2K Games are putting a lot of weight behind the forthcoming Borderlands 2, and not without good reason. Randy Pitchford, Gearbox Software CEO, recently revealed that the publisher has confirmed that Borderlands 2 is their ‘most pre-ordered title ever,’ and that’s coming from the house that brought you every single iteration of Grand Theft Auto. Borderlands has undoubtedly become a hot property, and based on Electronic Theatre’s hands-on time with the sequel, Borderlands 2 is looking set to do that heritage justice.
The single area Electronic Theatre was able to experience took place approximately eighty percent of the way through the videogame, and as such the progression system was painted over rather than being open to experience at it’s fullest; players would simply spend an allotment of experience points to grant their chosen character with the abilities that would be available at this point in the videogame opposed to progressing naturally. However, this did allow those clever enough to reach the upper limits of a skilltree if they dedicated all of their experience points to one vein, offering some devastating manoeuvres at the press of a single button.
The mission at hand was a simple arena based objective. Two players working together (the final build of the videogame will offer four player co-operative gameplay) would take down successive waves of enemies increasing in number and difficulty. The enemy design was leagues ahead of the original Borderlands even in this simple presentation, with enemy tactics varied and offering a noticeable difference depending on the weapons each player had equipped and the remaining life points; sneaky low armoured enemies might try to pick-off the weaker player, while hulking robotic bi-pedals would move slowly to a vantage point and rain down fire on the closest player. Despite the essence of Borderlands existing in the space between mission completion and gaining an advantage in the next, this uncomplicated blastathon still presented a notable step forward for the series. Borderlands 2 is a videogame designed to please the fans but also expand the audience, and at present Electronic Theatre can find no reason why it shouldn’t do just that.
This particular mission was bestowed upon the players by the rather humorous Innuendo Boy, a robot whose wit will certainly strike a chord with fans of 90’s sitcom Bottom. Knowingly tongue-in-cheek, Innuendo Boy is a sign of a videogame series growing in confidence; Borderlands stands apart from the run-of-the-mill first-person shooter (FPS) videogame and has earned the right to present its nuances in a more forceful manner. Looking fantastic and handling smoothly, Borderlands 2 is a sign that Pandora is set to be shaken-up later this month, and as far is Electronic Theatre is concerned, it’s most certainly for the better.