When Borderlands was first shown off at PAX 2009, it was an unknown IP that no one had heard of before. It turned out to be the sleeper hit of the show, and one of Gearbox’s best-selling titles. After becoming such a fan-favorite, the announcement of Borderlands 2 was an expected but welcome one.
While there were no opportunities for hands-on time with the game, a demo was given by Mikey Neumann from Gearbox Software that covered all of the main additions in Borderlands 2. One of the first things that jumped out was that there were other textures besides sand or dirt. The demo opened in a snowy land populated with giant creatures that don’t like their home being messed with. Plenty of work has gone into the weapons, too. Each of the weapon manufacturers in the game has unique characteristics that set it apart from the others. For example, one brand makes ultra-cheap weapons, so instead of reloading, the character just throws the weapon away and a new one appears. This has a gameplay benefit though as well, because when the used weapon is thrown, it will explode on impact, with the size of the explosion varying based on the amount of ammunition in the weapon. The other brands each have their own twists, too.
Significant improvements have also been made to the AI in Borderlands 2, making the encounters feel a bit more real. Enemies can now walk up and down stairs, or climb up ledges and vault obstacles to get to you faster. The enemies can be wounded now, as well. Shoot a robot’s legs off and it will continue to crawl towards you even though it's crippled. While they weren’t talking specifics about all of the characters, both Salvador the Gunzerker and Maya the Siren were shown off, and both look to be a bit more unique than the characters in the first Borderlands. However, fans of the originals will be happy to know that the first crew of characters will all make appearances in Borderlands 2 as NPCs.
Borderlands 2 continues with the laughs and overall vibe of the first game while managing to improve it in ways that we didn’t even know we wanted improved. Those who enjoyed the first game can look forward to even more content in Borderlands 2 than there was in the original, so check back for more on Borderlands 2 as it’s 2012 launch approaches.