Borderlands 2 is ‘Doing It Right’
Randy Pitchford, the CEO of Gearbox, hasn’t held back a single detail about the upcoming title Borderlands 2, and certainly seems just as enthusiastic as his fans are. The trailers that have already been released show snippets of actual gameplay (finally, someone learnt how-to-trailer) and the universe is looking more immersive than ever.
So, where to begin on why Borderlands 2 isn’t going to be just another over-hyped money maker?
The new game will have co-op battles, new enemies, a fifth DLC class, a hugely lengthy campaign and a whole new art style. Borderlands 2 is a huge leap over the first game in almost every aspect, which is astounding considering how unique the original was anyway. It had an interesting blend of genres, an unheard of art direction, an addictive universe – and all that has been bested.
The only negative comment that seems to have been made about Borderlands 2 thus far is that it “looks like the same game!” Sure, it does, it’s cell-shaded and the engine hasn’t been particularly altered – but that’s something I couldn’t care less about right now. The entire universe has been so totally fleshed out – I can’t say I’ve ever been so excited to see grass or snow before (okay, snow is pretty cool in general, but definitely not grass). There are real, breathtaking cutscenes, new towns, full NPC conversations, new weapons (including a totally epic looking sword, yes please?) and a significant improvement upon the previous game mechanics.
I’m honestly finding it hard to pinpoint one thing I’m appreciating the most about the evolution of this popular franchise – but let’s go with the length. The game boasts to have almost 60 hours of gaming time, but that’s on a quick playthrough. ‘Quick’ meaning it was played through with limited/no attention paid to side-quests or challenges, no exploration, no ‘stop and stare at the snow, yay!’ moments – nothing. It is easily the slowest of quick playthroughs I have ever heard of, and it’s about time something like this has been offered without the need for DLC’s. To cope with this, the game has absolutely no level cap, either – you can level up your character literally 10,000 times and there’s absolutely nothing that’s going to stop you.
The original Borderlands took the average played between 20 to 25 hours, according to Gearbox’s metrics. With that in mind, the men who were hired to write the strategy guide put aside a week to play Borderlands 2 – they ended up staying for over double that time in order to be able to finish the guide alone. On the topic, Pitchford told NowGamer, “Part of why that happened is, when we were playing the first Borderlands, for most of us it became a hobby, just as it did for a lot of our fans. So we really took the idea that Borderlands 2 needed to be a hobby as well.”
I think I can safely say, on behalf of everyone, that Pitchford and the Gearbox crew deserve a huge ‘doing it right’ sticker, and maybe a couple of hundred high-fives for everything they’ve done to improve an already well-loved franchise.