I’ve played Borderlands 2 and now I’m going to review it. There are some caveats: it wasn’t the final version, and since I’m not under any embargo, I can get away with posting my opinion on the game without retribution. We at FleshEatingZipper work super hard to get early review copies so that you can enjoy an early opinion without having to look at a newspaper or magazine or even other web sites. Well, we let you down with Borderlands 2 and we want to make up for it in the best way possible.
So here’s what I was thinking: I loved the original Borderlands and I wanted to review the sequel. Makes sense, right? Back in July, which was probably waaaaay too late for a September release, I put in a request for a review copy.
I was wondering if we could get in the review grid for Borderlands 2, we would love to provide some hands-on coverage as it launches. Anything you got would help!
Simple enough, yeah? I’m not even picky about what platform or physical versus digital, we just want to be able to provide a review for our readers. THQ, Activision, and Square-Enix are great partners, we thought 2K would be eager to join us, too. I really like 2K’s games and even though we’re hardly the goliath that is Game Informer or IGN, we still have a say and people trust our opinions. Within a few days, I got confirmation. Well, not really confirmation, but it was confirmation enough for me.
Thanks for reaching out to us. I have made a note of your Borderlands 2 request.
Cool! Now we just sit back and wait for the holiday to start rolling in and hopefully get a headstart on the NeRDS that will murder us all. Well, this past week, all the major outlets started to receive their review copies and, per embargo instructions, allowed them to tweet that they had gotten their copies. On this week’s Giant Bombcast, EIC Jeff Gerstmann explained that they had received a number of review copies across various platforms, even. Probably enough copies to test out the game’s co-op mode, a huge factor in any Borderlands 2 purchase. Granted, they were probably sharing a few with mega-titan Gamespot, but still. What’s the working man to do? Well, we haven’t received a copy of Borderlands 2 and so, unfortunately, we’re just not gonna be able to provide that pre-release flava’ that you sava’. Randy Pitchford explains the sitch from his end as head of developer Gearbox to another media outlet in the same position:
Well, it’s not a complete loss: I did actually play the game.
Oh, Right, That Review I Promised
Remember when we went to E3? I talked to 2K at their booth and, after e-mails leading up to the show had failed, managed to snag last-minute presentations of both Borderlands 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown in their booth on the final day. I was extremely grateful. Now, I am a large man and my physical output consists of walking to my car, then from my car to my desk, which means I walk about an eighth of a mile a day. This turned E3 into a cruel punishment from God Himself. Naturally, I’d do it all over again, but in that moment, I hated life.
About twenty minutes before my appointment, I snuck into the 2K booth’s media lounge where a line had already formed. Of course, everything was running a bit behind schedule so we stood there. I think I had a couch or something to lean against because I think my legs would’ve exploded. We were finally let into the dark wedge-shaped room where demo stations were fixed onto large pipes that were reminiscient of the Borderlands theme. Of course, there were no seats of any kind. Donning the headphones, I spent half my demo time finding a way to not collapse in agony. You may laugh at me (and I definitely deserve it) but this was after three days of E3 and a full day of conferences. You’d be in some pain, too! (Probably not!)
Anyway, so the game. We were playing in some facility and there was another player with me. The headset didn’t work or something because never once did I hear or communicate with the human on the other side. The game is still gorgeous and the art direction is amazing. Cel shading makes more sense than ever, being one of the biggest reasons I loved the original Borderlands. So we’re wandering from area to area in this big concrete park and it’s basically a big escort mission as this robot does its thing going from point to point. I remember blowing up statues and the villain, Handsome Jack, chiding us over the comm. We went back and forth for about twenty minutes blowing up stuff when the rep told me the session was over. Because we’d been delayed, we didn’t have an opportunity to finish the demo in time to get our free personalized gun from the game. Still, I was happy for the opportunity to see it and extremely thankful that XCOM was shown in a theater with benches.
Guys, it’s Borderlands. If there were some significant tweaks they’ve added since the first game, I didn’t have enough time to notice or care about them during my play time. Unfortunately, as brief and inconclusive as this review was, we were warned that the situation wasn’t going to be any different for XCOM’s release because of, y’know, demand. I guess we’ll just have to pre-review that game based on how much I loved the original, being my favorite game of all time and all, and what I saw in 2K’s booth later that day.
We hope you found this more substantial and wish-fulfilling than we did!