Does the more action oriented skill and level progression of the Mass Effect franchise entice you? Is the promise of continually enhanced loot drops a la Diablo something you tend to salivate over? Do the quirky and in your face stylings of Conker and Bulletstorm put a smile on your face? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then you owe it to yourself to keep reading about Borderlands 2.
The world of Pandora from Borderlands 1 returns in this sequel. It’s been 5 years since the events of the Vault opening. Since then, a man named Handsome Jack has taken credit for the actions of the Vault hunters and claimed the prizes within the Vault. This new-found wealth and power has permitted him to buy the Hyperion Corporation, a major weapons manufacturer, allowing him to take over Pandora. In his quest to gain full power over the planet, he plans to wipe out remaining colonies and resisting forces. That’s where you come in. You’re contacted by the mysterious Guardian Angel to tasked with the killing of Handsome Jack to put his era of tyranny to an end.
Welcome to Pandora
Guns, guns and more guns. If the gameplay model of Borderlands 1 is anything to go by, Borderlands 2’s central form of gameplay will revolve around the discharging of its reportedly “87 Bazillion” gun barrel variants. Talk about getting Bazilliondier!
Beyond this Borderlands will feature an enhanced set of “RPG” stat enhancement. Each character class will now feature 3 main skill tree branches which will focus on different aspects of combat.
Vehicular combat has also been confirmed to make its return although to what capacity and changes is yet to be seen. The Doomsday trailer does show off some sort of aircraft near the beginning and there appear to be a whole lot of mech-like suits roaming around the world.
As stated by the devs, major focuses of improvements involve the manner in which the story will be told through meatier missions, the AI of enemies, and how squad strategies will be required to go far beyond simply aiming and firing.
Of important note here are the AI enhancements. Pitchford and crew were ecstatic in letting the press know just how much they’ve put into enhancing the combat experience by mixing and matching different enemy types during combat, making them flank and draw players out with grenades, and switching their behaviors to suit their numbers.
Borderlands 2 features 4 new main characters.
Salvador – Gunzerker
The Gunzerker resembles the Berserker class from Borderlands 1 featuring an oversized behemoth of a man. Where they differ is in their specialized abilities. While Brick was capable of going absolutely “berserk” in a rage of swinging fists, Salvador has the ability to go Gunzerk and operate any two weapons of any type at the same time.
Unlike any other playable character, Salvador is a native of Pandora. As a native, he has been forced to relocate and move from town to town in an attempt to fend off Hyperion's advances in taking over Pandora. This gives Salvador a clear motive in the resistance against Handsome Jack.
The Gunzerker's skill trees are named Rampage, Brawn and Gun-Lust.
A lot of the Gunzerker's skills are named after movie quotes. For example, in the rampage tree there's a skill called "Yippy-Ki-Yay" which increases the duration of Gunzerking while it is enabled and you keep killing things. The Brawn skill has the "Come at me, Bro" skill allowing Salvador to taunt enemies when low on health which restores his health fully. The Gun-Lust tree contains a skill called "No Kill Like Overkill" which converts damage done to fallen enemies into health to restore your own.
"Money Shot" and "Double Your Fun" are two more interesting skills that can be used in together with other skills to really specialize your character. "Money Shot" ensures that every bullet you fire does increased/critical damage when in Berserk mode. Using it in conjunction with "No Kill Like Overkill" can make you an invincible powerhouse for a short while. "Double Your Fun" allows Salvador to throw 2 grenades at once when Gunzerking with no extra ammo cost.
Maya – Siren
Maya replaces Lilith as resident playable Siren of Pandora in Borderlands 2 but mixes up the formula of what a Siren is capable. Where Lilith could phasewalk out of our dimension and into the enemy's exploding face, Maya changes things up with her phaselock ability. More on phaselock in a bit.
Maya herself features more of a backstory than Lilith. The Borderlands lore dictates that only a given number of Siren may exist in the universe at any given time. As an adventurer type, Maya is always looking for answers about the ways of the Siren and their purpose in the universe. Maybe we'll get some answers in Borderlands 2.
Essentially what phaselock does is trap an enemy in a bubble of energy causing it to stand frozen in time. Of course this ability can be heavily modified and extended through Maya's Support, Cataclysm, and ??? trees. For example, the Support class contains skills that can grant squad members with buffs when an enemy trapped in phaselock is killed or revive teammates from long distances. The Cataclysm tree contains the "Helios" skill which causes an explosion around the enemy being phase-locked, potentially setting fire to surrounding enemies.
Phaselock can be used on all classes of enemies up to (and including) the "Badass" class. You will not be able to phaselock bosses to stop them in their tracks. Side-effects to your customized phaselock ability will still work against bosses though. If a phaselock attempt is missed, the ability is instantly available for use again without a cooldown period.
Support: Filled with skills meant to buff Maya and her colleagues in battle.
Axton – Commando
The new Commando class portrayed by Axton extends on the beloved Soldier class from Borderlands 1. Axton comes to battle specially armed with a customizable turret, much like Roland did, but is supposedly a higher ranking and more thoroughly trained warrior on the battlefield.
Axton also has a bit of a backstory as he wears the dog tags of his fallen wife. It remains to be seen if this will play into the game in any capacity. Perhaps his wife's death was Handsome Jack's doing?
As for his special ability, the turret in Borderlands 2 retains a lot of its features from the first game including the ability to heal squad members and replenish ammo, but adds some new tricks to its arsenal. The turret, manufactured by the Dahl Corporation, can earn the ability to be tossed/teleported into the battlefield through the skill trees like the longshot grenades of Borderlands 1 instead of simply being dropped at the player's feet.
The turrets skill tree will be labelled "Guerilla", "Gunpowder", and "Survival" (subject to change).
Guerrila: A short-ranged specification for the turret making it great as an aggro mechanism
Zero – Ninja?
Zero was probably the biggest surprise announcement in terms of a playable class. Sure Borderlands 1 featured more than its share of Ninjas, but I doubt more than a few even expected to be given the opportunity to play as one. Not much is known about Zero at this point as he was just revealed in the Doomsday trailer.
The Gun Corporations
Tediore - So cheap you can actually throw them away (or at your enemy) after use.
Borderlands 2 'Richer, Larger' than the Original - IGN (9/20/11)
Borderlands 2: New details revealed! - beefjack (3/14/12) *NEW*
Meet the Commando - IGN (2/24/12)
Meet the Siren - IGN (2/23/12)
Meet the Gunzerker - IGN (12/27/11)
Building a Better Story - IGN (12/19/11)
Bigger and Better: Borderlands 2 - IGN (9/9/11)
Borderlands 2 is scheduled to release September 18 in North America and September 21 internationally. Platforms include the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. As far as pre-order incentives go, ordering the game early will make you a Premiere Club member which grants you access to the special "Gearbox Gun Pack", the "Vault Hunter's Relic", and a "Golden Key" to unlock special loot in the "Golden Sanctuary Loot Chest".
Gearbox and the lost fan
I think this is a noteworthy addition to the official thread for Borderlands 2. In October of 2011 Gearbox received an email from a fan of Borderlands 1 that contained the story of Carlo (the email sender) and his friend Michael John Mamaril. The friends loved playing Borderlands together. Sadly, Michael passed away after his battle with cancer at the age of 22. To honor his friend, Carlo asked Gearbox if they could make Claptrap read eulogy speech for his friend. Gearbox went the extra mile, not only delivering on the eulogy speech, but also promising to include Michael as in NPC in Borderlands 2.
See this link to hear the eulogy: http://www.destructoid.com/gearbox-to-honor-late-fan-as-an-npc-in-borderlands-2-215160.phtml
Who's getting it and for which platform
This is still a WIP so bare with me. I'll be adding links to previews, interviews, and updating the content of the main body as more information is released on characters, classes, special abilities, vehicles and different weapons manufacturers.