Is Throwing Guns Better Than Shooting Guns? Borderlands 2 Lets You Decide

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Jeff

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Edited By Jeff  Staff
One part of Salvador's skill tree lets him regenerate health and reduce damage, making him more resilient and ready to get close.
One part of Salvador's skill tree lets him regenerate health and reduce damage, making him more resilient and ready to get close.

Sometimes you don't really need to know much about a game to know that you're going to play it. Take Borderlands 2, for example. After dumping somewhere between three and four days of time into playing one character in Borderlands and obsessively completing the game multiple times, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be interested in seeing more. Along those lines, Borderlands 2 would have to be a dramatic mess of a game to put me off at this point. And I'm going to just say it right here, now that I've played a little bit of it: Borderlands 2 doesn't appear to be a dramatic mess of a game.

It... actually seems pretty similar to the previous game. It's not a tower defense game now. Or a dating simulator. Actually, there might be some dating sim in there somewhere, I shouldn't make assumptions. We were given the opportunity to play a brief part of the game, which had me playing as Salvador, the "Gunzerker" class while Patrick used Maya, the game's new Siren. And there was no simulation of dating in any of the stuff we played. Oh man, I shouldn't even italicize that, you're just going to think that I'm attempting to insinuate that there's some sort of unannounced dating sim in Borderlands 2. There is no Borderlands 2 dating sim, as far as I know. I wouldn't even want to date any of the characters in the Borderlands universe, since most of them seem to be incredibly unstable. And I've never been one to date cartoon people, to be honest. Does that make me a racist? Crap, OK, maybe I should get back to the matter at hand.

So the characters usable in the Borderlands 2 demo appear to be too busy shooting things in the face to do any serious dating, and their apparent career-mindedness kept them focused on the quest at hand: shooting their way through a menagerie of new creatures and robots while trying to rescue Mordecai's pet, Bloodwing, who has apparently been captured by the game's heavy, Handsome Jack. But I wasn't really there to focus on the story, since it's a pretty brief demo. I was more interested in the shotgun that Salvador was equipped with for the demo, which seemed to fire larger projectiles that seemed like they homed in on targets a little bit. It also ripped just about everything apart, even at a decent distance, making it more fun than even the Tediore-brand weapons, which get tossed out into the field like grenades when you "reload" them. A new version of the same gun quickly appears in your hand after the toss, giving you an explosive reload option that's faster than most other weapons, though tossing guns before their magazine is empty felt like a waste of bullets. More bullets in a magazine makes the explosive effect of the thrown gun more powerful, but it didn't feel like a dramatic difference while I was playing.

The Siren has a new action skill that immobilizes enemies for a bit. Handy.
The Siren has a new action skill that immobilizes enemies for a bit. Handy.

The game will have more of just about everything, though, not just guns. Around eight different types of shields will appear, giving you new effects to play with. A "spiked" shield reciprocates damage to enemies that get close enough to melee attack you, and when that's equipped, your shield meter grows little spikes to give you a constant reminder of how you're currently equipped. There's also at least one new status effect, "slagged," which increases the damage an enemy takes when it activates while also lowering an enemy's resistance to other types of damage. When playing alone, this means you'll need to slag someone then swap to a different weapon to get the most out of it (unless you're dual-wielding with Salvador's action skill), so it's really handy in co-op games.

Relics and class mods will also return, with more types of relics in place that tweak a variety of numbers. The one I found was focused on melee damage, giving me a 5 percent bonus to my melee ability. Class mods sound like they'll behave in a similar fashion as they did in the first game, giving you bonuses to some of the powers that appear on the skill tree.

To deal with all those items (and, potentially, to have a shot at buying more esoteric gear), the developers have implemented a second form of currency. This was the part of the demo where I started hyperventilating a bit, as the past year of games getting all businessrd up made me worry that the next words I would hear would be that this new black market currency was available via microtransactions. But I heard no such thing. The currency used for this secondary market will be found in the game, but it'll be rare.

Didn't see him in the demo, but this Commando's turret looks kind of rad.
Didn't see him in the demo, but this Commando's turret looks kind of rad.

Lastly, the game's challenge system has been revamped, but to what end? Gearbox isn't talking about that right now. But it does have a new look with indicators that pop-up on-screen when you complete challenges. Also, when you finish something up, you earn "badass points." No idea what that gets you. It sounds like they have some additional customization options in the works, too, but again, no details at this time. Maybe you'll use badass points to buy cosmetic items for your guys to differentiate yourself in multiplayer games? No idea.

We were playing the PC version of Borderlands 2, but we were playing with Xbox 360 controllers, so it's hard to say if the menus are better with a mouse and keyboard this time around. But the menus seem fairly similar to the previous game, with the one exception being that it now appears "in-world" as if it's beaming off of a wrist computer or some other projector, sort of like Dead Space. When in a co-op game, other players will see that you're in your menus, though it didn't look like you could actually view the menus on another player's projection.

The original Borderlands wasn't without its own share of issues, and I'm hoping that things like enemy AI--especially for bosses--and overall variety are improved in Borderlands 2. To its credit, Gearbox has said that both of those things are on their list, but it was hard to really get a feel for that during such a brief demo. Is it bad that I'd happily play through another Borderlands game even if those things weren't fixed? I probably shouldn't say that out loud. IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK? There, that's more like it. Either way, I'm looking forward to September over here.

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Jeff

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#1  Edited By Jeff  Staff
One part of Salvador's skill tree lets him regenerate health and reduce damage, making him more resilient and ready to get close.
One part of Salvador's skill tree lets him regenerate health and reduce damage, making him more resilient and ready to get close.

Sometimes you don't really need to know much about a game to know that you're going to play it. Take Borderlands 2, for example. After dumping somewhere between three and four days of time into playing one character in Borderlands and obsessively completing the game multiple times, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be interested in seeing more. Along those lines, Borderlands 2 would have to be a dramatic mess of a game to put me off at this point. And I'm going to just say it right here, now that I've played a little bit of it: Borderlands 2 doesn't appear to be a dramatic mess of a game.

It... actually seems pretty similar to the previous game. It's not a tower defense game now. Or a dating simulator. Actually, there might be some dating sim in there somewhere, I shouldn't make assumptions. We were given the opportunity to play a brief part of the game, which had me playing as Salvador, the "Gunzerker" class while Patrick used Maya, the game's new Siren. And there was no simulation of dating in any of the stuff we played. Oh man, I shouldn't even italicize that, you're just going to think that I'm attempting to insinuate that there's some sort of unannounced dating sim in Borderlands 2. There is no Borderlands 2 dating sim, as far as I know. I wouldn't even want to date any of the characters in the Borderlands universe, since most of them seem to be incredibly unstable. And I've never been one to date cartoon people, to be honest. Does that make me a racist? Crap, OK, maybe I should get back to the matter at hand.

So the characters usable in the Borderlands 2 demo appear to be too busy shooting things in the face to do any serious dating, and their apparent career-mindedness kept them focused on the quest at hand: shooting their way through a menagerie of new creatures and robots while trying to rescue Mordecai's pet, Bloodwing, who has apparently been captured by the game's heavy, Handsome Jack. But I wasn't really there to focus on the story, since it's a pretty brief demo. I was more interested in the shotgun that Salvador was equipped with for the demo, which seemed to fire larger projectiles that seemed like they homed in on targets a little bit. It also ripped just about everything apart, even at a decent distance, making it more fun than even the Tediore-brand weapons, which get tossed out into the field like grenades when you "reload" them. A new version of the same gun quickly appears in your hand after the toss, giving you an explosive reload option that's faster than most other weapons, though tossing guns before their magazine is empty felt like a waste of bullets. More bullets in a magazine makes the explosive effect of the thrown gun more powerful, but it didn't feel like a dramatic difference while I was playing.

The Siren has a new action skill that immobilizes enemies for a bit. Handy.
The Siren has a new action skill that immobilizes enemies for a bit. Handy.

The game will have more of just about everything, though, not just guns. Around eight different types of shields will appear, giving you new effects to play with. A "spiked" shield reciprocates damage to enemies that get close enough to melee attack you, and when that's equipped, your shield meter grows little spikes to give you a constant reminder of how you're currently equipped. There's also at least one new status effect, "slagged," which increases the damage an enemy takes when it activates while also lowering an enemy's resistance to other types of damage. When playing alone, this means you'll need to slag someone then swap to a different weapon to get the most out of it (unless you're dual-wielding with Salvador's action skill), so it's really handy in co-op games.

Relics and class mods will also return, with more types of relics in place that tweak a variety of numbers. The one I found was focused on melee damage, giving me a 5 percent bonus to my melee ability. Class mods sound like they'll behave in a similar fashion as they did in the first game, giving you bonuses to some of the powers that appear on the skill tree.

To deal with all those items (and, potentially, to have a shot at buying more esoteric gear), the developers have implemented a second form of currency. This was the part of the demo where I started hyperventilating a bit, as the past year of games getting all businessrd up made me worry that the next words I would hear would be that this new black market currency was available via microtransactions. But I heard no such thing. The currency used for this secondary market will be found in the game, but it'll be rare.

Didn't see him in the demo, but this Commando's turret looks kind of rad.
Didn't see him in the demo, but this Commando's turret looks kind of rad.

Lastly, the game's challenge system has been revamped, but to what end? Gearbox isn't talking about that right now. But it does have a new look with indicators that pop-up on-screen when you complete challenges. Also, when you finish something up, you earn "badass points." No idea what that gets you. It sounds like they have some additional customization options in the works, too, but again, no details at this time. Maybe you'll use badass points to buy cosmetic items for your guys to differentiate yourself in multiplayer games? No idea.

We were playing the PC version of Borderlands 2, but we were playing with Xbox 360 controllers, so it's hard to say if the menus are better with a mouse and keyboard this time around. But the menus seem fairly similar to the previous game, with the one exception being that it now appears "in-world" as if it's beaming off of a wrist computer or some other projector, sort of like Dead Space. When in a co-op game, other players will see that you're in your menus, though it didn't look like you could actually view the menus on another player's projection.

The original Borderlands wasn't without its own share of issues, and I'm hoping that things like enemy AI--especially for bosses--and overall variety are improved in Borderlands 2. To its credit, Gearbox has said that both of those things are on their list, but it was hard to really get a feel for that during such a brief demo. Is it bad that I'd happily play through another Borderlands game even if those things weren't fixed? I probably shouldn't say that out loud. IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK? There, that's more like it. Either way, I'm looking forward to September over here.

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Napalm

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#2  Edited By Napalm

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

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Animasta

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#3  Edited By Animasta

pretty sure shooting guns are better than throwing guns

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buckybit

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#4  Edited By buckybit
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Arker101

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#5  Edited By Arker101

@Napalm: I found it witty, but each his own.

You may have heard me say this before, but HELL YEAH BORDERLANDS 2!

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MooseyMcMan

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#6  Edited By MooseyMcMan

SOUNDS AWESOME!

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Legendary

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#7  Edited By Legendary

I'd liked to be businessrd up.

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Tennmuerti

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#8  Edited By Tennmuerti

Depends on what will be more DPS.

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acas2011

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#9  Edited By acas2011

@Napalm: I thought it was pretty funny. Then again I find the whole situation so ridiculous that any slight to either side is funny to me.

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RuthLoose

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#10  Edited By RuthLoose

@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

Hey Jeff, this doesn't make you sound funny, or clever, or smart, or poignant. It just makes you sound douche-y.

Isn't a tad silly that this is even joke-worthy material in the first place for Jeff to be even to lift from our collective past? Admittedly, I have yet to play ME3, but I still am shocked by how everything has played out in such a short period of time. It will be interesting to see how this free DLC patches things up this summer.

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234r2we232

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#11  Edited By 234r2we232

Everytime I read or watch something about Borderlands 2, it only reminds me of all the hype for the first game and how disappointing it ended up being. I am 100% cautious this time around.

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Tennmuerti

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#12  Edited By Tennmuerti
@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

Sorry but I have to agree with Napalm here (to a degree), that was kind of ... yeah.
my 2c etc
/shrug
 
Such "subtle" digs are part of why i stopped reading Alex's articles.
 
But otherwise it was cool to read, some new stuff I haven't heard about Borderlands 2 before.
So thanks for that!
At this point I don't think there will be an objective bone left in my body when it comes time to play this game, too EXCITED!
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Subjugation

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#13  Edited By Subjugation

Gettin' all businessrd up in here.

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End_Boss

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#14  Edited By End_Boss

@Napalm: Oh relax.

So ready for more Borderlands. Also, Gearbox released a "love letter" to PC players claiming that all of the issues from the first game's port will be addressed in the sequel. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

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Cretaceous_Bob

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#15  Edited By Cretaceous_Bob

@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

Hey Jeff, this doesn't make you sound funny, or clever, or smart, or poignant. It just makes you sound douche-y.

Jeff is funny, clever, smart, and poignant, and you're douche-y.

Too bad you can't file a claim about how you think Jeff is funny, but not funny enough, right?

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zacagawea

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#16  Edited By zacagawea

Super stoked for this game.

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MrMazz

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#17  Edited By MrMazz

only if they are part boomerrang and thus come back to you so you can than shoot them

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StarvingGamer

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#18  Edited By StarvingGamer

Explode to reload!

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#19  Edited By Davin

@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

You're just an entitled gamer.

...oh wait, now I'm doing it also.

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viking_funeral

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#20  Edited By viking_funeral

@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

It's a good joke. BioWare has been messing up non-stop since Dragon Age 2, but filing with the Better Business Bureau about an ending? C'mon. It's like that lady who sued Driver because she thought it would be like The Fast and the Furious.

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Jeff

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#21  Edited By Jeff  Staff

@Napalm: Oh, are you so myopic that you think that this is some kind of Mass Effect 3 gag? You do realize that it's an ongoing issue now that someone's dragged Capcom into a similar situation over SFXT, right?

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ProfessorEss

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#22  Edited By ProfessorEss

@Zacagawea said:

Super stocked for this game.

I'm super stroked for it too!

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Ghostin

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#23  Edited By Ghostin

The only thing that would shake this game off the top of my list this year is if I find out they want us to pay for the player bank again.

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Napalm

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#24  Edited By Napalm

@Jeff said:

@Napalm: Oh, are you so myopic that you think that this is some kind of Mass Effect 3 gag? You do realize that it's an ongoing issue now that someone's dragged Capcom into a similar situation over SFXT, right?

I was just hoping for a more original joke, Jeff!

:[

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myke_tuna

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#25  Edited By myke_tuna
@Napalm said:

@Jeff said:

@Napalm: Oh, are you so myopic that you think that this is some kind of Mass Effect 3 gag? You do realize that it's an ongoing issue now that someone's dragged Capcom into a similar situation over SFXT, right?

I was just hoping for a more original joke, Jeff!

:[

Don't fuck with Jeff when he's on that PAX East sleep schedule. 
 
I think we've all learned a valuable lesson here today. (I thought it was funny, by the way, Jeff. *thumbs up*)
 
But I saw what you were getting at, Napalm.
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#26  Edited By CakeTeleporter

Is there going to be more weapon variance this time around because it always feat like borderlands had about 10 significantly different guns that were fixed drops and everything else was just variations on a few types.

And those more unique guns were almost always worse than what you found either 10 minutes before or after.

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X19

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#27  Edited By X19

So looking forward to getting my hands on this :D

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zacagawea

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#28  Edited By zacagawea

@ProfessorEss said:

@Zacagawea said:

Super stocked for this game.

I'm super stroked for it too!

:(

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dropabombonit

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#29  Edited By dropabombonit

The jokes in this article are so good, the first and last paragraph had made me lol. It's good to hear that the game seems great from your brief time with it

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Rayeth

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#30  Edited By Rayeth

So you're saying this game still has a bazillion guns and plays relatively the same? Sold.

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#31  Edited By Gordy

@Napalm said:

Ooh.

IF THOSE ISSUES AREN'T FIXED I WILL FILE A CLAIM WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SO YOU BETTER MAKE IT BETTER THIS TIME OK?

Because that's still funny, right, guys?

yes

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PokeIkzai

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#32  Edited By PokeIkzai

I didn't go through all of the Borderlands DLC. I did the zombie one and started the General Knoxx but by that point I had my fill of the game. Borderlands 2 is certainly a game I'm hoping will end up alright. If they clean up a lot of the issues of the original it has a good shot at being a fantastic game.

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zacagawea

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#33  Edited By zacagawea
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Tennmuerti

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#34  Edited By Tennmuerti
@Jeff said:

@Napalm: Oh, are you so myopic that you think that this is some kind of Mass Effect 3 gag? You do realize that it's an ongoing issue now that someone's dragged Capcom into a similar situation over SFXT, right?

It's just how i think probably, but this seems like too close of an issue to some people to serve as a joke material per se.
Too much unpleasantness tied to both filings on several levels and from all sides of the conflicts, gamers, companies and media included.

Eh.?
I dunno, maybe i'm wrong.
Some people seemed to have enjoyed the joke.
Guess some didn't. To me it just wasn't funny and rather brought out serious thoughts on the state of things. :/
Can't help how one feels.
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AuthenticM

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#35  Edited By AuthenticM

@Jeff: You need to ask Gearbox if they have finally implemented some sort of sharing system, Diablo 2-style. Remember how bummed out you were about such an omission when the first game came out? They need to fix that.

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I'm still really disappointed that the dual wielding is a skill to be activated. I guess I see why it has to be that way, but I feel like I was sold a character who would dual-wield all the time.

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Coafi

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#37  Edited By Coafi

Why would anyone want to throw guns? That sounds dangerous, wait a minute...

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MikeGosot

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#38  Edited By MikeGosot
@Jeff: Did you had to chance to use more than one weapon? I'm worried that the classes still may favor one weapon over the other. I mean, using shotguns is cool. Using rocket launchers is cool. But using ONLY shotguns and rocket launchers for an entire game is just... Ugh.
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#39  Edited By FreakAche

I find it funny that a disproportionately large section of these comments are just arguing about one inoffensive throwaway line at the end of the article.

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algertman

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#40  Edited By algertman

That article was so horrible I thought Alex wrote it.

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Mijati

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#41  Edited By Mijati

So... it's a dating sim?

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DukesT3

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#42  Edited By DukesT3

If there is a knife of some sort on my gun, I'd throw it.

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Peanut

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#43  Edited By Peanut

@algertman said:

That article was so horrible I thought Alex wrote it.

lolzerz

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Tennmuerti

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#44  Edited By Tennmuerti
@CakeTeleporter: From the trailers and the preview/pax coverage, yes there are way more different guns. Much more difference in looks/function.
 
@AuthenticM said:

@Jeff: You need to ask Gearbox if they have finally implemented some sort of sharing system, Diablo 2-style. Remember how bummed out you were about such an omission when the first game came out? They need to fix that.

Yep they just showed a trading menu between players on the stream http://www.twitch.tv/2k
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novadth

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#45  Edited By novadth

I legit thought this was an Alex article

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Incapability

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#46  Edited By Incapability

@algertman: I'm sure some other site will better cater to your interests.

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sirdesmond

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#47  Edited By sirdesmond

Hey guys! Instead of having a good conversation about the game, let's just go on and on about one sentence at the end and discuss/argue about whether or not we thought it was funny or appropriate. That would be so fun.

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Crispy

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#48  Edited By Crispy

I found this article disappointing.

I don't mind putting personality into written work, but not when it distracts from the actual content of the writing. When I say this, I'm actually not referring to the last paragraph of the story, but rather the (entire) paragraph with the dating simulation gag. An online audience is starved for time as it is; elongating a written article doesn't help portray information.

I know I'm coming off as humorless, but I feel it's particularly important to properly convey a message when writing a preview for a highly-anticipated title.

To be honest, I almost never write critiques of regular content such as preview work, but it was very distracting in this particular article.

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AndrewBeardsley

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#49  Edited By AndrewBeardsley

I want this game

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DukeT

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#50  Edited By DukeT

Better Business Bureau: Comin' in ya games and changin' ya endin's.

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