Discover why planet Pandora is home to one of 2012's most exciting PlayStation 3 adventures.
Frontier spirit collides with a futuristic mega corporation in Borderlands 2, the stylish shooter that showers you with outlandish weapons and lets you pick the right tool for the job. In this case, the job is staying alive on planet Pandora, the wild and unpredictable setting that mixes the lawlessness of the Wild West with the relentless threat of ferocious aliens.
Read on to find out why you should mark Borderlands 2 on PlayStation 3 as one to watch leading up to its release later in 2012.
Handsome by name, not nature
The Hyperion Corporation is set on one thing: wiping you and your fellow bandits off the face of the planet. The company's despicable boss, Handsome Jack, has decided that the best way to achieve this is by calling upon an ancient alien being known only as the Warrior – and while he tries to coax this enormous beast to do his bidding, his loyal henchmen will stop at nothing to keep you at bay.
Your journey through the tundra of Pandora will take you to ramshackle settlements and thriving space ports, via desolate grasslands and dank caves. You'll meet faces new and familiar while playing as one of four Vault Hunters, the clan of weather-beaten scavengers tasked with freeing Pandora from the grasp of the sinister Hyperion Corporation.
Each character represents a contrasting class. Axton, a commando, is an all-rounder with a deadly automatic turret as his special weapon. Zero is a robot assassin that specialises in deception thanks to holographic decoys. Packing the Phaselock ability – which traps enemies in stasis fields – is the siren Maya. And Salvador is a gunzerker – a heavy gunner who can wield any two weapons at the same time.
Stop, look, fire
The world of Pandora fizzes with visual flair, proudly showing off its comic book colour and sensational effects. As well as hazy rays of sunshine, electric blue skies and chaotic scrapyards, the game really springs to life whenever its unique monsters arrive.
The fire thresher is a writhing, flaming, mutant squid whose flailing tentacles must be picked off one by one. On the other hand, the needle stalker, whose tail doubles up as a venomous catapult, needs to be destroyed as quickly as possible to avoid your entire squad being poisoned. It's hard not to be distracted by the impression they make.
One of the most memorable features of the original Borderlands on PS3 was the sheer variety of weaponry on offer. Now, thanks to even more customisable options, the arsenal is staggeringly potent. The Tediore shotgun, for instance, only lasts four rounds – although upon emptying, you can fling it away and it explodes like a grenade. You can equip rocket launchers with sniper scopes, or sub-machine guns that fire electrical charges. The list is very nearly endless.
One of the best ways to see more of Borderlands 2's countless possibilities is to invite up to three friends along via PlayStation Network. That way you can tailor your equipment to complement that of your squad mates, and unleash an incredibly complex wave of attacks on even the largest biomechanical war machines.
One tantalising example of this sees your team running into a squad of savage outlaws that seems too big to take on. Maya can fix that with her ability to make enemies turn on each other, letting the rest of the Vault Hunters pick off targets in the chaos.
If there's one thing to pick out from Borderlands 2 to look forward to, it's the branching options that are unlocked by the choices you make: the quests you complete, the weapons you combine and the allies you make. It might be hard to keep up with the quirks of imagination the game throws at you, yet the fun comes from trying.
Keep an eye on eu.playstation.com and PlayStation.Blog at blog.eu.playstation.com for more from planet Pandora – and check out the original Borderlands, available to download from PlayStation Store to your PS3.
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Prepare for destruction on an intergalactic scale.