Talking To Games: Borderlands 2

Dear Reader,

Yes, it’s that time again. Time for me to sit down and have a nice, amiable chat with a video game. I often feel the need to talk with games that aren’t yet released, and never is that more true than with “Borderlands 2,” the recently-confirmed sequel to Gearbox’s hit RPG/shooter.

Must go faster...must go faster...

For those of you who don’t know, this segment is exactly what it sounds like: I talk to games. And they talk back, that’s the crazy part. I’m like The Game Whisperer. Hit the jump, fool.

(M: Me, G: Game)

G: Ta-daah! It’s me, “Borderlands 2!” The sequel to a game you’ve logged over 30 hours in!

M: …Really? I thought they were going to call you “Borderworlds.”

G: Uh, nope. Not really. But aren’t you excited?! A sequel to one of your favorite games!

M: Yeah, it’s great. You know, I really liked the name “Borderworlds.”

G: Well, I’m sure you’ll come to love “Borderland 2″ with time!

M: Eh, I dunno. I really, really liked “Borderw–

G: –Anyway, exciting news! I’m going to offer four all-new classes to pick from!

M: What? What happened to my beloved Berserker from the original?

G: Oh, he’s still here, you just can’t play as him anymore.

M: So you’re saying all that work I put into the first is just gone?

G: Well…I mean, that’s one way to look at it.

M: Hmph. Can I at least finally customize my character’s appearance to my liking?

G: Well…I mean, we don’t really do that. We’re more of a “Jade Empire” than a “KOTOR.”

M: No one likes “Jade Empire.” For precisely this reason. How hard would it have been to let me mold my own character? Do you know anyone who plays an RPG who prefers not to craft their own avatar?

G: (ahem) Moving right along, “Borderlands 2″ will feature significantly improved artificial intelligence!

M: …Who cares about the A.I.?

G: Lots of people complained the enemies in the original were idiots.

M: So what? They’re deranged criminals driven insane by the elements, that’s how they’d behave. I mean yeah, it’s stupid for a Psycho to charge into my shotgun, but that’s why he’s called a “Psycho.”

G: Well I–

M: –And are you telling me that Spiderants and Skags are going to grab cover and flank now?

G: But now the NPCs will travel around to different towns!

M: Making it that much harder for me to find them when I need something? Who clamored for that?

G: Uh…

M: Have you done anything here that I actually wanted, “Borderlands 2″?

G: …I got…I got customizable weapons…and drastically improved driving with cars that seat four people…?

M: Okay. Now we’re talking.


help is on the way


  • Anonymous

    I’m beginning to think you’re also being driven insane by the elements.

  • Andrew Allen

    Look of course I’m gonna buy Borderlands 2. But I’m just saying there’s some stuff I was secretly hoping for that it doesn’t look like they’re gonna do.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, no doubt.  I’m just calling you crazy for talking to games!  Of course you’re gonna buy it, and me as well, and countless other Borderlands fans. 

    I liked the name Borderworlds as well.  That’s way more creative than Borderlands II.  It has a much better ring to it in the name of logical progression and better describes the nature of going to different worlds instead of being a generically titular sequel.  Would Super Mario Galaxy sold as many copies if it was named Super Mario XII or whatever its sequential number would be (then there’s Super Mario Galaxy II…so I guess it doesn’t matter too much in the end)?  I guess someone at 2K or Gearbox was like “but but but some people might not get the connection.”  You guys really want dummies like that playing your gam…oh wait, money is king.  It’s really not that big of a deal though.  Just would have been a nice touch.

    I honestly never expected to be able to fully customize one’s character as well sans a few different colors considering you’d have to put way more work into making varied ”cell shading” (supposedly it isn’t true cell shading, but they drew the textures and such by hand before scanning them) than what appears to be standard textured polygons like we see in Fallout and Mass Effect, etc.  Also, maybe in multiplayer it would be harder to tell what class someone was if characters don’t fit a particularly rigid appearance.  You can use every weapon in this iteration as well as the original, I would imagine (unless dual wielding is limited), so in that case only special attacks would identify someone’s class.  I’m not saying it wouldn’t be awesome, just might be more difficult to pull off – and it wouldn’t be coming out next year more than likely if that were the case.  Even though I don’t really know what I’m talking about for sure, I would imagine there would have to be an engine in place that could warp the hand drawn stuff and make it malleable enough to present a customization system worthwhile… and not look like a smeared and smudged mess at that.

    I’m cool with new characters too.  Now, to have the option of bringing along your old ones would have been pretty awesome, but after a few playthroughs with the same class (considering you can respec virtually at any time for next to nothing) they get kinda old.  I would totally dust one off though for a new romp through the galaxy if given the chance however.  I would assume the game’s architecture could allow such a thing…maybe we’ll get some DLC for that or it’s an unannounced option… but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the enemy AI was fine myself…gotta agree with you there.  The crazies would run straight for you, if you name something “Badass” then obviously it has no regard for personal safety and does not fear you at all, and your run of the mill raiders and soldiers liked to use cover and the latter typically had nasty weapons (like those shock weapons goddamnitsomuch) to make up for any lack of AI.  BUT…with the introduction of new enemies, new characters with new skills, and customizable weapons (fuck yeah!!!), not to mention dual wielding, then maybe an AI ramp will be what the doctor [Zed] ordered to keep things fresh and make those new additions fun and useful.

    What’s everyone’s deal with the vehicles though?  I can drive the crap out of anything.  Oh well, improvements are certainly still welcome.  The last one really did have a wonky ass vehicle control scheme now that I think about it….

  • Andrew Allen

    Your point about customizable characters messing with MP recognition is a pretty good one, I hadn’t thought of that.

    It is functional, I guess, to think of “Borderlands” in general more in terms of “Diablo” than “Mass Effect.” But in Diablo, you can still armor up however you like, not to mention that Diablo 2 doubled the number of available player models from the original.

    Vehicle improvements will be CRUCIAL. Driving in B1 was just not as solid as it needed to be, and the rockets those buggies fired were the size of pin-pricks and had zero splash damage. Just unacceptable. If they fix that, I’ll be a happy camper.

    Oh and yeah, customizable weapons could be AWESOME.