Saturday 18 August 2012

Borderlands 2 Fan Preview Night in Singapore

Apologies for the late post. I know there are a few of you that are waiting for my post on the Borderlands night but my home laptop crashed just a few days ago. Not a good time to crash, but then again there is no such thing as a good time for a laptop to crash. Oh well.. finally got the time to write about it.

2k Games Asia organized a Borderlands 2 Fan Preview Night in Singapore on 16th August from 7pm - 9pm and a select few Facebook fans were given a chance to attend. Of course, yours truly was there as well.

Held at the newly opened Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, this was the first ever time I'm attending a gaming event and my first visit to the Gardens, a fantastic attraction. Rushing down to the event from work with a friend, who is also part of my Borderlands Gang of 4, I had no time to soak in the atmosphere.  So straight down to the venue. 

After some light refreshments to fill our hungry stomachs, we were ready to go.  Chris, one of the developers, who worked on the game was at the event to give us a lowdown on the new features in the game as well as give us a preview on the game-play.

First up, one of the bosses we will be up against, Terramorphous. Remember Crawmerax? The huge boss that a lot of us kept going up against over and over again, just for the loot that he drops. The reasoning behind Terramorphous was probably due to how popular Crawmerax runs were. Terramorphous is huge, really huge and his life-bar seems to be a whole load more than his predecessor. 

The Gunzerker was the class used to show off this part of the demo. After throwing everything he had, Chris urged us to take a look at the Terramorphous' health bar. A second huge roar of laughter filled the room. (The first was when the Gunzerker flashed his 2 fingers mid-air, between firing shots away. I think it's safe to say, we all know which 2 fingers were used.)  The health bar barely moved. Vault hunters are going to need all the assistance we can get. But this where the best of the best loots drop, if you can beat him, that is.

Who did the audience want to see next? Being the most different of the new classes, Zero, the assassin was called out. After a quick implementation of codes, which we won't be able to do as the developer pointed out after someone asked if we will able to use cheats, Zero was ready. His clone move and quick-attack move was shown. Somehow, I can't seem to remember much about Zero. I must still have been fascinated by Gunzerker's finger-flash, in between eyeing the Claptrap and Psycho Bandit action figures that were up for prizes.

Customization in Borderlands 2 was another feature we got a look at. While the first game had basic customization like change of colours, the sequel has improved. Apart from colours, there will be skins. One of the skins shown for Zero looked like an alien, somehow it reminded me of the Alien Workshop brand that I loved when I was a kid. Some of these customization options will only be available after defeating certain bosses or specific challenges and quests.

Attendees also got a glimpse of the Mechromancer class which will only be available for pre-order copies. The Mechromancer is still a work in-progress but we got to see her special ability which calls out a robot called a Deathtrap that does huge damage. One of it's attacks seems to be some sort of blast that sends it's enemies flying. Pretty cool! I might consider the Mechromancer as my 2nd character once she's ready.

There was a quiz where the Claptrap and Bandit figures that I was eyeing were up for prizes. No luck for me though.  After that, the demo stations were open for all to try out 4 player co-op and we were free to throw more questions at the developer.

How long will be the game? While Chris didn't actually give a specific length, he did say the script for the sequel was a way lot more than the 1st game.

Will there be vehicles? Yes there will. One of the buggies from the prequel will be making a return. I'm assuming it's the first one. There will also be a 4-man vehicle with 1 driver, 1 manning the turret and 2 players at the back who will be able to shoot freely. Needless to say, you will need a good driver. 

My dear friend, you know who you are! If you are reading this, you are banned from driving when we co-op. I don't want to go tumbling down a cliff again!

Will there be pearlescent weapons? This was a popular question. Yes there will be, but it's going to be legendary weapons this time. The best of the best. According to Chris, not only are they going to have bad-ass stats but they are going to look bad-ass. Looking at them on the floor, you will know they are legendary weapons, apart from the distinctive colour. 

What's the max level? Still seems to be 50 at the moment, but it may rise with future DLC.

How will the difficulty be scaled with multi-player? One of the questions I asked ;) Difficulty will be scaled according to the host's level as well as the no. of allies. The more the allies, the tougher it gets. But wouldn't it be tough for a level 1 player if he were to join a level 20 player's game? The developer's reply was yes. Gearbox software has allowed flexibility for players who want to power-level by joining a higher-level game. Though this isn't the most optimal experience, they decided to allow it should the player decides to do so.

After fishing out most of the info that I wanted to know, I thanked Chris and decided to check out the co-op sessions. On first look, the UI and gameplay seems similar to the first game. You still get loot drops from enemies, buy weapons, ammo and other accessories from vending machines.

When it was my turn to try, I was a bit lost at first. A bit? No, I was totally lost. Looking at the game it seemed easy to pick up but having not played Borderlands 1 for some time, I was lost. Add that to the fact that it was a XBox 360 controller in my hand. Being a PS3 owner, this felt alien to me. The other guys were already in position waiting and I was still fumbling around. But after what seemed like ages, I managed to get used to the controls and I was taking down the enemies twice as fast as the rest. (Why twice? Gunzerker's dual ability of course!)

The level we got to try seems to be somewhat like a mini-arena. All 4 players get into position and the arena starts. Waves of enemies come out at you. Kill them all and you complete the wave. Go stock up and come back for the next. I believe you get to collect a reward after each wave. 

The enemies' AI definitely seems to have been improved. Not that the first game was easy, but you can notice some differences. Some of the robots seem to protect others with a shield. This is one aspect the developers have been talking about. Enemies in Borderlands are more intelligent and can work together to take you down.

The session finally came to an end, but not before another round of quiz where Borderlands bags were up for grabs. Managed to grab myself one!

My very own loot bag!

After posing for a group photo, the night was over. I have been anticipating Borderlands 2 ever since it's announcement but after this session, I'm excited. It reminded me of all the fun I had in the first game and this was going to be bigger and better! I will be playing Gunzerker, his dual-wield(as well as his dual-finger) ability is going to be lots of fun. After playing Brick mainly in the first game, I will be sticking with his successor.

There isn't much changed in the sequel, but that's not a bad thing. UI and gameplay are similar. Quest progress still shows up in the top right hand corner. However, there is a mini-map radar above that which I don't remember seeing in the first game, which helps. Players don't have to press a button to bring up the map anymore. As mentioned before, enemy AI has improved. There's going to be a lot more weapons. A bigger game, more characters. Borderlands 2 definitely looks great. Of course, this game is best played with friends.

Those who loved the first, will definitely love this one. For those who hated the game, I don't believe this is going to convince you otherwise. 

Kudos to 2k Games Asia for organizing this event right here in Singapore. They have been actively promoting their games and the 2 main people, Chris and Diana, have been very friendly and approachable. They will also be working on NBA 2k13 and XCom so do keep a lookout for more events and contests on their Facebook page.  Hoping to see more events like these from them as well as other publishers.

In fact, they are having a contest on Facebook right now with a chance to win the 2 action figures that I was talking about. Don't forget to vote for me too as well, all votes are greatly appeciated!
Link to contest
Do vote for me as well!

Photos from the event