Tally: Yeah, I completely agree. I enjoyed Borderlands, but sometimes it felt like all I was killing was bandits and skags. It felt completely different in Borderlands 2. From just what we played, there were some enemies that burrowed into the ground, others that phased in and out of reality, and even some huge gargantuan golems where we had to shatter the crystals in their legs to do the most damage. Better yet, this increased assortment of enemies made working together feel even more important. I greatly appreciated Nick murdering the enemies that phased on top of me and tried to bite my face off.
So new enemies, new environments, and better-defined character customization. It’s sounding pretty good, right? There were also some more detail-oriented stuff we noticed, too.
Nick: Yeah, I’d say overall there’s just a lot of nice touches. Graphically the style of the game looks a bit cleaner, more cohesive. We were playing on the PC version of Borderlands 2, so I'm sure this helped with the higher resolution. I also liked how the enemies spawn in differently, whether launched from the space base or burrowing through the ground, it always felt like we were under attack from multiple directions. On the co-op side of things it’s great to finally see a dedicated trade option, as well as the ability to duel for an item if you two players can’t agree who gets what.
I wish we could have seen some of the new vehicle play, or the more open world stuff. We basically were dropped in mission instances, though they were a lot bigger than I remember them being from the first game. The zoo was huge.
When we talked to Randy Varnell, Producer and Sean Reardon, Senior Producer - we found out some interesting tidbits as well as to how the game’s current classes came to be. Perhaps the biggest revelation for us was that the game was designed for couch co-op first - that’s Gearbox’s ideal cooperative scenario. From there they brainstormed something like 30 classes and had to whittle those down to just the four we have today. Obviously there’s been a lot of iterative design going on here and it shows in just about every corner of the game we saw.
Tally: All in all, I walked away being quite impressed with Borderlands 2. I enjoyed playing the first game, but I really think that Borderlands 2 will fit my personal taste even better. More customization options and more co-operative plays really get me. I can’t wait to see it progress even further.
Nick: I agree. I completely lost track of time while playing the game. Our first hour seemed like minutes. Before we left, I think I turned to you and said - “Well, now I need to go home and play Borderlands again.” Borderlands 2 reminded me just how much its cooperative formula works, and after talking with Randy and Sean, it’s easy to see why. Gearbox put a lot of focus on co-op, in fact, they outright told us it was the majority of the focus. Borderlands 2 is meant to be an incredible cooperative experience, that was their design goal, and it looks like they are well on their way there.
Borderlands 2 will be out on September 18th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It features 4 player online co-op, 2 player local co-op, as well as combo co-op play.