Borderlands 2 hands on preview: it just keeps piling on the crazy
The first Borderlands game wasn’t exactly short of crazy. Thanks to the screaming midgets, deranged alien planet settlers and insane guns it was a lot like that weird dream you had. Only with more burning and less Amanda Seyfried.
Number 2 has upped its game, turning out the kind of experience that gets responses like, “I’m sorry, what…?” when you try to explain it. The screaming midgets now come tied to other enemies’ for example. There are also new Goliath opponents who only get angrier when you shoot their heads off; getting all ‘hulk smash’ on everything within fist range as their brains flap around on a length of spinal cord. And then there’s Tiny Tina. She likes dolls’ tea parties. And bombs.
Imagine an eleven-year-old crazy-eyed Tank Girl with a voice swinging between an angry exorcist baritone and a ‘DADDY BOUGHT ME A PONY’ squeal. There’s a fair amount of Snoop Dogg patois in there too. ‘Shizzle’ is mentioned and things are potentially ‘off the hook’. As characters go you’re going to have an instant reaction to her.
Personally I like her because I like Borderlands and that involves buying into the crazy no questions asked. The colourful art style isn’t just about looks, it pervades personality of the world, the story and the weapons. When a game’s tag line talks about ‘joy puking your face off’ you can basically drop kick subtlety onto another planet. If you made a Saturday morning kids cartoon about shooting people with flaming bullets this would be it.
Except, wait. For a game that makes a feature of attacking you with midgets, or searching toilets for ammo, there’s a satisfying edge to the combat. Enemies divide into catagories. Yer basic bandits, little people and smaller creatures are basically just noise – target practice for guns that can incinerate, electrocute or corrode on top of the actual shooting.