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PAX 2012: Borderlands 2 Hands-On

PAX 2012: Borderlands 2 Hands-On

by Catherine CaiApril 17, 2012

Within a small latched off area of the Boston Convention Center, underneath the gaze of a towering, smirking Gunzerker, I picked up a black Xbox controller to demo Borderlands 2. A winding line of hundreds of Borderlands fans peered eagerly into the preview area, patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for hours for a chance to demo the game. With my media pass, I talked to the PR rep and was, within fifteen minutes, holding a black Xbox controller.

I felt like Charlie winning the golden ticket. Sure, I’m not, say, one of the first five demoing Borderlands 2, nor am even one of the first few hundred. But hey, I was getting a chance to get a touch of Borderlands 2. I have no room to brood in angst.

The demo featured the game in two player co-op. Right away, you get either the choice of the Siren or the Gunzerker. As I spent most of my time on Pandora in Borderlands punching in Skag mugs as Brick, the natural choice for me was Salvador the bluing -haired Gunzerker.

For the playthrough, I started off at level 20, with 15 skill points to invest into the ability tree, which is really familiar to the Berserker skill tree. I immediately began pouring points into health regen and health boosts. If I was going to play as the Gunzerker, well then I was going to play the part to the fullest. Salvador was going to get his hands messy with gore.

My companion and I were dropped into a wasteland filled with acidic cesspools, forcing you to watch your step. Gearbox decided to make the simple task of navigating the map a little more difficult for you. In the original game, you’d have a few bandits and skags sprint towards you wherever you tread across the watsteland, but not to an unmanageable extent. Well, Borderlands 2 is bigger, prettier, and a lot harder. New, fly-like enemies are constantly buzzing in your face. Once you’ve swatted away one, another will immediately take its place. As you sprint abot, picking down these flying monsters, sand monsters akin to Mass Effect’s thresher maws (in miniature form, of course) will rise out of the sands, attempting to pull you in to its gaping jaws. To ramp up the challenge even further, Gearbox has done you the favor of making some of them able to electrocute you.

So in between gunning down flies, trying not to be eaten by mini-thresher maws, and picking up the ever important loot, I took a misstep and Salvador accidentally tumbled into a pool of acid. The game immediately let me know that I did a bad thing as my vision was enshrouded in green acid. I ran around, jumping and blindly shooting to avoid enemies, I could hear Salvador roaring into my ears through my headphones. Mm… t’was an unpleasant experience.

From the original to the sequel, things have only improved. The cel-shaded style of Borderlands has been ramped up. No longer is everything the drab browns and grays of the wasteland. Colors are vibrant and pop out, particularly the greens of those deadly acid pits you really want to avoid. Unfortunately, I had only 15 minutes of play time to accommodate for the ridiculous line of people whose trigger fingers were all itching, ready to start blazing away in this revisit to Pandora. However, even with such a brief moment of the game, I’m ready to invest another 100+ hours into the game.

I remember losing sleep to play 14 hours of Borderlands when I first got it and I’m slightly terrified that I’ll attempt the same blood-shot-eyes endeavor whenever I get my hands on the sequel.

About The Author
Catherine Cai
  • halo3knight

    really excited for this!

  • Jokerzwild

    Really looking forward to this game but the alot harder part doesn’t appeal to me in the least. I play games to have fun and relax and getting mad because of difficulty is not fun to me. I hope they allow the mods they did in the 1st.

  • Margery Degarmo

    Gamestop has the 50% further advertising likely on and I wished to know how much I could get for Assassin’s Creed 2 and Borderlands. I would prefer the price tag of the games individually despite the fact that I know Assassin’s Creed 2 will most likely bring in a little bit more. Thank you for any person who assists me out with this

  • Kathleen Frias

    Okay, I have a undertaking because of on the boston convention middle tomorrow, and even if I seemed everywhere, I are unable to locate anything!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, Remember To Answer QUICKLY!

  • Patty Guest


    I am driving to Boston shortly for a 4day keep in the downtown. My resort (and most others) is charging ~$40 for each day for parking.

    Are there any fair overnight parking plenty with in/out service in the downtown if I ebook early?


  • Marcie Carew

    On borderlands, playthrough 2, I only have 2 slots to equip my weapons, why is this?

  • Sonia Gourley

    I genuinely want each of them, but I only have sufficient money for one. I was leaning towards Borderlands because of the multiplayer and guns, but I want Mass Effect 2 since I already have an great multiplayer game. SO confused! Help and inform why.

  • Marcie Thach

    I want to perform borderlands on Xbox 360 on xbox live, but with 2 players on the 1 console (like you can in halo) and other buddies online. Can this be done? and if not are there any other video games you know of that can do this?

  • Amy Lemaster

    I have a ps3 and I imagined borderlands was amazing. I heard one thing about Borderlands 2 being referred to as Borderworlds. Does any individual know if they have explained when they are releasing the new one. or in which I could discover any details about it?

  • Joanne Mefford

    Hi, I will attend DMA 2011 from Australia and would like to know how to get there from Millennium Bostonian Hotel. It ‘s my initial time journey to Boston / USA..
    Thanks… Naiko
    415 Summer Season St. I didn’t know there are two convention centres.. Thank you !

  • Maricela Rothrock

    I’m going to go buy a new game tomorrow and I am debating between Borderlands or Gears of War 2
    which one should i get?

  • ibjammin44

    Attending OnDemand Expo April 16-19 and would like to find an inexpensive hotel outside central district or near the Airport that has train access (late night, early morning) to the BCEC. Willing to travel up to hour or so each way from Hotel to BCEC. Thanks!

  • Sophia C

    I might get a chance to go to a conference in Boston next month which will be at a downtown convention centre. The standard way of doing things would be to have the company pay for an standard (i.e. expensive) downtown hotel near the convention centre. However, what’s the fun in that? I’d much rather have to take the T each day. Do you have any suggestions where else I might stay? Easy access to the subway is a must, and the budget requirement is that the rate is no more than a standard (nice) downtown hotel.

  • JDOGG1122

    after i finished the game and beat the final monster, i then teleported back to fyrestone..does that mean i’m already starting playthrough 2? if not, how do i start p2?

  • Boo Cookie

    Just wondering, and no LeBron haters.

  • DuckieM10

    I want to play borderlands on Xbox 360 on xbox live, but with 2 players on the one console (like you can in halo) and other friends online. Can this be done? and if not are there any other games you know of that can do this?

  • Spider Pc

    I want a song list for the game. I rented it and liked some of the tracks it had, and I wanted to download some. Also, there is one I like that have arcade game- like tones at the beginning. Point that one out with the list. Thanks!

  • Lasagna delivery guy

    Now I know its fun to be the GM of your team, but doesn’t it get boring after a while?

  • Praveen

    or are there features missing/ is the gameplay not as good?

  • The Inc

    I got nba 2k games but i can’t find out the trick button is there one? if there is…what is it?

  • zaclo

    Gamestop has the 50% extra promotion going on and I wanted to know how much I could get for Assassin’s Creed 2 and Borderlands. I would prefer the price of the games individually although I know Assassin’s Creed 2 will probably bring in a bit more. Thank you for anyone who helps me out with this

  • Tyler H

    I’m going to go buy a new game tomorrow and I am debating between Borderlands or Gears of War 2
    which one should i get?

  • Jon P

    I have played NBA 2K3 and NBA 2K1 and I was wondering if Franchise Mode stops at some point after you have been with the team for a while or if it just keeps going on forever and ever as long as you keep playing the game. I played NBA 2K1 once and went as far as the 2010-2011 season. I have played 2K3 lately and I’m on the 2016-2017 season trying to get a 15th championship as the Boston Celtics with Paul Pierce still on the team.

  • Mark M

    Here’s mine:

    2008 Celtics
    2002 Nets
    2001 Lakers
    2001 76ers
    2004 Pacers
    2004 Pistons
    2002 Magics
    1993 Suns
    2002 Celtics

  • borabora5524

    I was reading this article on the Boston Globe about the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

    I don’t understand it all. Here are my questions:

    “Our goal is to be in a position to file whatever legislation we need in the first quarter of 2011. State and city approvals would be needed, a lot of environmental review, a lot of public process.”

    What does “file whatever legislation we need” mean?

    “If I was to hang out a goal for when I’d like to open the doors on some of these elements, it would be in the 2015 to 2017 time frame.”

    When the MCCA director James Rooney says that, does he mean the convention center opens if the proposal is approved, or does it mean something else?

    I will appreciate detailed answers. Thank you.

  • Scorch Delta-62

    Is there a convenient subway path or should I do taxi?
    What is estimated cost of cab? Do they charge by mile or time?

    Thanks in advance…….. flying in from CA tomorrow.