You Don’t Know (Handsome) Jack: Borderlands 2’s Biggie

By Nathan Grayson on August 14th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

This is the worst Where's Waldo page ever.

There’s been some recent awkwardness out of the Borderlands 2 camp, but the game proper is still looking quite handsome. You will not, however, see it getting all high and mighty about its rugged Wild Wild Space West charms – largely because it is an inanimate object only capable of communicating through Wimowehs and dubstep. Its main villain, on the other hand, puts the word “handsome” right in his name, because he’s a bit full of himself thanks to that whole “tyrannically ruling an entire planet with a legion of 87 bazillion robots and a weaponized moon” thing. See just what you’re up against after the break.

So he seems charming. I wouldn’t venture to call him gaming’s most original villain by any stretch, but I’m digging the mix of dastardly, bastardly swagger and brief flashes of down-to-earth “Oh, well… shit” moments. Knowing Gearbox, Jack’ll probably tickle our funnybones while also trying to shatter our regular bones. Not a bad mix, if you ask me.

Also, more importantly, it’s not a bad excuse to hoard heaping piles of guns and blast your way through Pandora until you get bored and decide to do something else. Each class, meanwhile, seems pretty varied and – in my brief personal experience with the Assassin – capable of some tricks that put their Borderlands 1 counterparts to shame. So it’s looking to be a case of “bigger, better, more,” but honestly, that’s exactly what the formula established in the original Borderlands needed. Also, gun moons. That, if I remember correctly, was the consensus most curious omission from BL1.

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37 Comments »

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  1. TheIronSky says:

    Looks far more accessible than the original. Hopefully they got rid of all of the unscrollable descriptions for quests and replaced them with nicely presented character dialogues or something.

    Despite not having a girlfriend to enjoy a certain scandalous mode with, I’ll probably still pre-order.

    PS – is it me, or does his face look precariously attached by some staple devices? Whoops did I just spoil something

    • ProtoApex says:

      They were scrollable using the page up and down keys.

    • Metonymy says:

      Never had a second’s problem with Borderlands or it’s menus and windows. Instantly intuitive and functional. (hint: you have a keyboard) I’ve seen games that are 10x worse that get no complaints at all, like Just Cause 2. I sometimes wonder if I’m actually a member of this species.

      Most people haven’t noticed yet that Handsome Jack is wearing someone else’s face. It’s far too early to determine if he’s cool or not. The interviews sound like the devs were trying too hard. He looks more like a DLC villain.

      I’m more interested in why Hyperion was so interested in orchestrating the opening of the vault and the destruction of what was inside of it. Why did Dahl abandon the planet (and Tanner), why was Atlas so pissed off at the mercs, etc. I’m wistfully hoping this isn’t a Metroid Prime-level “make crap up as you go” fiasco, but I know better than to experience hope.

      • Namey says:

        It seems a bit silly to analyze the plot of a game like Borderlands too much.

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        LTK says:

        I played both. The UI in Borderlands was far, far worse. At least Just Cause 2 only lacked proper mouse controls in the black market windows, but in BL2 you had to deal with them all the freakin’ time. Do you know how often you need the inventory screen in Borderlands? More than a hundred times as often as JC2’s black market, no doubt. Both games do a bad job at mouse-controlled UIs, but Borderlands is the worse offender because it has you rely on them so much more.

      • JD Ogre says:

        “I’m more interested in why Hyperion was so interested in orchestrating the opening of the vault and the destruction of what was inside of it. Why did Dahl abandon the planet (and Tanner), why was Atlas so pissed off at the mercs, etc. I’m wistfully hoping this isn’t a Metroid Prime-level “make crap up as you go” fiasco, but I know better than to experience hope.”

        Hyperion wasn’t actively involved, though it was their satellite… They may have been completely unaware of what was happening with it.

        Dahl withdrew from Pandora in the face of Atlas sending in the Crimson Lance to get the Vault Key, after they’d heard a piece of it had been found by Dahl at the Headstone Mine (Sledge’s hideout).

        Patricia Tannis stayed behind, despite being ordered to abandon her research by Hyperion when they vacated, because she was also interested in the Vault.

        The Vault Hunters wanted the Key. So did Atlas. ‘Nuff said.

        http://borderlands.wikia.com/wiki/Pandora#The_Dahl_Withdrawal

      • Torn says:

        Only showing 4 (if I recall correctly) properties on items that had 5 or more was a bit of a doozy.

        The UI was extremely consolised, I felt, and not as snappy and as usable as it should have been.

        • JD Ogre says:

          The 5th property, when it was there, was inevitably covered by descriptive text (“It shoots rockets!” on some shotguns, for example). The special properties of unique weapons, though, could be fairly obscure since their text would be more flavor than informative.

      • Askeladd says:

        I recently played through Darksiders and must say, that games which lack a good story have to make up with something else. As far as I’m concerned Darksiders hasn’t really going much for it. The biggest part would be the puzzle mechanics, which seems odd, because It doesn’t tell that on the game description.

        What it all comes down to is:

        -Left alt, click,click – after a while… boring combat
        -solving puzzles
        -finding secrets, which are unimportant to completing the game, can be totally ignored.
        -leveling up weapon progression is worthless
        -the final boss was the easiest.

        Borderlands strong point wasn’t the story and I still had fun. That’s why I don’t attach importance to BL2s story.

      • TheIronSky says:

        I was actually not complaining about the UI as much as I was complaining about quest presentation. Instead of it seeming like people in need of assistance who could in turn better my chances of reaching the mystical vault, it was just, “read this vague description of a quest and then do it.” Presentation felt clunky, and at least here there looks to be some decent voice acting/facial animations. Exciting stuff.

        • icecoldinfamy says:

          I managed to play some of BL 2 (at Pax East) and they do have (at least for main quests and a few if the larger side quests) quest dialog.

          And the specific mission that i played seemed to give the player a choice at the end. (to be more specific: either give the porno mag back to the quest giver, or tatltle on him to his girlfriend, or something to that effect)

      • tetracycloide says:

        Yeah, I mean what better phrase is there for a comparison UI that switches which items are in which pane and then reorders them for no apparent reason, for a sell items page that won’t allow comparison with any other items without first leaving the page, or for the inventory and menu for changing the next quest objective simply being inaccessible while driving in a car? Intuitive and functional is it!

    • NathanH says:

      A scandalous mode to enjoy with your girlfriend sounds way more exciting than what it actually means…

    • werix says:

      The only problem I had with the UI was with elemental weapons. The effect on damage that the times X had was never fully explained, nor the chance to proc. Plus when comparing weapons with the oh so nice compare feature it never factored in the elemental proc chance/damage on the compare. So I was never sure if the gun that did a straight 100 damage was better than the gun that did 25 but had X4 acid proc on it.

      So here is to hoping elemental damage is more easily explained in the new one.

  2. GallonOfAlan says:

    Wonder if the ultimately mindbendingly annoying respawning is still in …

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      RedViv says:

      Unless they’ve suddenly decided that it’s not Diablo With Millions Of Guns any more, it’s probably still in.

  3. D3xter says:

    You surely mean the awkwardness out of the “gaming journalist”/blogger camp?
    Btw. great bit on that I found, was rather soothing after all the nonsense xD

  4. OddsAgainst says:

    No, Mr. Grayson. I happen to know Jack very well. He is a university chum. So up yours, making false assumptions.

  5. ZephyrSB says:

    I kinda wanted the Handsome Men to blaze in at the end there for some reason…and add Handsome Jack to their line-up. Seems like he could fit right in.

  6. aurens says:

    is it just me or was that not a very good trailer? it seemed sloppy. like that shot 20 s in of the gang standing completely still but their guns are shooting. plus the textures seem muddier than the other trailers and the sound balance is odd.

    i wonder if they were in a hurry to get it out to distract/capitalize on the ‘girlfriend’ controversy.

    • Milky1985 says:

      The trailer was actually released yesturday, it got buried by all the pitchfork sharpening and torch refueling.

  7. thepaleking says:

    I really hope he is in fact the big bad. And after killing him you don’t suddenly find out there is a god creature with 8 arms and 50 eyes who has been controlling the scenes from the shadows~~~

    • CrookedLittleVein says:

      I have absolutely no idea what you are referring to. At all. Definitely not.

    • Gonefornow says:

      A god creature after defeating of which you’ll get the ending credits after which you’ll notice the super loot has already disappeared…

  8. CaspianRoach says:

    I don’t think I like the voice acting on that trailer.

  9. Kyck says:

    Looks like they’ve made this trailer with the console version, it’s really different graphically from the videos I’ve seen before.

  10. Tei says:

    We all know that by the time we meet this dude, some random guy on our team will oneshot it. Its the awesome stuff before you meet the boss that is great in a borderlands game.

  11. Torgen says:

    The Armory of General Knoxx I think was the high point in the franchise so far. (Disclaimer: I lost all my characters in an OS reformat before finishing ClapTrap Revolution.)

  12. Carda39 says:

    I never played the first one, but I might be able to divert some TF2 keys in the direction of the GOTY edition. Is it worth it, or should I just get over my intense loathing of zombies long enough to play Left 4 Dead 2?

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      emotionengine says:

      In terms of value for money playtime-wise, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal for “some TF2 keys”. The first playthrough took me something like 60 hours, although I was very thorough with the side-quests and all. And that’s not even touching the DLC, which will easily give you an additional 20 hours or more, if you want. And you could always come back and try playing with a different character, they really are rather different.

  13. slpk says:

    It doesn’t look like I could get into a rage mode and come out punching people in the face while screaming maniacally, like in Borderlands 1. That’s a bummer.

  14. Urthman says:

    They’re gonna need a three-armed mutant to mime the triple head-blowing-off for the next sequel’s cover.

  15. default_name says:

    it is an inanimate object

    YOU’RE AN INANIMATE FUCKING OBJECT!!

    I’m sorry, couldn’t resist it.