The Borderlands 2 demo threw me right into the thick of it with a level 21 Gunzerker and 2 objectives: Find Mordecai (the hunter class from the original Borderlands) and Fix Clap Trap. After I upgraded a few skill trees I was on my way to find Mordecai. I ran into a nest of peculiar enemies, that looked a bit like orange overgrown lizards that spat balls of corrosive acid at me. It seemed like it would be as easy as clearing out a bunch of skags, but they had an ace up their sleeve. They could teleport. Soon I was swarmed, so I decided to use my ace- Gunzerker mode.
Dual wielding two weapons to clear out the pests was pretty damn satisfying. I have to admit I was expecting a bit more bite to it. The damage for each gun wasn’t increased by much for a level 21 character, but then again I might not have invested in Gunserker mode in the skill tree because the demo was German and I have no idea what I actually upgraded.
I got to Mordecai and he asked me to break into one of Handsome Jacks strongholds to free Bloodwing, his faithful bird and to also get parts to fix Clap Trap. I went to unlock the door to the stronghold and surprise, the door didn’t open. But more enemies were released and they were out for my blood. There were an assortment of fly-by planes dropping bombs on me, big robots that could jetpack short distances and shot at me, men in mech suits shooting me, and robots with spinning blades running after me. Even with Gunzerker mode it took me a few lives to clear through the waves of enemies, but I did, and just as I entered the stronghold my demo time was over.
The demo was a typical Borderlands fetch quest and like the original it was all good fun. Unlike the first game, the environments were much more vibrant than its predecessor. Even though it was a short-ish demo I played there was quite a lot of enemy variety, even in a simple fetch quest. It definitely looks like Gearbox put a lot of effort into making Borderlands 2 a bigger and better game than the first and you should definitely keep an eye out for it.
Having played through Borderlands as a Soldier, I wanted to see how the class has evolved in Borderlands 2 since the first instalment. I was happy to see that the gameplay was mostly unchanged: the gun-play, movement, and controls are identical, meaning I managed to get into the game straight off the bat without having to learn anything new. The soldier, like in the previous title, is mostly focused on assault rifles and your trusty turret– which now is a much more important part of your arsenal. Since we only had about 20 minutes to play the game, I decided to use the skill points available to focus solely on combat.
In Borderlands 2, enemy variety is greatly increased, meaning that they all have different strengths and weaknesses and therefore need different approaches to take them down. Very few enemies, if any, can just be pumped full of lead until their health bar reaches zero. Enemies would teleport, charge, and protect themselves so that you would have to find different ways to dispose of them. Sometimes you have to try and get behind them to uncover their weak points, other times you had to learn their patterns and fire at the right moment.
This more chaotic and intense combat meant that you rarely had time to breathe and recover your shield, and therefore needed an extra gun in the fight – the perfect job for your turret. As I said before, you will need to use your turret much more often, even for the smaller firefights. In the first Borderlands I rarely used my turret as I found it more efficient to use my own guns. The only exception being when I was getting swarmed with enemies. In Borderlands 2, I was counting down for the cooldown of my turret to end so I could plant a new one.
In addition to having to deploy your turret more often, you’ll have to think more strategically of where to place it. Your turret (at least with my skill point allocation) no longer has a shield, meaning its vulnerable from the second you deploy it. Also, the enemies aren’t stupid. They know the turret is dangerous, and will start focusing their attacks on it if it starts doing a little too much damage for their liking. Now, your turret have to fight alongside you.
Overall, I liked the fact that they kept the soldier’s gameplay mostly unchanged. But the way the combat plays out makes the whole experience more frantic and strategic. Old and new players will feel at home with the class, but you will have to evolve your playstyle as the enemies change.
Borderlands 2 releases on 21st September 2012 on PC, Ps3 and Xbox 360.