Borderlands 2 - Preview

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Release Date: 30/08/2012

GAME previews Borderlands 2 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC

Opening Pandora

Combining classic first-person shooter mechanics with the questing structure and customisation options of a role-playing game, Gearbox's Borderlands was one of the surprise hits of 2009. A refreshingly unique title, albeit one with a few rough edges, it has sold over 4.5 million copies to date, and next month we'll be treated to its highly anticipated sequel.

Borderlands 2 sees players battling across the planet Pandora in a bid to stop the main antagonist and self-proclaimed dictator Handsome Jack from awakening an ancient alien evil known as 'the Warrior'. From the icy tundra, through the dangerous grasslands, past the mysterious corrosive caverns to beyond, Pandora is a vast, unpredictable world overflowing with hostile creatures.

The sequel looks set to improve on the original in a big way, perhaps most notably in the combat department. While a great deal of the first game's battles involved setting up camp behind cover and trading bullets until one side bit the dust, fighting in Borderlands 2 is far more varied.

Sequel adds enemies - and lots of guns - in Borderlands 2 for PS3, Xbox360 and PC

This is largely due to the sequel's smarter enemies, who are now capable of banding together to charge and overwhelm you. This in turn means players need to think more carefully about their approach to engagement, and react to a continually shifting battlefield with appropriate manoeuvres and abilities.

Guns. Lots of Guns.

But two can play at that game. The Borderlands series is all about cooperation, and just as enemies can join forces to make mincemeat of players, you can team up with up to three other friends online in drop-in-drop-out co-op mode or play with a buddy locally via split-screen.

Borderlands 2 lets you choose from four character classes with a range of upgradeable abilities. A Siren named Maya can freeze enemies, the Assassin is an agent of confusion capable of creating clones of himself and even vanishing briefly, the Gunzerker has the ability to dual-wield weapons, and the Commando can deploy turrets that seek out enemies.

Explore more of Pandora in Borderlands 2 at GAME

Like its predecessor, Borderlands 2 features an array of procedurally generated guns, shields and grenades, meaning there are literally millions of weapon variations available and an absolute tonne of ways to engage foes - you could use a rifle that shoots poison bullets, an RPG that launches fiery rockets or a lightning-spewing shotgun.

From the time we've spent with the game, the combat feels much more dynamic than it did in the original, the enemies and locations more varied, and the missions have evolved from a series of fetch and carry quests to feature branching paths and unpredictable structures. Needless to say we're hopeful the game will turn out to be everything the great but flawed original nearly was.

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