Gearbox Software's latest, "Borderlands 2," is out next week, and millions of gamers are set to go looking for loot, find themselves in frantic gunfights and listen to the awful wub-wub of dubstep. With five playable classes of characters (one is a bonus, downloadable class), and an apocalyptic yet vibrant, cell-shaded planet to explore, players will be occupied for quite some time, post-release. Here are the basics of what you need to know about "Borderlands 2."
"Borderlands 2" is the story of a group of treasure hunters seeking fame and fortune on a planet called Pandora. After the events of the original game, a villain known as Handsome Jack has established himself as the leader of a vile corporation with aims to completely industrialize the entire planet, eradicating colonial settlers. Standing between Handsome Jack and his goal of domination are the treasure hunters.
All of the playable classes in "Borderlands 2" are upgradeable, with multiple skill trees allowing the player near-complete customization. While the characters are lightly customizable in terms of cosmetics (loot in the form of alternate heads and costume pieces can be found scattered throughout Pandora), their various abilities can be tailored to enhance every player's style of gameplay. If you prefer running and gunning, you can upgrade your character to shrug off damage and increase their various weapon-related abilities. If you prefer to hang back and snipe, then upgrading your abilities to do so are recommended.
Game Informer provided a lengthy preview of "Borderlands 2," discussing the various playable characters in depth:
Axton (Soldier class): By deploying automatic turrets, Axton makes himself a valuable member of the team, adding much-needed additional firepower for sticky situations.
Maya (Siren class): A psychic-based character whose special ability freezes enemies in place, this new Siren is perfect for crowd-control or against a particularly difficult opponent. By using her "phaselock" ability, Maya can trap an enemy in a psychic bubble while others blast away at it.
Salvador (Gunzerker class): A diminutive, rage-filled character whose "Gunzerker" ability boosts his stats for a bit while allowing him the ability to dual-wield any two weapons in his inventory make for a formidable ally.
Zero (Assassin class): Capable of turning invisible thanks to his "Deception" skill, Zero is the team's sniper/trapper. By making use of exploding decoys, Zero can double-back and set up sniper cover on his allies.
Gaige (Mechromancer class): With the ability to summon a giant robotic war machine called Deathtrap onto the battlefield, the Mechromancer is a downloadable character free to those who pre-order, but $9.99 for those who wait.
Eurogamer published an article that referred to one of the Mechromancer's abilities as "girlfriend mode" that essentially makes a player's co-op partner more useful in a firefight, however; Gearbox President Randy Pitchford took to Twitter to decry the use of the term "girlfriend mode" stating " Borderlands 2 does NOT have a girlfriend mode, anyone that says otherwise is misinformed or trying to stir up something that isn't there."
The game will also include a Season Pass, according to Gamezone, which will grant players access to the four planned add-on campaigns, as well as the downloadable character class. October 16, 2012 is the day the Mechromancer will become available for players of "Borderlands 2," nearly a full month after the game's been out, according to Gamezone. All of the content should be released by June, 2013.
Handsome Jack is the villain of the piece, with an army of evil vault hunters at his fingertips. He's the head of the Hyperion corporation, who stole all the credit for the opening of the vault at the end of the first game. He appears to be a healthy mix of cybernetics and organic tissue.
The lovable Claptrap is back, this time under the impression that he's the hero of the game. The character has become something of a cult figure for gamers, with Claptrap being synonymous with the "Borderlands" name after his debut in the original. Snarky and quick-witted, Claptrap communicates with the player through a headset and guides the heroes on their mission.
There will also be guns. Lots and lots of guns. The first game boasted over seventeen million forms of weaponry, and the sequel is looking to up the ante. As of this writing, there is no exact number pertaining to how many guns there are in "Borderlands 2," however; the mad geniuses as Gearbox certainly have some new concepts in mind for delivering an even deeper player experience.
Check out the Handsome Jack trailer below: