Borderlands 2 Refines, Expands, Adds Badass Ranks

Gearbox's role-playing shooter sequel shows off hub town Sanctuary and career-tracking, stat-boosting Badass Ranks.

A radical departure from Borderlands this sequel is not. But you don't go back to the drawing board when your first game hits on a winning blend of punchy gunplay and compulsive, massively multiplayer online-style loot chasing, nor when it shifts a surprise 6 million copies and several cartloads of DLC.

Borderlands 2, then, is more about expansion and refinement and less about novelty. "[The original game] required invention because no one had really done that before," says Gearbox's Randy Pitchford. "Borderlands 2 gets to benefit from all that being figured out. It knows the strengths of Borderlands 1, and it can double down and invest in that more."

Twice as Much Money, Twice as Much Stuff

It doubles down by doubling up; this is a game exploded to twice the size of the original by a budget twice as large, says Pitchford, meaning more guns, more enemies, and more Pandora.

That's not to say it is invention-free. In the Vault Hunter's box of tricks are novelties such as slag, an elemental effect that coats baddies with a goopy purple debuff, and explosively disposable Tediore guns which, when empty, can be tossed like a giant grenade.

The classes of the four new playable characters, meanwhile, now emphasise skills rather than weapon specialties. This leaves you freer to experiment with different types of weapon while you sink experience points into one of your character's three distinctive skill trees, each of which enhances their class-specific ability.

Stab Anyone, Dual-Wield Anything

Axton the commando, your workaday soldier, can lob an upgradable turret onto the wasteland battlefield. Tucked away in the skill trees of the masked assassin Zer0, on the other hand, are various skills engineered for flashy, ninja-style melee and, at the end of one branch, a nifty holographic decoy.

Salvador the gunzerker is a gun-loving mini hulk; he will dual-wield any combination of boomsticks you care to put in his hands, and can be geared towards an aggro-grabbing tank or an all-out damage dealer. Maya the siren, last of all, has the swirly power of phaselock, with which she can fix an enemy in place. In one of her skill trees, this power can be specialised to heal and revive friendlies, or to steal enemies' health.

A glimpse of Sanctuary, the game's first hub town, reveals a big burg packed with returning characters--among them Roland, Marcus, Lilith, and Dr Zed--and wandering civilians, playable slot machines, gun vending machines, and Quick Change character customisation booths. The crisply cel-shaded settlement, all cool blues and neon bar signs by night, is buzzy and alive in a way the last game's hubs couldn't quite muster.

They Heard You Like RPGs (So They Put an RPG in Your RPG)

The game's Badass Ranks, finally, are wholly new to Borderlands. These ranks track and reward your whole Borderlands 2 career's worth of progress, letting you accrue badass points while you level up a character, then carry them over into new characters, permanently boosting crucial stats while you max out hero after hero.

Pitchford says dedicated players will clock up hundreds or thousands of ranks, calling the system a kind of "meta-RPG" masterstroke on top of the existing RPG-ness of progression in Borderlands 2. If you couldn't tear yourself away from Borderlands back in 2009 and 2010, this is the face of your new addiction: persistent, cross-character levelling. See you on Pandora in September.

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Discussion

38 comments
Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

The first game was lengthy even without the dlc so If this Is twice the size Its going to be great value for money.

maximo
maximo

This game looks amazing. I can't wait to get my mits on this.

 

Im startign of as a Gunzerker. Looks like loads of fun

CalamityKate
CalamityKate

Ah, interesting.  At about 2:37, you can see the player switching among three different skins for the Gunzerker.  That will be a nice feature if it's available for all classes rather than a small amount of palette swapping of the clothing.

 

This is a must buy for me, and one that, if it's anything like the first one, will be replayed a lot as I acquire new weapons and mods. 

wezkilla
wezkilla

Launch release is going to be a Game of the Year edition right off the bat 

broost1
broost1

thinking at start of vid, looks like more shallow as a teaspoon npc interaction, but then i thought, as randy was saying about the omission of dialogue wheels...i'm so freakin over dialogue wheels, such a gimmick.  In Me3 there were 2 or 3 times in the whole game where you had to really make an important game changing decision...and you dont need dialogue wheels just for that. having to sit through conversations between characters with less believable expression on their faces than someone who's had 10 bouts of plastic surgery, kinda had enough of that.  I hope they've put in more cool characters, dialogue and interaction but am glad they haven't tried to get too rpg heavy. more gameplay/character customisation is spot on.        

Trinitarian
Trinitarian

i was turned off from the first game cause of modders and the fact that every time i joined up with 3 other players either i was too high or too low of a level so things were just imbalanced. I hope these issues are addressed cause this game is looking pretty good.

Mabrry
Mabrry

Gonna be a blast in coop. Love how having Borderlands 1 saved data gets us free, decent looking costumes to wear too. Bumped ;D

DarthLod
DarthLod

Really dont care about ranks and stats, nor playing the game through more than once. It already takes ALOT just to do it once.

jayd02
jayd02

"Let me know when your done with that job."  I love this game so much and it isn't even out yet.  Everything about this game just screams awesome and amazing.

hapool
hapool

Finally , a game that worths waiting

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

Friggin awesome!!!!! Randy is the MAN!  And not the totalitarian fascist government kinda man.... like, you know, a badass cool guy. :P

armedvigilante
armedvigilante

I love you like a bro Randy. I wish i knew that guy personally

NikIvRu
NikIvRu

Finally a game that doesn't have anything negative to announce. 

BlackaliciousX
BlackaliciousX

This is the only recent game (2yrs) that I will be tolerating the pre-order BS to ensure I can play it day 1. Sigh, I just wish publisher weren't so hell bent on alienating customers to make a few extra bucks. Borderlands 1 is pretty much the reason I bought a ps3... Just give the extras to everyone, I assure you the game will still fly off shelves.

Sydrum
Sydrum

BEST CO-OP GAME IN HISTORY = BORDERLANDS

Overlord93
Overlord93

I can tell this game is going to give me vitamin D deficiency

dbzrulez77
dbzrulez77

sweet two months can not wait. looks better then the first one in every way........

skrewdNtat2d
skrewdNtat2d

Loved the first, cant wait for this one!!!!

TrueGB
TrueGB

Yet another one of my systems have found its way into a game, so it's gonna greater than great.

 

What I really want to know is whether or not the default pre-order bonuses are available to all retailers. Is it just PC or can I get it on Xbox? I don't really care about GameSpot's pre-order bonuses, but I'd sure love to have that 5th class.

TheGenereux
TheGenereux

Can't wait to play this. Sounds awesome all-round.

deadpeasant
deadpeasant

Come on september! I hope there will be more claptrap interaction in this game to!

arruu2000
arruu2000

i loved Borderlands...  But i don't know why i have a terrible feeling about this game.

auntbessie
auntbessie

I got into Bordelands late, it had been out for quite some time when I bought it just for something to do and I loved it, can't wait for the sequel

jpm1276
jpm1276

This game is going to BLOW MINDS!!

Retro-Ninja
Retro-Ninja

It looks good. I hope the quest system is deeper. 

734M4n9
734M4n9

Wow, that guy's really excited about his game.

Like, legitimately excited, not "Hi, I'm a PR guy, and I'm excited about my game. You should buy it."

 

Anddd now I'm excited too.

Nodashi
Nodashi

 @DarthLod I'll probably play once with each class. But yeah, that idea of repeating the same game ad nauseam makes me sick (pun intended).

broost1
broost1

 @734M4n9 yup and the same goes with transformers; a big part of the reason why both games are my most anticipated for probably the past 2 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

 @734M4n9 Pitchford is great to listen too, always seems so genuinely enthusiastic