Matt Arnold

Writing Samples

Guns, Guts and Dual-Wielding Mayhem: Hands-on with Borderlands 2

The return to Pandora is nearly upon us. Borderlands 2, the sequel to the widely popular first-person role playing shooter that revolutionized the RGP genre, will be released later this year. Will it live up to the mass appeal of the first game? Based on the fifteen minute demo that 2K Games and Gearbox Software allowed thousands of gamers to get their hands on at PAX East 2012, I believe it will.

After playing through the exciting and fast-paced demo of Borderlands 2 at PAX, I must say that Gearbox has certainly stepped it up when it comes to improving the overall gameplay experience of the first game. There are more guns to pick up, new and intriguing characters to play as and a plethora of unique, ferocious enemies to constantly keep you on your toes. Though there are many new features that have been introduced in this sequel, the original feel and unique cell-shaded animation of the first game that so many gamers fell in love with still remains.

One of the first aspects of the demo that stood out was the sheer amount of enemies. Baddies crawled hastily toward me from all directions while many burst out of the ground, intent on reducing my health down to nothing. The unexpected spawn locations of these enemies kept me frantically scanning the map at all times. Regarding the enemies, the Crystalisk, a giant three-legged spider-like creature, was the most difficult to kill. This foe in particular required me to aim for the blue crystals located on each of its legs, which was its weak point. Just like the first Borderlands, after defeating this resilient enemy, excessive amounts of delicious loot, including guns and ammo, poured from the disintegrating carcass of the Crystalisk.

To continue, challenged with the daunting task of trying to figure out the controls of the game while progressing through the level, I played as the Gunzerker, spawning with an assault rifle, an SMG, a sniper and the weapon I came to love the most, a shotgun. I found myself desperately trying to fend off hordes of enemies as I pounced around the scenic and corrosive post-apocalyptic environments of "Caustic Caverns." During the middle of the demo during a combat situation where I was overwhelmed by enemies, I activated the special skill of the Gunzerker: dual-wielding. Immediately after doing this, I felt energized as I held down the right and left triggers on my controller, happily spraying down any opponent that was unfortunate enough to locate themselves within my line of fire.

Towards the end of the demo, I began to utilize a shotgun/submachine gun combination, weakening enemies from afar with the SMG, and then finishing them off at close range with the shotgun. I found that the shotgun packed the most punch, especially with the smaller enemies, which is why it was my favorite weapon to use throughout the demo. Borderlands 2 is sure to not disappoint fans of the first game or those who are just trying it out for the first time. It includes all of the elements that gamers came to know and love from the original Borderlands, as well as adds new skills, characters, environments and guns to provide a fresh, exciting experience. The 4 player co-op is very solid and will be sure to keep everyone coming back for more. I will definitely be picking this game up at midnight when it is released on September 18. Will you? Leave a comment in the section below.

Finally, don't forget to pre-order Borderlands 2 to gain access to the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club, where you will receive in-game items such as the Golden Key, the Vault Hunter's Relic and a set of special Gearbox golden guns to add to your in-game inventory! Also, you can now choose to pre-order the normal edition of the game ($59.99), the Deluxe Vault Hunter Collector's Edition ($99.99), and the Ultimate Loot Chest Edition ($150.00), which includes everything from the Vault Hunter Collector's Edition as well as a Borderlands loot chest replica.