Note: All images are courtesy of Game Informer!
Borderlands 2 has been announced. Earlier today I posted 15 screengrabs of the massive reveal article from Game Informer that shows all the juicy details from the sequel. I took the liberty of compiling a list of the most salient features. Enjoy!
BORDERLANDS 2: THE STORY
- It’s been five years since the original events of Borderlands.
- A new megalomaniac leader has emerged from the rubble of the chaos that ensued when Lilith, Mordecai, Roland and Brick wrecked havoc across Pandora: Handsome Jack. Jack runs the Hyperion corporation and their industrial revolution has left a wasteland in its wake across the surface of Pandora.
- Handsome Jack has colonized the moon, you can even see a giant H (for Hyperion) emblazoned across its surface. That asshole. Jack’s moon base will rain down enemies and supply crates from orbit directly onto Pandora, creating dynamic combat situations for players.
- The mysterious Guardian Angel is back, this time tasking players with taking out Handsome Jack and saving Pandora.
- Pandora is once again threatened by a wide array of enemies, both human and alien in origin.
- The four original protagonists are still in the game, although as NPCs, not playable characters. In fact, one of your first tasks will be to track down the original cast.
- There will be a huge focus on both story and character backgrounds/development. Design Director Paul Hellquist feels the story was a little lackluster last time around.
- The original four vault-hunters will have their own back-stories fleshed out a little better, and they will share their experiences with the vault and where the last five years have led them.
- Claptrap, for better of for worse (better, it is for the better!) is missing from the fray altogether.
BORDERLANDS 2: THE CLASS(ES)
- The Gunzerker is one of the four new classes: a stout, bearded, dual-weilding drwarf, Salvador. Can he dual-weild any two weapons? Yes. Even two massive rocket launchers? Oh yes!
- The new classes have all-new skill-trees. They will remain three-pronged, however.
BORDERLANDS 2: THE MISSIONS
- The “mission-dispenser” NPCs are gone. Instead we will now see fully animated, interactive and fleshed out NPCs, both in quest givers and world inhabitants. You can still breeze through mission text and rush through the campaign if you like.
- You can fail missions, and not have to reload, though that will not be without consequence. In one of the showcased missions, you are asked to rescue Roland, the original soldier from the first game. Failing said mission will have consequences in later missions, in addition to upping the difficulty in the current mission itself.
- One mission asks you to activate a beacon at the base of the dam. On the way you get ambushed by a thresher, a land worm who swallows the beacons and runs off. You then have to chase it down, as the mission objective shifts, and even after a climactic battle with the beast, the mission isn’t over. You have to take the beacon to a bandit-infested town, and defend it as you deploy it. All of this is a single mission in the game.
- Design Director Paul Hellquist says each mission is three times the size and scope of the cookie-cutter missions of the first game.
- The original Borderlands featured too many “kill ten rats”, “fetch five PDAs” type quests. Question structure and objectives are much more dynamic and varying.
BORDERLANDS 2: THE ENEMIES
- Enemies now communicate with one another.
- Enemy AI is significantly improved. They will now strafe, duck, traverse the environments better and even climb obstacles.
- The Bloodshot Bandits are back. These gun-worshiping nutjobs are the source of a lot of misery on Pandora.
- One new form of enemy is called a W4R-D3N, a mechanical monstrosity.
- Another enemy looks like a cross between a Skag and a Pterodactyl. So the wildlife will also expand in Pandora.
- There will be a “Tremors-esque” land worm.
- The Surveyor is another enemy, a support unit that heals enemies in the heat of battle, and when cornered, puts up a shield that reflects incoming damage. They respond dynamically as enemies call out for help, none of the sequences are scripted.
- A new combat system lights up an icon atop wounded enemies calling for help, so you can make informed choices about what to target next.
- One of the screens depict a massive snowy behemoth, the Arctic Bullymong. A cross between a gorilla and crab, the beast is nearly four times the size of Salvador, the only playing character/class revealed so far. It can use environmental objects and hurl them at the player.
- The Skags are back as well, but they are much more vicious and coordinated. In one sequence, the player is fighting off Pup Skags when a Badass Fire Skag erupts onto the battlefield. Sounds pretty standard from the first game. But then everything changes when the Badass Fire Skag lights the ground in a breath of flame, igniting the Skag Pups and giving them significantly enhanced attack and defense capabilities, thus creating new, interesting combat dynamics.
- The Nomad are another bandit tribe, except rotund, armored with shields and much more menacing. One type, called the Torturer, has a midget strapped to its front as a meat-shield to soak up damage. You can either kill them both, or shoot the chains that holds the midget in place. The midget may then turn on the torturer, allowing you precious moments to flank and take out the preoccupied Nomad.
BORDERLANDS 2: THE LEWTS
- Combat possibilities continue to multiply with new gameplay elements in addition to skills, weapon characteristics, class mods, and a new element, Eridium, which also doubles as the game’s currency.
- Eridium can be used to enhance existing guns beyond their initial attributes and abilities.
- Eridium is also used in a variety of power-ups, such as temporarily increased health, defense and damage.
- You can shoot an enemy who has a power-up equipped, and pick it up to use yourself after dispatching him.
- Artifacts will no longer be just elemental damage-based. They will work in a wide variety of ways, such as giving you a chance that your shots will not cost ammo, a healing aura around the player, or increased afterburner in vehicles etc.
BORDERLANDS 2: THE GUNS
- None of the guns from the original Borderlands will return. But don’t despair, instead, there will be millions of new guns for you to drool over!
- The first game featured a number of gun-manufacturing companies. What most players don’t know, is that weapons from different manufacturers featured company-specific enhancements. For example, Hyperion weapons offer reduced recoil and as such better accuracy. Vladof featured the highest rate of fire, and so on. This will continue in Borderlands 2, however, the visual design will also represent the different manufacturers. The gun will visibly look “more Atlas” or “more Torque”, depending on its origin. Vladoff rifles will look like AK-47s from the cold war. Dahl rifles look sleek and modern, as if plucked directly from Battlefield or Modern Warfare.
- Some manufacturers will feature truly twisted gameplay opportunities. Tediore guns can be fired till the magazine runs out. The empty gun is then tossed onto the battlefield like a grenade, and much like a grenade, it explodes. A hand-held digistruct (the same device used to construct vehicles at vehicle stations in the first game) then creates a new copy of the gun in your hand with the next magazine loaded. Crazy!
- The guns will look much better, with improved texture, reflections and materials.
- The number of “unique” guns in the world has been ramped up quite significantly, and they will feature custom enhancements. In the example given, a gun dropped by nine-toes will have his tenth toe taped to the gun as an ornament!
BORDERLANDS 2: THE VEHICLES
- The Bandit Technical is a new vehicle in the game.
- Vehicles will feature much more detail, better textures and personality.
- Some vehicles can powerslide and all offer better collision detection.
- Vehicles will seat four players to support a full four-player co-op.
BORDERLANDS 2: MISC
- Gearbox’s recently built fully-equipped motion-capture studio really livens up the game with incredible animations. Borderlands 2 is captured by 24 independent T-100 cameras at 16-megapixels, providing smooth, life-like animations for in-game characters.
- The world areas are larger, more vivid and more detailed; the playable areas are much larger than the original world.