Borderlands 2: like and unlike Diablo III in all the best ways

Tuesday, 12th June 2012 09:02 GMT By Dave Oshry

Dave Oshry plays the PC version of Borderlands 2 and speaks to director Jeremy Cooke. He leaves with a fistful of Diablo III comparisons and melted eyes.

Borderlands 2 does online just as good as Diablo III, offline obviously better than Diablo III, has more PC-specific features than the PC-only Diablo III, but does looting and questing just as addictively well as Diablo III. It’s also roughly 100% funnier than Diablo III, but I’m not sure that counts.

I’ve often compared Borderlands to Diablo. In the quest for epic loot, these games have nearly no equal. It’s what they’re all about. Turn Diablo into a first-person shooter set on an alien planet and you’ve got Borderlands.

Significant streamlining has just been completed on the Diablo franchise, and now Borderlands has followed suit.

The PC version of the original Borderlands had some issues. Besides the fact that the GameSpy network was horribly complicated in general, questing and playing with friends of different levels on different quests was a chore. Well no more.

Speaking with VG247 during a behind-closed-doors PC demo at E3, Borderlands director Jeremy Cooke explained: “If you’re playing with someone on a different level or on a different quest, that won’t be a problem. We’ve fixed all that.”

The system now works much as does the glorious drop-in-drop-out co-op of Diablo III. You can jump in or out of anyone’s game, and vice versa, no matter what quest they’re on. Whomever runs the server runs the quest – just like Diablo. However, unlike Diablo, when left alone you can play Borderlands 2 offline. Crazy, I know.

Also added to the PC version are a number of refinements courtesy of Nvidia and the latest Unreal 3 tech.

There’s no insane DX11 tessellation, but there’s all the PhysX destruction you could ask for. You’ll tear up cloth, shatter windows and splinter wood. Cooke says he’s even seen a corrosive skag barf corrosive liquid which then rolled downhill breaking into smaller puddles along the way. That’s the type of thing you’ll only see on PC, and it’s pretty damned cool.

There’s even radiosity lighting, day-night cycle support (finally), next-gen pixel shading and loads of other new UE3 stuff we’ve seen being added of late. As Jeremy pointed out, the team got the budget to do things its own way this time around, and making a proper PC version was certainly part of Gearbox’s plan for Borderlands 2.

Better yet, as Jeremy says, “The UI is now a proper PC UI.”  You can use your mouse to do almost anything on every screen and also rebind all your keys. There’s even G series LCD support for you Logitech fans out there.

And cloud saving. Hooray for cloud saving.

Love letter

This was all talked about in Claptrap’s love letter to PC gamers which we wrote about back in March, but after seeing all the new PC features in action for myself I came away even more pleased than I’d expected.

It’s more like Diablo and certainly even better in some ways, but it’s not just about the features. As I learned, these games are also similar when it comes to how they do loot.

Borderlands 2. It’s pretty.

“It’s incredibly difficult actually.” As Cooke puts it, “You’ve got barrel 1 with stock 2 and accessory 26 which clips into scope 48,” and that might equal a one-in-a-million DAHL brand rifle. The loot is generated much the same as the stats and names of the weapons in Diablo are randomly generated based on the same principals – except that since this is an FPS with close-up weapon detail, there are infinitely more art assets.

You have different loot for different classes with different stats and there are literally trillions of combinations. It’s mind-boggling to think about, so try not to and be glad that nobody is asking you to. That’s Jeremy’s job.

Unlike Diablo III, Borderlands 2 is also an absolutely gorgeous PC game.  Not that Diablo III is necessarily a “bad” looking game, but at twice the resolution of its console counterparts the detail in the “concept art style” of Borderlands 2, described by Jeremy, “explodes at your eyes.”

“The game actually has color this time around, really bright reds and deep blues. We wanted to do the whole planet with Borderlands 1, but now we can. In Borderlands 1 we only got to see the desert: now you’ve got all the wonders of Pandora.

“We had the entire dev cycle to just refine, focus and add, and I think people will appreciate all the variety in the game”

If my experience is any indication, then he’s absolutely right.

To sum this all up, Borderlands 2 does online just as good as Diablo III, offline obviously better than Diablo III, has more PC-specific features than the PC-only Diablo III, but does looting and questing just as addictively well as Diablo III.  It’s also roughly 100% funnier than Diablo III, but I’m not sure that counts.

So beware the end of your days in the sun as Borderlands 2 fast approaches. It’s everything you loved about the first game, only better in every way. Especially on PC.

Gearbox even says the game has a real ending this time around. Thank dog for that.



  1. Maximum Payne

    Very passionate indeed :)

    #1 2 years ago
  2. BULArmy

    B1 was fun game, but as said the online feature on PC was atrocious. I spent no more then 4-5h trying to play co-op. I am excited for B2 and if anything else Gearbox really try with their PC versions as stated in the article and the whole game definitely looks like improvement over the original.

    And still I thought the whole loot thing with only weapons got kind of boring after a while. I don’t know what is in hands for the sequel in terms of equipment, but some type of armors other equipment will be a nice addition.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Patrick Garratt

    If they’ve properly fixed it, it’s going to be brilliant.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Oshry

    ^ What Pat said.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. viralshag

    I didn’t think it was THAT BAD on the PC to join up. In fact, if anyone is interested in some B1-fun at some point, let me know!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthazus

    it’s going to be brilliant if they will fix boring quest structure and game must have decent CHALLENGE.

    Currently i play a lot of Diablo III because Blizzard know their shit and they know how to make things hard and challenging enough with interesting loot drops.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Patrick Garratt

    The two biggest problems with the first one as far as I could see were that the opening sections really are dull, and you can’t quest with friends at different levels. The GameSpy stuff wasn’t so bad, really. You just had to have an account, and off you went.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Edo

    Constant enemy respawning(it was fine in some places but absolutely unacceptable in others)and that awful ending were my only complaints and I hope that they have fixed these issues.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. n3a

    Who cares about multiplayer? I’ve never played an hour of multiplayer in neither Borderlands 1 or Diablo 3, so bring this on!

    #9 2 years ago
  10. ManuOtaku

    “However, unlike Diablo, when left alone you can play Borderlands 2 offline. Crazy, I know”
    Oh i see what you did here, nice, i did like borderlands and with all this new colours and overall improvements i think i will love this game.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. GwynbleiddiuM

    With all its flaws the first Borderlands was easily one of my best action-RPG experiences of all times and I’m anxious to play this with my homies and brothers.

    @n3a you mean co-op? The borderlands is best played co-op imo.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Kuwabara

    Hopefully this time they have fixed the mic audio issues. I couldn’t hear my gf on the other end, or anyone else i played with. Same issue for them. So i sold the game. ps3 version

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Phoenixblight

    My only hope is that Gearbox uses the same looting system as Diablo 3 where each person sees their own loot.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 I was gonna say the same thing. That’s a pretty big advantage.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. TheWulf

    Torchlight II has exactly that looting system, as well. Not to mention Guild Wars 2, which has been doing it since the first public demo. It’s been an idea going around for a bit, now, and Diablo III wasn’t the first to do it.

    It’s a nice idea, and one that I like. It’s just a shame that it gets attributed to D3 so much, that isn’t fair. If anything, it deserves to be attributed to ArenaNet, because that’s the earliest instance of it that I can think of.

    But you know how it is… Blizzard… marketing…

    Fairness and Blizzard don’t fit into the same equation. Blizzard have always been cut throat in how they’ve advertised stolen ideas as their own. But that’s precisely one of the reasons I don’t like them. It reminds me of why I’ve got a distaste for Microsoft and their past thieving shenanigans.

    What’d Bill Gates call it? Smiling whilst pulling the trigger.

    That said… it appears that Diablo III was just mentioned to get views (sneaky) as it doesn’t have much to do with it at all. Unless we’re showing how to do games right versus having ridiculous always online DRM. (but Torchlight II showed us the way forward there, as well.)

    Really, the best thing you can use Diablo III for is examples of how you definitely shouldn’t do something. Want an example of a game that does dropping in right? Burnout Paradise. If you go online in it, you can drop in on games and vice-versa, but if you remain offline, that doesn’t happen.

    There are millions of better examples.

    And I hope the gameplay isn’t as dreadfully dull as Diablo III was (no feedback from attacks, no sense of reward). But I remember the original Borderlands being quite good. So…

    #15 2 years ago
  16. viralshag

    There’s also millions of reasons why you would want to make a game like d3… And they each paid three times as much as they will for TL2. What’s great is they will most likely also buy TL2, and so really gamers win, Blizzard win, and so does Runic… Just not as much as Blizzard. Gutted. ;)

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Phoenixblight


    D3 was released with it first so thus they get credited for it. Not mention that D3 has had a longer development and was using this system before any info about GW2 was released.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. freedoms_stain

    Oh man, I want it so bad.

    Hurry up and finish it.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. DSB

    @17 Dude…. You don’t get it…

    You see….




    …. IS or ARE Hitler.

    And here’s a four page essay explaining how I deduced that using logic that only applies to me:

    [Something, Something, and Something]

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Gigabomber

    I liked it more than the diablo series. Lets hope #2 lives up, as Diablo 3 is still the same game that diablo 1 was.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. endgame

    Awesome! \o/ Me and my best friend can’t wait for Take #2. ;) Thank you Gearbox! Oh and thank you again for this “when left alone you can play Borderlands 2 offline. Crazy, I know.”. I haven’t bought Diablo, I haven’t even accepted other friends’ accounts details when they wanted to give them to me so I can try Diablo because I will never support a company that treats their customers like thieves (Yup! Some of us have a spine. Crazy, I know.) but Borderlands? Day 1!

    #21 2 years ago
  22. fearmonkey

    I wanted to love the first game, and it was a good game, but it didn’t hook me. I hope to like this game better.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ejams

    This looks and sounds better and better than the first, just got home from pre-ordering actually. The only thing about this article was that it’s all PC-related stuff. You should’ve just renamed it “Borderlands 2 PC will shit all over the first one” but I understand that you played it on PC, I was just hoping more gameplay details or other impressions. Buuuut enough of the criticism, solid article and good to know they get the full dev period to make this game as good as they can in all the best ways that the community wants.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. noherczeg

    I’m so effin hyped about this :>

    #24 2 years ago
  25. back_up

    BL1 was very fun game looking forward to BL2

    #25 2 years ago

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