HOLY SKAGSUCK! Borderlands 2 Coming to PlayStation Vita in 2014


It’s confirmed, looters and shooters; Borderlands 2 is coming to the PlayStation Vita in 2014!

As announced on 2K Games’ web site, they have been working closely with Sony to bring the loot-and-shoot game to a portable platform, and it looks as if that endeavor is bearing fruit.

No details have been released as of yet, but it’s safe to assume that players will be able to join cooperatively with three other Vault Hunters over ad-hoc and WiFi. The game is also stated to take advantage of the Vita’s unique features. Given the trend in recent game ports to include released DLC out of the box, we may get to play as Gaige and Krieg on day one, as well as taking the adventure to the game’s add-on story content.

This announcement helps to bolster the other impressive offerings Sony presented at GamesCom this year. For the full run-down, be sure to check out our conference recap here.

The game is due out in 2014. Stick with us as we continue to cover this and other exciting developments!

Ken Levine is Bringing Us Back To Rapture, And Beyond

BioShock Infinite

Ken Levine has long promised there will be multiple story based DLCs for BioShock Infinite, and he is delivering on that promise as of now. The first of BioShock Infinite’s three promised DLCs is finished and goes on sale today! The official description of today’s DLC “Bioshock Infinite: Clash in The Clouds” reads as follows:

“BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds, developed by Irrational Games, is an action-focused downloadable content pack that presents players with a series of unique, intense challenges and a whole new gambit of combat opportunities. Players will combine a diverse toolset of weapons, Vigors, gear, Tears and Sky-Lines in four new areas inspired by the classic BioShock Infinite environments. In addition, by completing all 60 Blue Ribbon challenges, players will unlock exclusives in the Columbian Archeological Society, gaining access to new Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, concept art and more.”

The second DLC named “Burial at Sea” with be a two part melodrama. There is no official release date but Ken Levine stated that Part One would arrive this year. The description of Burial At The Sea is as follows:

“BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is a two-part add-on campaign featuring an all-new story for Booker and Elizabeth, set in the underwater city of Rapture before its fall. Burial at Sea is set on New Year’s Eve, 1958, the night of the bombing that was the beginning of the end for Rapture. In the first episode you play as Booker, and then in the second episode you play as Elizabeth.”

These two campaigns will be available individually for $15.00 (1200 Microsoft Points), and are also included as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

The downloadable content for BioShock Infinite looks to set a new standard for story DLC, and there is no better team to pull of this feat than Irrational Games. Check below for Ken Levine’s full statement regarding the just announced DLC.

“We are really excited to offer our fans the content that they have been asking for,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “With Clash in the Clouds, people get a pure action experience that takes BioShock Infinite combat to its highest challenge and intensity level. With the Burial at Sea episodes, we are building a Rapture-based narrative experience that is almost entirely built from scratch.”

[Source: 2K PR E-mail]

Bioshock Infinite Review (PS3/360): “To Infinity and Beyond”


Bioshock Infinite is a first-person shooter that was developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Easily one of this year’s most anticipated games, BioShock Infinite seeks to take us from the horror and action of the murky depths in Rapture, and whisk you up into the floating city of Columbia. Despite its vibrant facade, underneath the surface holds dark secrets and menacing plans just as its underwater contemporary did. Bioshock Infinite suffered several delays since being announced in August of 2010. Luckily, that hasn’t stopped Irrational Games from crafting another enormous story-driven journey. However, does Bioshock Infinite live up to all the latest hype and string of perfect scores? Lets dive…no, lets fly into this review and see!

Story: 5/5

Bioshock Infinite has to feature one of the most elaborate stories to grace a console in this generation. The story not only makes you care for the main characters involved, but really challenges your mind through science and philosophy. Rest assured, this isn’t an undergrad philosophy class but the game does brush onto metaphysics more than once. The gamer’s choices and parallel universes in this game are set in the year 1912. The main character in Bioshock Infinite is Booker DeWitt, a man who has been hired to bring back a girl named Elizabeth, who has special abilities. He is bringing her to New York in order to pay back a debt. The hook is that Elizabeth is currently on the floating city of Columbia and when Mr. DeWitt arrives on this magical city, he soon discovers that it’s not quite what it seems.


Unlike the dark corridors and evil in the city of Rapture from Bioshock 1&2, Columbia is the complete opposite in appearance. As the game progresses further into this mystery, DeWitt discovers that Columbia is a city torn apart by groups and a controlling dictator called the Prophet. The story touches on regret, guilt, oppression and religion. The Prophet’s Columbia is a city founded on the literal adoration of America’s Founding Fathers. Except the Prophet’s vision contains a twisted place, where racist, nationalistic attitudes are legitimized by its leader’s religion and a brutal, industrialized inside keeps the exterior surface serene looking. There is a plethora of mature oriented content that pops up in Infinite. Religious zealots, racism, class warfare, and the American city of Columbia in 1912 are all under the microscope. Some may argue that a lot has changed; while other things have still remained the same in our modern times, and that is what I believe Irrational games was trying to get across to the gamers.

Eventually, Booker is reunited with Elizabeth, and the story of Bioshock Infinite kicks into high gear. The action ramps up but so does the emotional aspect as well. The relationship between Elizabeth and Booker feels real and although she despises him at first due to the men that he killed, this relationship soon changes into something more comforting. It’s this interaction between Elizabeth and Booker which really makes this game so great. The elaborate story takes no shortcuts while exploring societal issues such as religious zealotry, class warfare, fanatical patriotism and awful racial intolerance that make the game even more intriguing to watch.


Gameplay: 5/5

Bioshock Infinite starts you out with the basics. Explaining who you are, why you’re here, what Columbia is, and how they got to where they are, all within the first ten minutes. The intro is soaked in symbolism and Victorian art styles. The rescue of Elizabeth comes early on, and after that, you’ll soon find out that she’s far from a helpless little girl. Elizabeth has been trapped in Columbia for a very long time, and once outside, all these new interactions can sometimes evoke confusion, astonishment, or just plain horror, but she often finds inner strength and eventually becomes tougher.


Elizabeth’s abilities are a great asset to your adventure as she can do a great many things. It’s clear that Irrational games spent a lot of time and energy working the game to make sure that as a companion, Elizabeth is positioned as prominently as possible. She provides a full range of emotions and assortment of powers that make her a delight to have around, not annoying or burdensome like in certain other games that will remain nameless. Elizabeth can open a space time rift and bring in helpful robots to aid you in battle. She can also change the battlefield in mid-fight, while tossing you supplies such as ammo or health. She will not fight enemies but on the plus side, she also cannot die either during battles. It’s amazing that the entire campaign was created with a buddy AI that was completely not burdensome or poisonous to the momentum of the script. The entire gameplay could have easily gone downhill by mistakes or errors made by the AI of Elizabeth, but instead she was created flawlessly.


The in-game combat is played out just like in previous installments. Gamers will have a wide range of hard hitting weapons. This time around, you’ll be finding and equipping upgradeable “Vigors”. These Vigors are exactly like Plasmids from the original BioShock, a magic liquid spell that grants the body special abilities. Most Vigors are unique mostly because they all have a secondary function as well. Most are useful and enjoyable, but occasionally it’ll take some trial and error to figure out which Vigors do the most destruction to the game’s enemies and bosses. Through all of this, you’ll be rummaging enemy bodies and the environment for ammo, weapons, money, health vials, and Salt (which is used like the original Bioshock’s “Mana” to power your Vigors). Figurine decorated vending machines have been placed throughout the city and function as the place to buy health, ammo and upgrades.

My favorite part of Infinite has to be the sky-rail system. The sky-rails play a big part in both BioShock Infinite’s exploration and combat. There’s an easy interface for using your hook attachment to zoom around on these rails and attack from above when dismounting, but what’s more fascinating is how you can completely change the nature of a firefight with these aerial rail systems. Pop around, behind, and up close to pay a couple of enemy snipers a little personal visit. Or you could fire rockets down on enemies while sliding from the rail itself, and pounce on a powerful enemy that’s near a ledge to dump them off of it in one hit. Not all firefights involve hooking onto rails, but many of the game’s best firefights feature it.


Using the sky-rails, I couldn’t help but feel that I was on some high-speed ride at Disney World zooming past all of the little toy towns and people below, which is exhilarating and nostalgic in its own right. You’ll also find some gruesome and gory deaths with the use of both the Vigors, as well as up close melee attacks and more destructive guns, and you’ll see these especially with some of the little perks that are added with your Gear (simple pieces of clothing that change your combat capabilities). There are four distinctive slots for “Gear”, and these items will give you extra critical damage, stuns, Health steals, and other aids that aren’t locked to a particular gun. However, there are some specific Vigors that can be modified by adding Gear items.


There is one underlying theme here, and it’s something smaller at first but gradually becomes more prevalent as you venture deeper into the game. The friendship that begins to bloom between Booker and Elizabeth is something from yesteryear that you just don’t see that often and I’ll explain. If you’re an old-school gamer and a veteran of first person shooters (pre-Call of Duty days), then you’ll remember how limitless the old games of the pre-2000’s era felt. You are a lone secret agent or super hero who happens to be a typical badass. You’re allowed to run riot on a level full of brutes without any dependents or commanding generals shouting in your ear. Most developers are usually unsuccessful in creating and implementing authentic character interactions, feelings, and dialogue into a hardcore action shooter. Seldom do FPS designers achieve this task, and to quite Andrew Ryan, Irrational Games has “chosen the impossible”. Most of the adventure and action is wild, enormous and open during its inspiring action sequences. Then suddenly, in a masterful stroke, it becomes soft, small, and passionate, all while preserving the view point of your protagonist DeWitt Booker.


Graphics: 5/5

The very first thing that you should notice about Bioshock Infinite when booting up your PS3 or 360 is how gorgeous it looks. The attention to detail is stunning and seeing this early 20th century city floating high above the clouds is just beautiful. At times, it feels like Ken Levine and his team actually built this real city brick by brick and wood by wood due to the attention to detail. Whether it’s the puffy white clouds floating around the skyscrapers or softly dipping down as you see buildings slowly moving up and down in the sky, it’s almost angelic like. The game was built on Unreal Engine 3 running on hardware from seven years ago, but is a rather astonishing to see how Irrational packed so much detail into each and every space.


Most environments in the game are nearly spotless, and without contrasting the slight visual differences between the consoles and PC version, almost everybody should be more than enthralled. Unfortunately, some of the game does suffer with some textures of the game being a tad muddy and unpolished up close. Facial animations of enemies and certain objects in the areas become downgraded as you approach them, sometimes. However these are infrequent issues, but it does remind you that the PC version is slightly superior then our rapidly aging home consoles. The frame rate in Bioshock Infinite is reasonably steady. Once or twice during the most intense of battles does the visual engine skirmish to keep up.

Bioshock Infinite truly shines in its art style. The early 1900’s “Americana” representation is present everywhere you gaze. Videos displayed in the Kinetoscope are short silent films similar to old Charlie Chaplin movies. These clips present a variety of news footage on Columbia and its famous citizens. This all contributes to the richness of the experience, and how its history feels authentic. It is amazing how flawlessly the team at Irrational has captured the iconic appearance and sense of the early 20th century. Another praise must be given to the animation department. Elizabeth moves in a natural way, conveying facial reactions I’ve only really seen in titles like the Uncharted. Just the actions of her walking into a shop, leaning on a counter, inquisitively touching random items in the shop, or making intelligent comments on the current environment all make the experience that much more stunning and impactful. Ken Levine wanted to make Elizabeth feel like a real person, and here they succeeded again.


Sound: 5/5

The music is another highpoint for the game. The eerie versions of classic and modern songs can sometimes make you feel like you’re in the “Overlook Hotel” in the movie “The Shinning”. I’ve come to expect nothing less in the voice acting department for a Bioshock game, and here it remains the same, if not better. The voice acting is expertly done. The main protagonist is probably my favorite in the entire franchise. Booker DeWitt is charming, passionate, intelligent, and can also be deadly and aggressive. Voice actor Troy Baker (The Last Of Us, Saints Row 3, Ninja Gaiden 3) conveys all of these emotions so effortlessly that it is a treat to hear him bring Booker to life.

Elizabeth’s voice actor is equally as good, going through dialogue with a certain passion and authenticity not seen too often nowadays. The game is best played on loud and surround sound would be nice, if not some Turtle Beaches, to totally experience the great ambience of this title. Lastly, I must say that I always enjoyed how Irrational Games made the anti-hero rewrite the history of America and as they say, “the victors write the history”, but in this case, the dictator does. Another thing I always loved is how amazing the Bioshock soundtracks are. Not being a fan of today’s popular music, I have fallen in love with older songs because of Bioshock. I am indebted to developers like Irrational, and games like BioShock for showing me to records I wouldn’t have otherwise ever remotely heard of from eras 50+ years past.


Overall Score: 20/20 = 10 out of 10

The original Bioshock released at the beginning of this generation of consoles, and it showed us an FPS with a groundbreaking story and phenomenal setting. The city of Rapture was unlike anything any of us had ever seen before. It became an instant success, grossing millions, two sequels and a rumored movie as well. Every gamer I know who dives into Rapture feels its lasting effect. Bioshock has become part of our culture, including our video game language and music. Fast forward five years and we are now nearing the end of this console generation, yet Bioshock Infinite looks as if it is repeating history. Flying to the sky and providing not just another revolutionary story, but a game that enterprises the entire franchise to new heights.


It goes without saying that Bioshock Infinite is a title that will likely change how game designers make games just as the original Bioshock did years ago. It’s a game that defines why we play and love games and it defines our generation. It’s a title that taunts to dig into alternate realities, and tackle modern patriotism and the dark morality of an uprising. It shows us prejudice in a way I’ve never seen before in a video game. With the quality of Infinite’s art, music, script writing and voice talent all being polished, you’ll understand why you’ve had to wait years for this game. One cannot can’t just throw money and manpower at a title of this magnitude, and still have it turn out like this, it also takes tremendous talent and extensive time.


+ Phenomenal writing from opening to close

+ Visually beautiful

+ Fantastic voice work throughout

+ Captures early Americana perfectly

+ Skyhook combat is an excellent new mechanic, feels like an exciting Disney ride

+ This game screams immersion


– Certain Visual aspects take a hit occasionally

– Why did it have to End

Copy purchased by reviewer for review purposes. Played through on the Xbox 360 console.

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BioShock Infinite Collector’s Editions Announced

2K Games and Irrational Games just announced this morning that collector’s editions are on the way for BioShock Infinite. Ken Levine wrote a special message about the collector’s editions and what you can expect in them.

“So, you wanna buy a nice Collector’s Edition? I can get it for you retail.

Thanks, I’m here all week. The veal is on special.

Imagine you get to work with Robb Waters, the concept artist who visualized the cover of System Shock. The Trickster in Thief. Man-Bot in Freedom Force. BioShock’s Little Sisters. Sander Cohen. And BioShock Infinite’s Songbird.

Now imagine you can get him to personally conceive and oversee the production of the coolest statue in the world.

Then imagine we put that huge sucker in a period-style box, with custom artwork by Robb and Irrational concept artist Jorge Lacera. And that box went IN the collector’s edition box so you could leave that guy unpunched in his original packaging while you tear happily into the rest of the goodies.

Now imagine that 9-and-a-half-inch statue looked like this…


That monster is what’s in the Ultimate Songbird Edition of BioShock Infinite. But if your sugar daddy won’t pony up for the whole megillah, there’s also the Premium Edition, which includes a giant pile of swag:

–A 3-inch baby version keychain of the sold-out Murder of Crows vigor bottle replica.
–A 5 x 7-inch lithograph by Jorge Lacera.
–A 25 millimeter, resin-cast Handyman miniature from the upcoming BioShock Infinite board game by Plaid Hat Games, makers of Summoner Wars.
–A mini art book, full of BioShock Infinite concept art and commentary, with a hand-distressed cover.
–Various digital goodies: exclusive in-game gear, a digital soundtrack, and platform specific downloadable content (Avatars for Xbox LIVE, and Themes for PC and PlayStation 3).

Of course, all of the above is also included in the Ultimate Songbird Edition. And for the true nerds in the audience, the Songbird statue, the Murder of Crows keychain, and the Handyman all come in separate custom packaging.

Both Collector’s Editions will be available in limited quantities, so yadda yadda, sign your life away right now!

You owe it to yourself (and to poor, sad Ken Levine, who can always be spotted by his tiny crutch that sits forlornly by the Christmas dinner table) to check the thing out in this lovely display made by our amazing web team. I like it. My mother likes it. So it must be good.”

—Ken Levine


There’s only one catch to this. As of the time being, these are only for Europe and Australia. There’s no confirmation yet on whether the US will get the same treatment. Regardless, we will update you the moment we hear something. [UPDATE: It has been confirmed that these collector’s editions are coming to the US as well.]

What do you guys think about the collector’s editions for BioShock Infinite? Sound off in the comments below!

Borderlands 2 Review (PS3/360): “Shootin’ and Lootin’ Like It’s 2012”

Back in 2009, Gearbox Software and 2K Games had introduced gamers to the fresh new IP, Borderlands, which infused FPS and RPG mechanics. The game became a sensation amongst both critics and consumers around the nation, even selling out in numerous stores within its first week of sales. Three years later, Gearbox Software and 2K Games have pushed out the sequel to their highly-praised IP but is it superior to the original?

Story: 5/5

Taking place five years after the events of the first game, we find that Handsome Jack, the person who controls the Hyperion Corporation, is trying to reach a newly found vault on Pandora that contains a creature known as, “The Warrior”. Taking control of a new group of Vault Hunters (Salvador, Axton, Maya and Zero), you’re tasked with putting a stop to Handsome Jack before he can make his way to the vault and unleash this devastating beast amongst Pandora.

If there’s one thing Gearbox improved on the most with their sequel, it’s definitely in their story department. Borderlands 2 has a much richer and deeper story this time around, filled with characters’ histories to unveil, why they are who they are and why they are there. Pandora is a world filled with story to unravel, whether it’s the campaign or side story material that helps flesh more out of the main story. The infamous humor that was intact with the original is still found here but is even funnier and more clever this time around. I couldn’t even tell you the amount of times I was cracking up with how well written and executed the dialogue was. The characters that you’ll play as also have a good amount of backstory that can be told with audio logs scattered in specific areas.

The story does an excellent job with characterization this time around and you’ll actually feel for all of these characters more so than the original. Whether it’s familiar faces or new ones, all the characters are very likable…except for Handsome Jack. I don’t think I’ve come to hate a villain as much as him (that I can recall) and that’s a good thing. That comes to show you that Gearbox made a villain that’s twisted, sick and humorous, all at the same time, while still hating him. There are a good amount of plot twists and shock moments as well…but obviously none of those will be mentioned here. However, these moments really do an effective job of engrossing you deeper into the game’s story. Kudos Gearbox.

Gameplay: 5/5

Let’s get this out of the way first…Borderlands 2 is bigger, better and more badass than the original. When it comes to the gameplay mechanics, Gearbox Software created something special with the original installment. This one takes everything from there and improves upon them dramatically, while adding little details that make this a more robust package. As with the original, you’ll kick off the game by choosing the character/class you’ll want to play as. You’ve got Salvador (a Gunzerker who can dual-wield any two weapons of your choice), Maya (a Siren who can Phaselock enemies, which suspends them in mid-air), Axton (a Commando who can throw down turrets) and Zero (a stealthy Assassin who can use Deception to find enemies’ critical points). All the characters can utilize the same weapons so it boils down mainly to what class pertains to you the most. From there, you’re ready to kick off your journey through Pandora.

In the original, you were only able to explore a specific region of Pandora. Now, Pandora has expanded dramatically and you’ll be exploring multiple regions of the planet, all completely varied from your typical wasteland environments from the first game. Whether you’re going through the snowy plains, western towns, or underground caverns, exploring Pandora has never been so much fun. While playing it solo is completely fine, Borderlands 2 is a co-op game at heart and joining or hosting a game on the fly is made incredibly simple. A new feature they added to the game is the ability to change your network settings, both in-game or at the main menu. You can set it to Online Friends Only (public for your friends to join), Online Public, Online Private (invitations only), LAN, and Offline. Another thing, the main menu is pretty awesome. You’ll see your character standing in real-time with the equipment and look that you chose for them, but if a friend jumps on via split-screen, you’ll see their character teleport on the menu as well. You can even rotate the camera to look around the environment the main menu is surrounded by.

Borderlands 2 plays essentially the same as the original, but with a few tweaks that further polishes the package. The first thing you’ll notice is that the game’s campaign is broken up into chapters now (18 in total), as opposed to being one massive game. Granted, it’s still one massive game but with a little more sense of progression. Collecting loot off of enemies has now been enhanced a bit where if they drop health and/or ammo, you’ll automatically pick them up this time, as opposed to looking at them and pressing the action button to collect. This certainly helps when in the heat of battle and don’t have the time to look down and grab ammo while being attacked from all directions. Should you go down, the “Fight for your Life” feature is back, in which you’ll have to kill an enemy to get “Second Wind” and keep going. This time around, you can actually crawl on the ground instead of being completely grounded. This helps out a lot because should you be shot down behind an object, you can crawl around the corner to try and get your revenge. Challenges also return but with a greater purpose now. As you complete the extensive list of challenges, each broken into categories and multiple tiers, you’ll earn points for your “Badass Rank”. Each time you fill up your Badass meter, you’ll earn a token which can be redeemed for permanently increased stats (i.e. Gun Damage, Shield Capacity, Maximum Health, Recoil Reduction, Fire Rate, etc). The percentage of these stats that you increase will effect not only yourself, but all the guns you carry as well, regardless of their pre-determined stats. Also new is the “Trading” system. When you go up to your partner, you can hold the crouch button to initiate a trade and from there, you can choose up to five items at once to swap with your partner. If you want to make things more interesting, you can duel each other for certain items, giving it a fun competitive nature. Also, there will be times when you complete a mission that you have to make a choice as to who to turn the mission into for a special reward, regardless of who tasked you with the mission originally. These choices won’t change the story’s outcome or affect your relationships with them, they’re strictly for figuring out which reward appeals to you more.

Leveling up your character is still absolutely essential and the pacing Gearbox has in place is well done. If you’re the type that wants to get strictly through the campaign, well you may not be able to do that. Completing side-missions is necessary in getting more XP so that you can level up for the tougher missions. You can still manage through the higher level missions and the game will tell you what difficulty (Trivial, Normal, Tough, Hard, Impossible) the mission will be for you based on your level at the time. Basically, the game’s difficulty ultimately depends on how you play it but the great thing about Borderlands, it’s a game that anyone can beat while maintaining a solid challenge. When you die, you’ll return to the nearest “New-U” station at the cost of some money, but you will keep all the XP, weapons and items you’ve earned. Skill Trees have also been tweaked to have even more options in each of the three subclasses of skills you can branch from. The first game had about 15 skills you can upgrade, this one has almost 30 for each class. Customization is also a little bit deeper than it was before. Instead of being able to choose colors for the way your character looks off the bat (like the first game), you’ll earn customization skins by completing specific side-missions. It’s basically the same thing except now you have to unlock colors for the character. There are a ton to choose from in the beginning but you can definitely add more to it. On top of that, you can also earn new head/hair styles for your character to change up as well.

One of Borderlands’ hooks was that the game offered “bazillions” of guns. Well, Borderlands 2 one-up’s that by including “870 Gajillion More Guns….with Personality”. This time around, there’s an unprecedented number of weapons and every single one is entirely unique. However, to make the weapons stand out even further, each gun’s manufacturer has particular traits for their firearms. For example, if you have a Tediore weapon, they will always explode upon reloading and reappear as a new gun for you to use. Dahl Corporation weapons will all have burst fire functionality while zooming down the scope. The fact that Gearbox added more focus to the manufacturers to make them stand out a bit so that people can become fond with which weapons they like is a great little detail.

Enemies this time around will provide a much stiffer challenge, thanks to more advanced AI and strategic elements in place. For example, when going up against Loaders, you can strategically dismember them to give yourself the upper hand. However, the moment they’ve been dismembered, they will call out for a Surveyor to come repair them or even shield them. Certain enemies may cloak within the environment, making it harder to spot and shoot them. Others may have very specific locations to target to take them down, such as the Crystalisks and Spiderants. The boss battles that you’ll take on are definitely a step up from the first game’s, both in scale and intensity. These battles will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, especially if you’re playing solo since you’ll have no one around to revive you.

Borderlands 2’s gameplay is just as addictive, if not more so, than the original game. It’s brilliantly paced, plays incredibly well and has that “just one more mission” element. The presentation and mechanics are above and beyond the original’s…and that’s saying a lot since the first game was impressive as it is. Getting through the campaign alone will take a minimum of 25-30 hours and there’s a ton of content (including True Vault Hunter mode, which is New Game Plus) to keep you coming back.

Graphics: 4/5

Borderlands had a fresh visual style and the same can be said here with the sequel, this time with more variety and detail. Every part of Pandora is incredibly lush, vibrant and detailed, making the environments pop out with character. Gearbox definitely made some enhancements to their visuals, but that’s also in part to the variety within their environments. Snowy regions look stunning and calming, with beautiful detail made to the ice especially, while the same amount of effort was put into the volcanic, cavern and desert regions. When in the volcanic and snowy regions of Pandora, you’ll see either snow or ashes sticking on the screen occasionally. Water has received a massive amp up from the original game, now looking more appealing with reflective surfaces, making you want to dive in. The scale of the environments have also received a vast upgrade, now with landmarks that really flesh out the areas and make each location feel distinct and unique. No matter where you are in Pandora, Gearbox has crafted a beautifully stunning world that you’ll want to explore in its entirety. There’s even a realtime day/night cycle that looks astonishing to say in the least.

Character models look a little bit better than the original, but not by much. This is not a bad thing at all since Gearbox had very detailed models in the original as it is. One little detail I loved to see was when you have your inventory open, your co-op partners can actually see a window open in front of that specific character to showcase they’re in their inventory menu. Animations for all the characters are very well done but there were a few instances where a specific enemy (Goliath) will sprint at you but when he turns to you, he’ll just magically do a 180 turn while still running forward (looks like he’s doing a moonwalk). It’s humorous, no question, but definitely odd. Another thing that hurts the visuals a bit is its technical issues. Environments tend to load textures as you progress through them at times, as well as the objects that appear when opening chests. Also, shrubs and grass that stick out of the ground appear to just pop up as you keep driving through the environment. The framerate is smooth most of the time but there were moments where the game slowed down a bit when aiming down scoped elemental weapons (i.e. a pistol with a scope that can shoot fire rounds). Lastly, I came across a few lockers and chests that were completely discolored and seemed as if they were in a debugging state. This one was a rare occurrence during my playthrough but should be pointed out. Regardless, Borderlands 2 looks absolutely stunning, but it is because of this that the little graphical bugs stand out a bit, making it just shy of perfection.

Sound: 5/5

When a game advertises that it has “gajillions” of guns, you would hope that they sound as powerful and badass as they quoted. Well, they do. The guns in Borderlands 2 sound like they pack a punch and would put anyone down. Voice acting is excellent amongst the whole cast of characters, whether they provide their hysterical or more suitable dialogue. You actually feel for these characters thanks to how well acted they are. For example, Handsome Jack is a bad dude, no question. However, it is in large part to how his voice actor portrays him and executes his condescending tone.

Environmental ambiance effects are terrific as well. As you’ll explore Pandora, each environment will provide audio that really brings them to life and immerses you even further into the game. The real star of the show is the superb soundtrack composed once again from acclaimed musicians, Jesper Kyd, Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan. Every track perfectly conveys the setting and scenarios that accompany them. When in the snowy region, the music is calming and conveys a sense of “coldness” to it, while being in a volcanic region is more dark and ominous. Combat music really intensifies the situations brilliantly and brings you deeper into the action. This is a soundtrack that will stick with you even when you’re not playing. Overall, this is an audio package that’s just plain rock solid. Crank up those speakers!

Overall Score: 19/20 = 9.5 out of 10

Borderlands 2 isn’t just a sequel that’s superior to the original in almost every way, it’s one of the best games released in 2012. Gearbox Software looked at everything that worked in the original and vastly improved upon every field. With a hearty-sized campaign, beautiful visuals, fantastic soundtrack and audio effects, and rich story, Borderlands 2 is a must-own for any gamer out there. Do not miss out on this experience.


+ Rich, deep story

+ Beautifully detailed environments

+ Fantastic soundtrack, audio effects and voice acting

+ “Gajillions” more guns than the original

+ Lengthy campaign with a ton to do after completion


– Textures load while playing and can look jarring at times

– Some technical bugs

Special thanks to 2K Games for providing us a review copy for Borderlands 2! Review based on PS3 version of the game.

Enjoy our review? Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @GamersXTREME

Borderlands 2 Preps Up Season Pass


2K Games and Gearbox Software have just made a press statement that Borderlands 2 will have a Season Pass. For $29.99/2400 Microsoft Points, you’ll receive four add-ins that include extra campaigns to extend the longevity with new locations and extra stories. Should you choose to buy each of these add-ons individually, they’ll go for $9.99/800 Microsoft Points.

The first Borderlands had four campaign add-ons as well but without the Season Pass so it’s nice to see a cheaper incentive to receive these.

Are you excited for Borderlands 2? Sound off in the comments below and check out the full press statement below!

New York, NY – August 30, 2012 – 2K Games and Gearbox Software announced today that Borderlands®2 will offer four brand new add-on content campaigns following the release of Borderlands 2 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC. These four add-on content campaigns will each feature several hours of gameplay and introduce new adventures, allies, enemies and environments. They will retail individually for $9.99 (PlayStation®Network) / 800 MS Points (Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network) / $9.99 (PC). The Borderlands 2 Season Pass will grant access to all four of these add-on content campaigns as they become commercially available. The Borderlands 2 Season Pass will be available for purchase when Borderlands 2 is available on September 18, 2012.

The Borderlands 2 Season Pass includes $39.96 of add-on content and will be available for $29.99 (PlayStation®Network) / 2400 Microsoft Points (Xbox LIVE) / $29.99 (PC). Once purchased, the Borderlands 2 Season Pass enables gamers to download all of the announced add-on content campaigns for free as they become available on the PlayStation®Network, Xbox LIVE and PC. All four add-on content campaigns are scheduled to be available by June 2013.

Gamers who pre-order Borderlands 2 from participating retailers will gain access to the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club, allowing them to download the Gearbox Gun Pack, a Golden Key, the Vault Hunter’s Relic and an all-new fifth character class, the Mechromancer. The Gearbox Gun Pack is a collection of unique guns to help players begin their journey on Pandora. The Golden Key is used to unlock a rare in-game item in the mysterious Golden Loot Chest found in the town of Sanctuary. The Vault Hunter’s Relic is an in-game item that boosts players’ gear-hunting fortune while playing solo or teaming up with friends. The Mechromancer character class will be available following the launch of Borderlands 2 once development of the character is complete. For those who do not pre-order Borderlands 2, the Mechromancer will be available for purchase at a later date. The Mechromancer character class and other preorder items are not included in the Borderlands 2 Season Pass. To pre-order Borderlands 2 please visit www.borderlands2.com/preorder.

Borderlands 2 will be available in North America on September 18, 2012, and internationally on September 21, 2012. Borderlands 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB. For more information on Borderlands 2 please visit http://www.borderlands2.com.

Borderlands Franchise – Sales and Pre-Orders Happening NOW!

2K Games made a few huge announcements today concerning its Borderlands franchise.

Firstly, Borderlands 2 is now available for pre-order on most popular digital distribution platforms, such as Steam, Amazon, and Gamefly, among others. Just like the physical version, pre-ordering the digital version of Borderlands 2 automatically qualify for access to the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club, granting access to extra content, including the Mechromancer class.

Secondly, for those of you who have yet to try Borderlands (and you should – ASAP!), its digital distribution – as well as all of its DLC – will have a 75% off sale from now until July 30, 2012 (5 days, as of this writing – get cracking!) For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, or haven’t gotten all of the game’s DLC, this is the *perfect* opportunity to take a maiden/return trip to Pandora.

The full announcement can be viewed here.

Spec Ops: The Line Review (PS3/360/PC)

After years of development, Spec Ops: The Line finally storms to shelves, providing a cover-based, third-person shooter experience that aims to separate itself from the over-saturated pack. Published by 2K Games and developed by Yager, did the development time payoff for a unique experience or is this a game you shouldn’t put your money on the line for?

Story: 5/5

Taking control of Martin Walker, a limited vocabulary, F-bomb Captain (voiced by Nathan Drake Nolan North), you receive a distress call for a rescue mission in Dubai. With Walker are his two squad mates, Adams and Lugo, whom have their own thoughts on the mission but still respect their captain. As you arrive in Dubai, you notice that the city is desolate and barren. Pressing on, armed locals aren’t too thrilled that you guys are there and begin to open fire. Sounds pretty much like a typical military shooter, right? Well, the game intentionally makes it seem like that but you’ll soon learn a few chapters in, that things aren’t as they seem. You’ll be listening in on broadcasts nearby that someone is watching you and has a very deranged mind on the situation at hand. The story pans off as predictable within the first few chapters but every time you think you know what’s coming, plot twists keep getting thrown at you.

You’ll soon notice that Spec Ops goes from standard fare to a psychological experience. There’s no denying it, war is ugly. Soldiers have witnessed some pretty unfathomable things out there and Spec Ops actually uses that to its advantage, making you question if what you’re seeing is reality or insanity. It is here, where Spec Ops excels from every other military-based game on the market. Given decisions to make later in the game, you will have to choose how to react in certain situations that can affect your experience. Spec Ops: The Line’s story isn’t one where it’s about being a hero and blasting “America, F*** YEAH!” while carrying out your mission. Instead, this story conveys the nature of how war is about one thing and one thing only, survival.

Gameplay: 4/5

Spec Ops: The Line is a straight up third-person, cover-based shooter that also lightly incorporates some squad-based mechanics. While carrying out your mission to rescue and evacuate civilians, you’ll be running, shooting and taking cover as you keep advancing forward with your squad. However, Spec Ops tries to change it up throughout the 15 chapter campaign by having you thrown into intense rail-shooting sequences or being caught up in more cinematic-style moments.

If there’s one thing that stands out more than anything in Spec Ops, it’s the environment. Similar to how Rapture played a massive role in BioShock, Dubai plays an enormous role in Spec Ops. Essentially, Dubai is a character in itself. As you traverse the dead city, you’ll notice that ammo is a thing of luxury, leaving you more calm and collective about planning your shots as opposed to spraying bullets all around.

Pretty much, if you’ve played any third-person shooter, you have a general idea as to what to expect from Spec Ops: The Line. However, if you’re expecting to go in, running-and-gunning your way through, then you’ll likely see the “You Died!” screen popping up quite often. Spec Ops is a cover-based shooter, and it isn’t joking around about that. For a game that begs for you to get to cover as much as possible, the cover system isn’t as smooth as it should be though. You’re forced to face in the exact direction of an object for the context-sensitive action to appear and during the middle of the most intense firefights, this can lead to some unnecessary cheap deaths. Oddly, when switching cover-to-cover, the camera has to be perfectly positioned as well, which a slight annoyance.

Thankfully, shooting is fine tuned and responsive with some solid hit-detection in place. Rewardingly, popping enemies in the head will result in a quick slow motion effect to confirm you nailed someone in the cranium. What’s even more satisfying is using the shotgun and seeing their head explode in slow motion. While we’ve seen this in many games before, it’s great to see Yager added a detail such as this to help convey the reality that war is brutal. You have a melee attack at your disposal as well, which is simply knocking someone down with your elbow. Using this to your advantage, you can approach the enemy on the floor and execute him with a variety of different finishers depending on the weapon equipped at that moment. There’s even a variety of soldiers to help keep gunfights fresh. You’ve got your typical grunts and snipers but you’ll also have to worry about CQC (Close-Quarter Combat) specialists and heavily armored soldiers that literally just absorb a ton of ammunition to go down.

There are times when playing squad-based game where you have to deal with incompetent AI unfortunately. Spec Ops: The Line actually dodges that bullet and provides AI squad mates that actually kill enemies on their own, don’t stand around idly and face walls or anything of the sort. You can give them an attack command where you can highlight the enemy in the distance and task them with taking them out. This becomes especially handy when enemies are surrounding around the area and you’re trying to regenerate your health while in cover.

As stated earlier, Spec Ops becomes a bit of a psychological experience, in which things begin to not seem so black and white. Without getting into any details, there are particular moments in the game where this comes into effect and when it does, you’ll have a hard time putting the controller down. It’s these sequences where you get really engrossed in the experience. Again though, I won’t even begin to explain a single one of these as any of the moments mentioned would be a spoiler to both the story and gameplay.

Upon completion, you can go back and tackle harder difficulties and/or replay specific chapters to make different decisions from the ones you made on your first playthrough. There’s hidden intel scattered throughout the campaign and each piece helps flesh out the experience just a bit more. Multiplayer fans can also dig into the game’s online mode, which offers your standard fare of modes along with a few extra twists. There’s a good amount of customization and loadouts to be had here so if you’re looking for a multiplayer game to keep your attention for some time, this may fit the bill.

Graphics: 4/5

Yager has done an impressive job with their art direction of Spec Ops: The Line. Unlike most military-based games that are dreary and drab, Dubai is full of life, rich in color and has beautiful lighting effects to accompany it. Character models are very well detailed, both the main characters in your squad, as well as the NPCs. Over the course of the campaign, you’ll see Walker and his squad mates much more battle damaged and war-torn…and it stays that way, or gets worse, until the very end. The sand detail is also stunning, especially when you see it pouring into buildings through windows or encounter sandstorms that dramatically affect the environment. However, textures tend to load a good amount while advancing forward and make objects go from incredibly bland to rich detail, pulling you away from the immersion. The game does run smoothly with no framerate drops but there’s some screen-tearing that occurs throughout the experience.

Sound: 3/5

Bring Nolan North on board and we can make any character more engaging, right? Not exactly. While Nolan North is an excellent voice actor, he just doesn’t really fit the part of Walker at all. Add in the fact that everyone is swearing to no end and it just feels incredibly forced. Regardless, voice acting is pretty solid across the board. Sound effects are gripping, making you feel like you’re actually out in the battlefield in Dubai with the guns packing a punch. All the ambient effects sound crisp and powerful, especially during the Sandstorm sequence. The soundtrack on the other hand, is entirely lackluster. The music that kicks in during action is decent but very generic, rarely heightening the intensity that the game conveys.

Overall Score: 16/20 = 8.0 out of 10

Spec Ops: The Line provides a surprisingly unique experience that no other military-based game has conveyed. It showcases the reality of how awful war can be while ironically being placed in an environment full of life and detail. Thanks to strong visuals, an incredibly engaging storyline and solid mechanics, Spec Ops: The Line is one of those titles that needs to be experienced. Even if military shooters aren’t your thing, Spec Ops clearly does something unique in an over-saturated genre and would be great to see more of this series in the near future.


+ Excellent environment

+ Strong visuals

+ Superb, unique storyline

+ Solid gameplay mechanics


– Cover system needs some fine tuning

– Soundtrack is very generic and forgettable

– Nolan North doesn’t fit the role of Walker

– Excessive swearing to the point where it’s obnoxious


A special thank you to 2K Games and Access Communications for providing us a review copy of Spec Ops: The Line!


Borderlands 2 Collector’s Editions and Pre-Order Bonus Announced

Last month, we covered an exclusive hands-on for Borderlands 2, as well as an exclusive interview with design producer Randy Varnell. While we’re stoked to get our hands on the final product, 2K Games and Gearbox Software have something else to get fans excited.

2K Games and Gearbox Software have just provided us with the latest info on Borderlands 2, in which it will have two different collector’s editions to pre-order, as well as a separate pre-order incentive. The two editions you can choose from (aside from the standard edition) are the Borderlands 2 Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector’s Edition and the Borderlands 2 Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition.

The Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector’s Edition will retail for $99.99 and includes the following:

  • Borderlands 2 Game
  • Authentic Marcus Kincaid Bobblehead
  • 4 Exclusive Stickers
  • Map of Pandora
  • Comic Book Download
  • Inside the Vault: The Art of Borderlands 2 Hardbound Book
  • Bonus Digital Content
The Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition will retail for $149.99 and includes the following:
  • Borderlands 2 Game
  • Replica Borderlands Loot Chest
  • Authentic Marcus Kincaid Bobblehead
  • Numbered Certificate of Authenticity
  • Steelbook Case
  • Creatures of Pandora Wide Format ID Chart
  • 4 Lithograph Postcards
  • Field Notes from Sir Hammerlock
  • Comic Book Download
  • 4 Exclusive Stickers
  • Cloth Map
  • Inside the Vault: The Art of Borderlands 2 Hardbound Book
  • Bonus Digital Content

The Ultimate Edition definitely looks cool, seeing as how it has a replica of the loot chest from the game.

Now if you pre-order any edition of the game, you will receive access to the “Premiere Club” which gives you a Golden Key, Gearbox Gunpack, Vault Hunter’s Relic and a new character class known as the Mechromancer. Check out the content in the image below.

Here’s the official press release that came alongside the info:

New York, NY, May 17,2012  2K Games and Gearbox Software today announced two tiers of special limited editions for the highly anticipatedBorderlands®2 –the Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector’s Edition and Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition. Currently in development by Gearbox Software, Borderlands 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed four-player cooperative shooter-looter that combined intense first-person mayhem with role-playing gameplay. Both editions will reward fans with a number of collectible and in-game bonus items that will enhance the action-packed experience of Borderlands 2.

The Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector’s Edition (MSRP $99.99) includes a copy of Borderlands 2; authentic Marcus Kincaid bobblehead; Inside the Vault: The Art & Design of Borderlands 2 hardbound book; collectable sticker set; map of Pandora; digital comic download code; and bonus downloadable in-game digital content. The Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition (MSRP $149.99) includes all of those items, plus a collectable scaled replica of the red loot chests found throughout Pandora in Borderlands 2; steel book case; Creatures of Pandora wide-format ID chart; lithograph postcard set; field notes from Sir Hammerlock; cloth map of Pandora; and a numbered certificate of authenticity. Both of the special editions will be available for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Windows-based PC.
Gamers who pre-order the Deluxe Vault Hunter’s Collector’s EditionUltimate Loot Chest Limited Edition or the standard edition of Borderlands 2 from participating retailers will also gain access to the Borderlands 2 Premiere Club, allowing them to download the Gearbox Gun Pack, a Golden Key, the Vault Hunter’s Relic and an all-new fifth character class – the Mechromancer. The Gearbox Gun Pack is a collection of unique guns to help players begin their journey on Pandora. The Golden Key is used to unlock a rare in-game item in the mysterious Golden Sanctuary Loot Chest found in Borderlands 2. The Vault Hunter’s Relic is an in-game item that boosts players’ gear-hunting fortune while playing solo or teaming up with friends. The Mechromancer character class will be available following launch when development of the character is complete and is free to those who pre-order Borderlands 2, and will be available for purchase for those who do not. To pre-order all editions of Borderlands 2, please visitwww.borderlands2.com/preorder.
Borderlands 2 features all-new characters; skills; imaginative, diverse new environments with unique missions and enemies; and more exciting and fun weapons, equipment and loot than ever before. All of these features come together in a story that takes players to the world of Pandora to take down the notorious Handsome Jack and his corrupt Hyperion Corporation as a solo campaign or with up to four cooperative players.
Borderlands 2 will be available in North America on September 18, 2012, and internationally on September 21, 2012. Borderlands 2 is not yet rated by the ESRB. For more information please visit www.borderlands2.com.”

Are you interested in picking up Borderlands 2? Sound off in the comments below!

Is Duke Nukem Coming to Borderlands 2?

During an interview with Randy Varnell, Design Producer over at Gearbox Software, I asked him a question about a specific character possibly coming to Borderlands 2. Seeing as how 2K Games and Gearbox Software were involved with finishing up Duke Nukem Forever and acquiring the license, I figured it was logical to ask if Duke Nukem would appear as a possible special playable character. Here’s the Q&A to that particular thought:

Glacier928: “Is there any sort of chance that Duke Nukem would be thrown in as a secret playable character in Borderlands 2?”

Randy Varnell (laughs): “I’ll definitely pass that to the development team back at the office. It’s not the first time we’ve heard that question though. It’s a tricky thing, you know? There really is a kind of spirit in Gearbox. You look at a lot of the games we put out and are working on between Duke Nukem and Borderlands and all. As a company, we really kind of like that tongue-in-cheek, just over-the-top ridiculous humor and all that. Certainly one of the reasons why we put our energy and focus on Duke Nukem Forever and it was a classic, kind of ‘close to our heart’ game for a lot of us. Borderlands kind of carries that spirit onto Pandora, our fictional universe. I’ll pass that request along, that’s a really great question!”

Personally, I think Duke would fit great in the Borderlands universe…chances are he’d be hitting on the Guardian Angel, Lilith and Maya. It would definitely add to the tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top humor Randy mentioned. Despite critics bashing Duke Nukem Forever, I personally enjoyed the game. It wasn’t a great game by any means, but it was definitely an entertaining game that held my attention for a few playthroughs and being a Duke fan, I still cracked up at some of his lines. The video interview can be found here and he answers the question in Part 3 of the video.

What do you guys think? Should Duke Nukem appear as a playable character in Borderlands 2? Sound off in the comments below!

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