Gosu.com is currently inactive. All content on the site will remain for archiving purposes, but no new content will be added for the foreseeable future. For the weekly podcast and new material from many of our old contributors, check out TiSBcast.com.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Dakkadakkadakkadakka. Boom! Boom! Boom! Dakkadakkadakka. Boom!
When it comes to overwhelming chaos and generally bad-assery, nothing compares to the feel and tone of Borderlands. I have to admit, it was my favorite shooter on PS3. Now; we’re getting a new one. On September 18th Gearbox Software and 2K Games are releasing Borderlands 2, which has a litany of tweaks, modifications, and some straight-up overhauls of the original. Let’s take a look at the big ones point-by-point, shall we?
There are 4 different classes (Gunzerker, Siren, Assassin, and Commando), with a 5th (Mechromancer) becoming available via DLC Oct 19th. Most of the major archetypes from the first game are still around, but a few innovations are very encouraging. A big one is each class’s new ability to ‘support’. In Borderlands, the solider was a must-have class because it was the only class that could resupply ammo, heal, and revive. Any party without a supporting solider was handicapped in a big way. Now, everyone gets in on the support role: The Siren can heal, the Commando’s (read: solider) turret still helps out, the Gunzerker can tank and taunt and well… the Assassin is an assassin. But still, this will hopefully free up co-op players (by far the best way to play) to create more diverse and interesting parties while still being well formed.
That’s right, no level cap on this mofo right here. No. Level. Cap. As you kill (and there will be a lot of killing) you complete challenges, which in turn give you “badass points” which can be spent on stat boost ON ALL YOUR CHARACTERS. This I suppose is to counter the feeling of hopeless farming that plagued pre-patch 1.4 Diablo III.
A noticeable difference between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 is the focus on really elevating the online and multiplayer aspects. A major leap in online gaming is owed to FPS’s like Halo and Call of Duty, which helped popularize the joy of playing with your buddies in the room against the online network at large. This give players the visceral fun of sitting next to each other while avoiding accusations of ‘screen-peaking’. Nothing really excites me more than the ability to grab a friend, synergize a perfect fighting team and take our skills online.
Besides involving support roles in all the classes, Borderlands 2 also features a gun-sash to hold valuables and a more advanced trade system to trade between players. This brings player interaction and trade at the forefront of the game, encouraging social gaming (and no, I don’t mean Farmville). My hope is that trade and gun economy can become a vibrant, accessible aspect of the game. In Diablo III, at least a minor in economics is required to use the auction house at higher stages. BL2 will hopefully avoid that.
One of the chief complaints about Borderlands was that the monsters weren’t varied and, after a certain point, all the guns pretty much look like every other gun. Apparently Gearbox took this complaint very seriously. This image proves they wanted to throw a billion different types of threats at the player. This stepping-up also shows that the studio wants to do something more ambitious with the world, and create a bigger experience than the fairly Spartan adventure Borderlands had to offer.
All in all, this game is shaping up to be a big step forward. With a 9.0 from IGN and a 98 on Metacritic, it seems to have hit the mark. They’ve kept the trademark tongue-in-check humor and the patented ultra-violence. There are plenty of smaller changes, including an increase in diversity of areas and a buff to grenades. Hopefully the modifications, both big and small, will make the cement the Borderlands series as my favorite shooter of all time.