id’s Rage, however none have managed to live upto the wonderful mix of humour, violence and outright madness that Gearbox brought into the world with Borderlands. Until now that is.
Sitting down and wrapping my grubby gaming hands around a controller at Rezzed meant I got to spend some quality time with upcoming Borderlands 2, and you’ll be pleased to know that it feels as glorious as its predecessor; if anything it’s almost exactly the same but just bigger, brighter and crazier than before.
The demo was more than likely the one shown at this years E3, and so not an awful lot was given away about the setting or story of Borderlands 2, however what we do know is that weapon manufacturer Hyperion have taken over the moon and are launching attacks on the world below. The level shown in the 4-player co-operative demo was set in a very modern and mechanised city still in the process of being built. Despite it being completely devoid of life – bar the Engineers and GUN Loaders we had to shoot to bits – this environment suggests that NPCs may play a bigger role this time around, and that environments will be larger, multi layered, and more detailed than before.
Whilst our mission seemed to be completed upon entering, only tasked with returning to Claptrap to turn it in – whom my fellow comrades or I couldn’t find, a deliberate decision I feel. Seeing as we had all this spare time to look for an elusive Claptrap unit, we decided to have a look around and shoot the hell out of some enemies. As the city was located in bandit country – information courtesy of an extremely random radio communication we stumbled upon – we were facing off against hostile ‘engineers’ and ‘GUN Loaders’; previous fans will be pleased to know that the deep and ingenious system of ‘badass’, ‘super badass’ etc. has returned.
Whilst it was incredibly fun blasting our way through a never-ending stream of enemies and picking up a whole variety of whacky and powerful weapons, it must be said that the demo really didn’t offer anything new. Of course with Borderlands that’s no bad thing by any means, but it really did just feel like I was playing a tighter version of a two-year-old game. As none of the new characters were available to play – with everyone taking on the role of an ‘Assassin’ class from the off – it makes it hard to judge exactly what to expect. The fact that it didn’t show off any quests or reveal any story also makes it hard to really know what to expect, after all Borderlands’ crazy quests and storyline was what made it so appealing to keep playing.
Overall, from my short hands on time with Gearbox’s sequel, it’s definitely not one that was disappointing – it just wasn’t absolutely mind-blowing. It’s safe to say that if Gearbox release Borderlands 2 at this phase then it’ll definitely be well received, and heck it’ll be incredibly fun to play, but it would be nice to know how things all tie together. After all though, as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”