Earlier this week, we awarded Borderlands 2 our Best Shooter and Best Art Style awards for Gearbox’s showing at E3. This was our third time wrapping our paws around the game’s silky smooth controls, but this time was just a little bit different. In addition to Maya (the Siren) and Salvador (the poster child Gunzerker), we were finally allowed to take control of Zero (the Assassin) and Axton (the Commando). Unfortunately, both my co-op partner and I wanted to mete out some long-range death, meaning I only have some follow-up tips from Gearbox on how the Commando’s turret differs from Roland’s in Borderlands.

They told me that the Scorpio 2.0 turret improves on the original with a full 360 degree range of motion, as opposed to a limited cone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good look at the skill trees. Had I known my compatriot was picking Zero also, I would have altered my own decision. Hopefully, we’ll get one more crack at the title before it ships.

Zero, though, I can speak about. The stealthy assassin’s activated ability leaves a doppelgänger in his place slashing and taunting foes. This gives players the opportunity to dive out of harm’s way or sneak up and attack from behind. It’s particularly useful for enemies that are armored from the front, which seems to be far more prevalent this time out. A number of his skills focus on his melee attack (swords are cool). I preferred to spend points on his marksmanship, building up to a skill that increased critical hit chance the longer I was aiming down the sights. This worked out quite nicely with the Maliwan electric rifle I was given, especially since we ended up going toe to toe with some very large bots.

The demo level took place in a large plaza, with Claptrap barking orders at us. Apparently, we’re his minions so… there’s that. Our mission, and Claptrap made sure that we would accept it, was to find and repair a disabled floating robot. Of course, if it were that easy, it wouldn’t be Borderlands. Once reaching the bot, we were told to escort it (a new mission type) around the plaza to cut down statues of Handsome Jack. The charmingly amusing antagonist had quite a bit of dialog, and I can already tell he’s going to be elected to the Bad Guy Hall of Fame. He’s the kind of villain gamers love to hate.

With each statue demolished, Jack’s ire grew. However, he never lost the Spider-Man-esque quippy approach, which induced giggles. I felt like a child needling a substitute teacher with each act of insubordination, and I loved it.

As part of the escort mission, there seemed to be a bonus objective. The final check box had a plus sign next to it, instructing us to keep our charge’s health above 50%. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do so (probably due to a lack of diversity in skills), and I can only assume that additional loot and experience await for those that accomplish these supplemental tasks.

Much like past Borderlands 2 demos, this one ended shortly after a fight broke out with a boss. This time, it was Jupiter, an enormous robotic monstrosity that worked quite diligently to blow us off the face of Pandora. He was huge, we were small. We’ll have to wait until the game comes out to finish that fight.

As always, Borderlands 2 is an exhilarating and enjoyable experience. The art style has matured greatly since the series’ first entry (we did give it an award for that), and the music and voice acting, not to mention the variety in the sounds of firearms, are all holding up to or surpassing expectations. September 18 can’t get here soon enough, because I just want to wreak insane havoc with a bazillion guns.


      • It’s not about eloquence per-se, but about spelling and punctuation. Your grammar was fine. Also I’m a reader, not a writer. It’s *your* job to get it right, not mine.

        That said, you knew enough to hyphenate Spider-Man, but managed to leave the “n” out, so it reads “Spider-Ma-esque”. Then you later wrote “…an enormous robotic monstrosity that worked quite diligently to blow us **owe** the face of Pandora.” Pretty blatant errors for a professional writer to make, but you nailed “Doppelgänger”, which leads me to believe these are just proofing errors. Your overuse of commas however, is not. Glad to see you’re so open to critique and not arrogant in any way though. Best of luck on the next one.

        • Actually, I’m pretty grateful when people can point me toward specific typos in a piece, so thanks for being specific. I’ll go back through and correct right away.

          While it’s no excuse, by way of explanation, I came back from E3 sick as a dog and was trying to get as much of the content out there as possible. Should I have read through again before scheduling? Absolutely.

          As for overuse of commas, many of them are grammatically correct. A lot of writers don’t use quite so many because they think it looks ugly. Compound sentences, parenthetical phrases, asides and more should all be denoted by commas.

          Usually, I try to rework my sentences or cut asides when I see it getting too comma-heavy. Again, in a situation where I was responsible for 20+ E3 articles, proofing every other piece going up and still writing regular news articles, I made a few errors.

          My response was regarding your tone. Valid critique is always appreciated; rudeness is not.

          • “Valid critique is always appreciated; rudeness is not.”
            Can’t argue with that.
            Comma use, to me, isn’t about aesthetics; I just feel that like anything, too much of a good thing can be bad. For example,
            “Apparently, we’re his minions so… there’s that. Our mission, and Claptrap made sure that we would accept it, was to find and repair a disabled floating robot. Of course, if it were that easy, it wouldn’t be Borderlands.”
            I’m not saying you’re wrong and I’m right (this time around), but I would write it like this, “Apparently we’re his minions so… there’s that. Our mission -and Claptrap made sure that we would accept it- was to find and repair a disabled floating robot. Of course, if it were that easy it wouldn’t be Borderlands.”
            That sucks you got sick before you had to write 20+ articles, that must’ve been…fun.

          • It was a thrilling experience.

            The reason why I didn’t use emdashes (because you would never use endashes to set off asides) is that it technically isn’t proper. While the tone of this piece was more conversational than others, I still try to avoid their use.

            As an aside, endashes are only used for a period of time (1990-2000). Emdashes, which look like this — are used colloquially, but never with a space on either side. Had I used them, it would have read,

            “Our mission—and Claptrap made sure that we would accept it—was to find and repair a disabled floating robot.”

            If anything, I should have put that parenthetical phrase in parenthesis to cut down on comma use. Again, I try not to do that quite so much because commas are technically grammatically correct.

            Appreciate the civil discourse. Hope beneath the typos that the information was useful. Sorry that I couldn’t dig up more on Axton’s turret.

          • Yeah, I couldn’t find how to input an emdash so I used an endash. I guess I should’ve used two. You already used parantheses a fair amount, that’s why I suggested the emdash. I suppose, in hindsight, that it *is* in fact somewhat a matter of aesthetics in that sense; I wanted to see something different.
            I’m kind of a grammar nazi, and I had spent a while looking for a decent review of the game so I was on edge a wee bit. So, sorry about that. It *was* informative though. Much more so than the other articles I found. I just wish (as you said) that there had been two different characters playing, or in the best case, all of them. Seems like showcasing the diversity of the classes would make for a strong selling point. I know the co-op feature is a main selling point for me.

          • Glad that we ironed this out. I greatly appreciate meeting and talking with another grammar hardass. :)

            If you are interested in our takes on Maya and Salvador, we’ve talked about them both in prior previews.

            Press first hands-on preview: http://ripten.com/2012/04/04/gearbox-fulfilling-promise-of-tuned-nuanced-borderlands-2/

            Press first hands-on interview: http://ripten.com/2012/04/05/ripten-interview-talking-borderlands-2-characters-missions-and-scooters-mom-with-gearbox/

            Hopefully that will help answer some of the more in-depth questions about Maya and Salvador.

            I also got hands-on with the game at PAX East, but it was nearly identical (just shorter) than the press hands-on.