PAX East 2012 Hands-On: Borderlands 2

I think it’s safe to say that Borderlands 2 was the most popular game on the show floor last weekend at PAX East. Luckily, I got a chance to check out the game thanks to the people at 2K.

Partnered up with another player, I chose the Siren, assigned some talent points, and jumped into the game. I was thrown into a giant bunker which, when opened, revealed an industrial, barren landscape surrounded by green pools of slime. Our mission was to reach a locker, but it was by no means easy to maintain, as we were constantly barraged by enemies.

This particular level featured bug-like creatures- some that swarmed up above, others that burrowed underground and rushed us from below or behind- so I was constantly swinging my camera around to meet my next foe with a blast of gunfire. My character also had an ability to freeze enemies midair while my partner pelted them with bullets- just like Borderlands, co-op is well executed in Borderlands 2.

My demo ended a lot sooner than I would have liked, but when it comes down to it, what I experienced of Borderlands 2 was exactly what you’d expect- gorgeous cell-shaded graphics, precise controls, and hectic, fun gameplay.  I have absolutely no complaints and I can’t wait to play the whole game later this year.

In addition to showing Borderlands 2 on the show floor, Gearbox had two big announcements that they saved until their panel Sunday evening as PAX East was wrapping up. Firstly, Character Customization will be greatly enhanced in Borderlands 2. According to Gearbox, afros were necessary, but bajillions of character skins will be available for use. Any players with an existing Borderlands save will receive a custom character skin and unique head. Whatever that means.

Secondly, a brand new character class, called the “Mechromancer”, was also announced. She won’t be a preorder exclusively, and will be available for all users 60 to 90 days after the game’s release, but those who preorder Borderlands 2 will receive her for free.

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